1. Consider quarantining with your partner — but only if you have good communication habits.
Many couples are having to grapple with the question of whether to temporarily move in together during a self-quarantine.
This is a hard decision, especially if you haven’t spent long periods of time together before.
A general rule of thumb is if you have poor communication with your partner or can’t be entirely honest about your feelings with them, it’s better to quarantine separately.
“As is always true in healthy relationships and making decisions, communication is key,”
Early on in a relationship, you may not yet be equipped to handle the strain of a high-pressure situation like a quarantine. If that’s the case, you can stay in touch virtually.
“This is a crisis in the world that is leading to heightened anxiety along with other strong emotions,” recent survey revealed. “If individuals are not equipped to have difficult conversations or hold space for each other’s emotions, it will be quite difficult to quarantine together.”
2. Think big picture.
I know that today our future looks bleak. Stay at home orders, and reports of the spread of the virus have brought all of us down.
But it’s not going to last forever. And when it’s over, life will go on.
An essential part of living a full life is love and relationships. Because of that, dating during the coronavirus should involve keeping an eye on the future, an eye on finding that person with whom you want to spend the rest of your life.
So, in these dark times, try to keep the rest of your life insight and not focus on the here and now. If you do only look at today, you might find yourself overwhelmed and not hopeful about the future. If you do that, when this is all over, you might find yourself alone.
3. Do things differently.
For many of my clients, they are frustrated because they can’t follow their regular dating routines. The things that they have always done to get to know someone are now not an option.
And I say, “Great.”
One of the reasons that you are still dating and not in a relationship might be because what you have been doing so far hasn’t been working. Of course, part of it is that you haven’t met the right person, but part of it could be that, in this modern world of dating, there are many opportunities for things to go astray.
Online dating, with its vast opportunities for hookups, often leaves us ghosted. The lack of available time to give to a partner makes it difficult for connections to get fully made. The speed with which we have s*x can often kill a relationship before it starts.
So, now we have an opportunity to do things differently.
For hundreds of years, before the advent of social media, people got to know each other differently. During the war years, relationships were built and maintained through letters that often took weeks or months to be delivered. When I was growing up, we talked on the phone for hours and hours until our parents or roommates got sick of listening to us and guilted us off.
Many of my clients tell me that they hate talking on the phone and can’t even conceive of writing a letter, but why not try to do things differently? Look back on your past relationships, the ones that haven’t worked doing it the modern way, and do things differently.
Of course, modern technology does allow us to interact face to face and in real-time with prospective partners during this time, but I also encourage you to go old school and see what happens.
This is an opportunity to date in a way that you never have before—maybe it will work out differently this time!
4. Respect each other’s fears.
In our house, my boyfriend and I’s way of dealing with everything that is going on is quite different. I have been obsessed with watching the news and learning everything that I can about what is going on (without getting hysterical). For my partner, he has been keeping up on the news peripherally but generally going about his life.
To his credit, he is happy to sit there and listen to me while I spout out whatever information I might have just learned. What occurred to me yesterday, when I was sharing “just one more thing,” was that I might be driving him crazy and stressing him out by interrupting him all time and sharing whatever tidbit I had discovered.
If your new person is more like me and you are more like my partner, are you being supportive and listening? If your new person is lazy and you are stressed out, are you respecting their need to be that way and not insisting that they listen to everything that you have to say?
If you and the contender for your heart have different perspectives on this pandemic, don’t automatically write them off. Everyone reacts to things differently, and if this person is the ying to your yang, that could be a perfect thing, now, during future crises and in life.
5. Play together—far apart.
Again, what is going on in the world has altered modern dating.
Dinners out, movie dates, and social times with friends and family have all been put to the side for now. So what, people ask, is left?
As I wrote above, now is the time to do things differently. Imagine how it would feel to receive a love letter from your new person. Or to curl up in bed and talk into the night, not being concerned that you are in your old lady undies or your favorite holey t-shirt.
Of course, just doing things the old fashioned way isn’t the only option. Modern technology has made dating during coronavirus a little bit easier for all of us. How?
You can make a date for a drink on FaceTime. Agree to watch a movie concurrently and pause every now and then to discuss. Do the same thing with a book. How about doing a crossword together, online or IRL?
And, of course, there is the fine art of flirting in whatever fashion—via text and FaceTime is always fun.
Just because you can’t be in each other’s presence, it doesn’t mean that you can’t have fun together—apart.
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