With more and more people practicing social distancing, single people are unsure how they are supposed to date when they’re confined to their own homes due to COVID-19. The sad truth is there was another pandemic even before COVID-19: a pandemic called loneliness.
If we’re being honest, we know dating shifted mostly to digital prior to COVID-19.
But now the loneliness pandemic is accentuated all-the-more due to mandatory isolation.
While some will walk out of the quarantine experience more anxious than before because of the uncertainty, there’s another challenge that begs addressing and it’s a very real one. More and more people – because of the hunger for connectedness and physical touch – will engage in unhealthy and possibly costly choices just for the chance of togetherness post pandemic.
It’s normal to seek attention and validation. Humans are born wired for connection – it’s in our DNA. We have an ‘attachment system’ in our brains, which gives us a magnetic attraction to others. Physical connection is vital to our survival and our flourishing.
So what do we do when physical connection is taken away?
I believe one positive effect of COVID-19 is that it is forcing discovery and real communication versus quick physicality. (Don’t worry guys; in the grand scheme of your life, this is only a blip in time.)
When it comes to dating, this is truly an opportunity to think outside the box and implement unique ideas. Here are a couple of ideas to foster connection:
Face-to-face interaction means better communication and clearer messages. Instead of texting or phone calls, try Zoom or FaceTime. Plus, you want to see what you’re signing up for, right?
Give your date your full attention and shut out all other screens and distractions. Simply being present cultivates deep intimacy, and your connection will deepen all the more when you’re able to meet up in real life.
Don’t cut corners
Treat your virtual date like a real date: dress up, ask thoughtful questions and engage in meaningful conversation, flirt with your eyes and words.
Plan a fun activity you both enjoy. Of course, your fun activity will be in your own respective home, but don’t let that limit you! Turn on some music and dance, set up virtual karaoke, do a virtual workout class together, grab your guitar and serenade your date or take your phone in the kitchen and teach your date how to cook.
We desire relationships because they release dopamine into the brain and make us happy, because they boost our self-esteem, and because they give our life meaning.
Dating is difficult enough without pandemics that shut us in our homes. But social distancing doesn’t equal social disconnection. You may be alone in your home, but you don’t have to be lonely. So get out there into the (virtual) world; even if you don’t find love, you may just find a friend to keep you sane in this cataclysmic time.