As if dating wasn’t already fraught with questions, dating during a pandemic opens up a whole new world of concerns. Instead of asking, “Where should we eat?” you may find yourself wondering if you should even go out at all.
The good news is that you are not alone. There’s even a name for what you may be experiencing: It’s called “hesidating,” a term which describes the conflicted feelings and concerns many have about dating during COVID-19. For many people, the nervous butterflies that accompany a first date have instead been replaced with deeper anxieties about meeting new people during a pandemic.
Those concerns are certainly valid, and we’re not here to suggest you rush into anything you aren’t 100% comfortable with. Instead, we’d like to share a few ideas for dating that will help you connect and socialize while still feeling safe.
Take Advantage of Digital Tools for Connection
One of the unexpected outcomes of the pandemic was the proliferation of tools for making connections. New life was breathed into platforms like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Google Hangouts as business, families, and friends used them for regular communication and collaboration.
Happily, these tools are just as useful for dating as they are for presenting a slide deck. If you’re not quite ready to meet up in person yet, consider virtual dating as a middle ground. Or, if you’re feeling slightly more adventurous, you might try finding a virtual speed dating event that uses tools like Zoom’s breakout rooms to help you quickly meet a variety of interesting people.
There’s also nothing wrong with tried-and-true dating apps like Bumble, Match, or Hinge. These apps surged in popularity during the pandemic, and they provide an easy way to communicate things like your vaccination status or comfort level with in-person events right there in your profile.
It’s Okay to Go at Your Own Pace
It’s not an exaggeration to call the pandemic traumatic. As with any such event, everyone will recover at their own pace, based on a complicated combination of factors. You may have friends who seem perfectly comfortable going out to restaurants, sitting in movie theaters, and going back to the office, even while these things give you pause.
And you know what? That’s totally okay. There’s nothing wrong with your feelings, or with being nervous about dating while the pandemic continues. Rushing yourself based on how other people are feeling is a sure path to unhappiness.
Instead, go at your own pace. If you want to stick to Zoom dates for a while, then that’s what you should do. If you feel comfortable with outdoor dining or taking a romantic stroll in the park, go for it. The important thing is that you identify your boundaries and stick with them.
That’s not just good advice during a pandemic – that’s good relationship advice, period. When you find someone who respects how you feel and takes your concerns seriously, chances are good they’re worth getting to know.