Almost 2 years later, who could have predicted that we would still be dealing with the side effects of a worldwide pandemic? Being single during this time has its own struggles. How many times did you hear your married friends say, “you’re so lucky! I would give anything to live alone for a while, or to have a break from my kids, or an office separate from my spouse”. The grass is always greener right? Of course there are definitely perks to living alone, but the reality of true loneliness, not having someone around to emotionally support you through these unpredictable times, no one to help carry the financial burdens, having little to no physical touch and no in person socialization for an extended period of time, has serious negative effects. Here are some pros and cons about dating during and after a global pandemic. Let’s start with the positives first…
Pro #1: People are more clear about what they want
This pandemic has given us more time. Time to think about what we want, what we don’t want and has forced us to reevaluate past decisions every time that pesky ex reached out due to boredom and the fear of possibly dying alone. People chose to seek therapy during this time, hired coaches and finally did the self work that remained the last item on the ‘To Do’ list. This time gave those individuals clarity and a readiness to enter the dating scene in a new and more authentic way.
Pro #2: People have had time to heal and move on from previous relationships
What do most people do after a breakup? Maybe hit the bars, binge drink, seek a random hookup, jump into another relationship, eat their emotions away, or become a puddle of tears on the bathroom floor. All valid things to do when you’re feeling heartbroken, but how often are you given the time and space to sit in your feelings, reflect and begin to start the process of healing and moving on? When you’re 100% over your ex and have taken the lessons that relationship offered you and used them to propel you forward, you are setting yourself up for a much healthier, future relationship. I truly believe that when you’re content being alone, you will choose someone out of love, not loneliness.
Pro #3: People have dedicated more time to getting to know someone before meeting
Don’t you just hate that new online match that says “Hey!” and then immediately says, “we should meet up!” Oh…we all know the impatient dater that is tired of the constant online messaging and believes that physical chemistry is king, so why not skip all of the getting to know you stuff and get right to the point.
In many ways, the pandemic brought back old school methods of getting to know someone. Dare I say the ‘courting phase’ was back in full effect with video chats and ACTUAL phone calls. Can you believe it? I dug up the ol’rotary phone just for a little nostalgia! Taking the time to really get to know someone on a deeper level before introducing physical intimacy, can do wonders for a budding connection. People are so quick to swipe left, or make a decision based on one small thing they said, or did on the first date, but what if we were less critical and more curious and gave the relationship some time and space to grow? You may just open yourself up to be surprised.
Pro #4: Many people have quit their jobs and opted for something they’re more passionate about
On average we spend 1/3 of our lives at work, so if a person has a healthy work/life balance and finds something they truly love to do, they’re more likely to be happier and more fulfilled overall. We all know that continuous, horrible work days and bad bosses can cause us to bring that drama home, which inevitably bleeds into our personal relationships. You know what’s inspiring? A partner who has passion and drive and goes after the things they want in life. Someone who is not afraid to leave what’s comfortable behind and instead pursue what it is they were put on this earth to do. It’s okay if you’re turned on by that thought, I fee ya.
Now for the Cons. Sorry, but you knew they were coming…
Con #1: Many people are now dealing with depression and anxiety for the first time
This has become a reality for many people due to prolonged isolation and higher levels of stress. Daters already had to worry about the many pitfalls of modern dating, but now there’s an extra layer that has been added and that’s their own mental health as well as the mental health of their potential partner. Many people are experiencing these issues in varying degrees and the good news is that there are many tools and resources that can prevent these things from taking over your life. Having an understanding and a loving partner in your circle who can support you on your mental health journey, can be a huge positive in regards to your progress. Each person handles these things differently and only you can decide if you are in a good place to date, or need some time to focus on you and your mental health.
Con #2: Finding places to go and things to do on dates while following the ever changing, government guidelines, has proven to be difficult at times
Depending on where you live, the government regulations have changed countless times, the infection rates have gone up and then have come down again on repeat and businesses have opened, only to close again the following week. These constant changes have been exhausting for many people. Including singles who are trying to maintain a sense of normalcy while continuing their search for a loving partner.
Dating apps now have the option to list your vaccine status, but how do you know who’s telling the truth? Where can you go on a first date? What are the rules at that establishment? How will your date feel about distancing, masks and physical touch? I’m from Canada where people have had to plan outdoor dates during the dead of winter with not many activities open to the public. A runny nose, freezing toes and a general irritability in -10 weather, is never the ideal first date, but we work with what we’ve got! I swear, ‘I Can’t Feel My Face’ by The Weekend, was about just that. Communicating with your date during these times has been more important than ever. Knowing what they’re comfortable with, what their beliefs are and being transparent with one another, will help you both navigate these firsts.
Con #3: A real fear of dating
Dating in this day and age can be scary at times, but what’s even more scary is possibly getting the virus from a potential date and bringing it back to your family, friends, or coworkers, or unknowingly being the one to spread the virus to your date and their inner circle. The reality is everyone has different opinions and beliefs when it comes the virus and the vaccines, so it’s a very personal decision to make. I recommend communicating with your date about how you feel, do the research and weigh the pros and cons of the situation. You want to feel safe on a date, not fearful and worried, so set boundaries for yourself. Once you’re clear on those, you will begin to attract people who understand and respect your boundaries around this topic.
Con #4: The financial burdens of being jobless.
It used to be a deal breaker if your date didn’t have a job, but now we have these COVID passes that we give our dates due to the absurd circumstances. “He hated his job, so I’m glad he’s waiting for something better”, or “she got let go, so it wasn’t her fault”. Never has it been this normal to introduce your jobless partner to your family for the first time. These things are much easier to navigate when you’re in a long term relationship and have become a team, but to meet someone new at a time when paying the bills is a struggle, or finding a new job seems impossible, is tough. It can also be a major hit on one’s ego and temporarily rob them of their self confidence.
Ask yourself, does this person lack the ambition to get back on their feet and find a new job? Are they putting their financial responsibilities on my shoulders? If not, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Just remember that these things are temporary as long as they have the drive to change them. One day you’ll look back and laugh at the circumstances in which you met. There are many great date ideas that will cost you absolutely nothing. You just have to be creative and think outside of the box.
There are pros and cons to most things in life. Is this the most ideal situation for singles? No. Will we get through it and return to a more normal way of dating? Yes, eventually we will and we may even want to keep some of the new practices and old school methods moving forward. Many people have met, built lasting relationships, moved in together, got engaged and got married during this pandemic, so I’m here to remind you that it’s still very possible to find love during this dumpster fire, we call COVID.
Author: Shantelle Canzanese, Dating Coach at date-struck.com
If you need help perfecting your dating profile, or would like to work with a professional dating coach one-on-one, learn more about working with Shantelle and her services at date-struck.com