So much has been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Sports, travel, conferences, the Olympics. Everyone is taking preemptive precautions.
If you’re single and dating, should you cancel your love life, too?
That doesn’t mean you should still be meeting strangers for drinks, hooking up with randos, or going out to dinner with a new guy every night. (During stay-home mandates you won’t find any bars or restaurants open anyway.)
I’m guessing the CDC would also discourage kissing and having sex with strangers.
But your dating life doesn’t need to come to a screeching halt.
Quite the opposite.
Your love life can actually improve while you’re following the social distancing guidelines.
Obviously, you should probably stay home for now since the virus is still spreading.
But thanks to technology, your love life can actually improve while you’re self-distancing.
Here are the 5 ways this time of social-distancing and self-isolating can improve your love life:
1. It corrects the flaws and chaos of dating apps. Dating apps are the WORST. First you swipe. Then you text. Then it’s chaos. Maybe he’s texting 25 other women. Maybe he ghosts in the middle of a conversation. Maybe he wants to meet at your place. Maybe he wants to see if there’s chemistry over a quick coffee. Maybe he texts you intermittently for a month without asking you out. There’s no real conversation. There’s no real connection. Everyone is replaceable. But if you can’t meet right away because you may expose each other to a deadly virus, there’s no need to rush. This creates an opportunity to actually get to know someone.
2. It forces you to take things slow. Sure, I get that it’s a lot of fun to look at hot people, swipe, text, and meet in person as quickly as possible. It means you don’t have to go through the drudgery of reading profiles or writing thoughtful emails. It means you can put in minimum effort beyond a few swipes and texts and just rely on face-to-face chemistry. But if I’ve learned anything as a dating coach for smart, strong, successful women, it’s that although this seems like a time saver (because you’re moving so fast), it actually becomes a time waster (because the quality of the interactions are so low and everyone has SO many options at their fingertips.)
3. It forces you to use your phone to actually talk to people. Novel concept, isn’t it? I know some millennials (and 40+ year-olds) who avoid the phone like the plague (probably the wrong reference to make at this time). But texting by far has to be the worst form of communication. Picture a typical exchange: You’re type one line and waiting for a reply. Sometimes you wait seconds. Sometimes you wait hours. Sometimes you wait days. Sometimes you flip out if he doesn’t send the proper emojis!
Seriously, as a dating coach, I hear about relationships dying every day due to the lack of nuance and tone conveyed in text. Years of love are unwound because two people won’t press the little green dial button to actually solve their problems. Well, it’s time for that to end. If you can’t leave the house, it’s time to actually call him. You may just discover that using the phone (or even FaceTime) for talking is the best thing that ever happened to your love life.
4. You can get to know someone more organically. Real life FEELS better than online, doesn’t it? Think about it – flirting with a stranger, exchanging witty banter, building up trust, rapport, anticipation and excitement – why WOULDN’T we want to try to make our online dating experience feel more like real life?
Once upon a time, when I was a single screenwriter instead of a married dating and relationship coach, I was emailing a woman from JDate just before the Christmas holiday. Because I was headed to the East Coast to visit my mom, I was unable to meet her before I went away. But that obstacle allowed us to avoid getting together for a quick meet-and-greet and allowed us to talk on the phone every night for all seven days I was away. By the time I returned to Los Angeles, I had a woman I’d never met picking me up at the airport and later becoming my girlfriend.
5. You can take time to heal, reflect and learn if needed. Many smart, independent, single women aren’t actually dating. They’re hurting. They’re healing. They’re taking a break.
Maybe you’re using work as an excuse to keep busy. Maybe you recently suffered a painful breakup. Maybe you’re still holding on to a dead-end relationship that’s not making you happy. If that describes, this is a perfect time to retrench and figure out what you’re going to do AFTER this coronavirus epidemic is over. It would be easy to go back to the way you were doing things: keeping active, focusing on your friends and hobbies, halfheartedly swiping through cute guys hoping for a miracle. But that’s not a plan. That’s not a strategy. That’s not going to get you into a healthy marriage. That’ll just keep you right where you are – avoiding emotional intimacy because you think it’s too difficult or scary or impossible.
You know what I’d be doing right now, if I were single? I’d be using my time wisely. And so should you.
If you have confidence issues, use this time to build your confidence. Learn more about men so you can understand them better and date more effectively in the future.
Dare to see the world as a friendly place, full of abundance and joy, instead of scarcity and fear.
If you don’t want to date until this is all over, that’s perfectly fine. Life is whatever you make of it. You can stay on dating sites. You can talk to guys on the phone for a few weeks – with no primping, no pressure, and no sex – just to see how you feel with them and how they follow through. When this pandemic finally subsides, you can even emerge with a boyfriend or, at least, a new outlook on dating and relationships.
Meanwhile, be safe, stay healthy, activate your profile and remember how much more gratifying it feels to connect by voice (or video) rather than just text.
We’re in for a rough patch but that doesn’t mean you have to stop living until it’s over.
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