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by Rebecca Cooper-Traynor

Can You Date Safely During A Pandemic?

As our collective reality trudges forward in the wake of COVID-19, what does it bode for those of us who are single and dating? Is it even possible to date safely during a pandemic?

The answer is yes. You just need a little planning.

Everybody’s Tolerance is Different

Dating is a complicated dance at the best of times. Add in social distancing, strangers, mask-wearing, and everybody’s individual level of comfort, and you’ll end up with far more questions and concerns than you’d typically have at the best of times.

But even though in-person contact during the pandemic puts us at risk, our desire for intimacy does not go away. With a little planning, empathy, and compassion, finding love is still possible!

Three Top Tips for Dating Safely During the Pandemic

Virtual dating, though it might seem a bit more awkward than usual, has some surprising benefits. It’s a safer, simpler way to get to know somebody without the complications of physical interaction. When you finally connect, you’ll have a better understanding of each other in all the ways that it really counts. After all, you are sharing a common experience and navigating it together, which counts for a lot.

Here are a few of our top tips for safe pandemic dating:

1.      Get To Know Each Other Over the Phone.

Phone conversations – what a unique concept! Do you remember days when talking on the phone was always the first step in getting to know someone? It’s a way to connect without any of the usual dating complications. You’re not seeing each other face-to-face, so you don’t have to worry about how you look, where to go, what to wear, what to do with your hands – you get the picture. Take your time. Have conversations. Talk about things that matter to you, and allow yourself to be vulnerable. Share your thoughts, and don’t be shy to touch on parts of your life that you miss from pre-COVID times.

2.      Progress to Virtual Dating Next

When it would usually be time to meet up in-person, consider having a video date first. A video date should be taken just as seriously as an in-person date. It should be planned in advance with all the preparations you would typically put into a date. For example, consider the setting. Is it a coffee date? A glass of wine? Or Dinner? Here are a few things to consider:

  • Choose surroundings that are conducive to the activity. Set yourself up in a well-lit area with flattering light. You might even want to venture outdoors for a coffee and dog-walking date!
  • Keep background distractions, like TV, roommates, kids, and pets, to a minimum.
  • Order take-out from the same restaurant and enjoying it together.
  • Choose a film on Netflix and watch it together from your respective locations.

3.      Planning an In-Person Date

When you both feel more comfortable with each other, it’s time to plan for an in-person, socially-distant date. With the cold weather coming, be sure to dress appropriately.

When you get to this stage, be sure you have already discussed exclusivity. You certainly don’t want your date to be dating around or being intimate with others. It might sound like a no-brainer, but your health comes first, and you should not hesitate to get all of this out on the table. You don’t need to put yourself in harm’s way, and if your date is willing to take those risks, they are probably not right for you.

Once you’ve had these discussions and all systems are go, it’s time to connect.

Meet outdoors, wear face masks, and stay six feet apart – at least for your first couple of dates. It’s respectful, and a perfect way to show your date that you care about them. Here are some ideas for socially-distanced dates:

  • Take a walk or hike together in nature.
  • Visit an outdoor venue, like a zoo or a scenic park you can drive to separately.
  • Prepare a meal to enjoy in your backyard or visit an outdoor restaurant.
  • Once it gets cold, look for venues with outdoor heaters or bonfires.
  • If you’re both comfortable with doing so, make reservations at a restaurant you both like.

When It’s Time to Get Intimate

There will come a point when you both feel that it’s time to take your connection to the next level, either with a kiss, holding hands, or something more. It’s a decision you should make together and should be prefaced by conversations about your concerns and social distancing habits outside of your bubble.

Many couples self-isolate for some time before they become intimate, while others will choose to get tested. It all depends on your level of comfort, but safety always comes first.While waiting might sometimes seem torturous, it won’t kill your chances of finding love. Remember – good things come to those who wait. Plus, it’ll be a great story to tell your kids one day.

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