Dating can be difficult in normal times, which means doing it in Corona times makes it even more challenging. The dynamic has done a 360 when it comes to finding someone or meeting someone in person, and casual sexual encounters seem to be a thing of the past. We’ve sat with some single individuals to ask them how their romantic lives have changed in light of the pandemic, and what they find is the hardest part about dating in the age of Corona.
My generation’s “hook-up” culture is a bit frustrating. The older you get, the harder it is to meet people. Not to mention, having to constantly start over with someone new is EXHAUSTING in normal times, ” says Max to The Seeker. “A quote I enjoy is from comic Daniel Sloss, who once said, “My generation has become so obsessed with starting the rest of their lives, that they’re willing to give up the one they’re currently living. We have romanticized the idea of romance and it’s cancerous. People are more in love with the idea of love than the person they are with.”
And I’m not sure most people really know what they want. Once the honeymoon phase passes, or another person seems more interesting, they want to chase that instead. We’re constantly chasing that high, that we may never catch.”
Max is right. There is already an unspoken expectation of a “fairy tale” type of love when speaking about relationship goals. We expect to be swept off our feet and taken on a white horse to ride into the sunset. Romance is the building block of an intimate connection, so how do you build anything when romance, at least physically, can’t be part of the equation? “
I was dating someone when covid started,” says Beth, a fourty something woman looking for a kind man. “But with all the distance, It just didn’t work out. I had time to see we weren’t right for each other. I started dating someone a few months after, we did the masks, social distance, virtual & outdoor dates for the first two/three months. We eventually got close but with school opening and our kids getting colds, we rarely saw each other. Ultimately it never would have worked, as our covid beliefs were complete opposites, and this caused a lot of stress.”
“It has become increasingly challenging to date when in lockdown,” adds Laura. “To not be able to meet in person, and participate in frivolous activities (I.e. skating, hiking) makes it difficult to maintain intrigue. Part of the process of dating is to experience those adventures and try new things. With a lockdown, not only is everything closed off, but we are told to avoid people outside of our “bubble” to the best of our ability. Conversing and building a connection has been refreshing compared to before, but it can be very difficult to keep the other person interested when there are so many other options.”
And other options, there are plenty of when you use internet platforms to navigate dating. From match.com to Plenty of Fish, online dating services have seen a huge increase in membership since the pandemic has started. People prefer to play it safe and initiate contact virtually, getting to know someone before moving the budding relationship onto the real world. But it is not always easy.
“It takes longer to find out what someone is actually like. I think some people pretend to be someone else, maybe who they wish they were or who they think you will like,” says Beth. “It’s harder for them to keep up the act in person and easier virtually.”
Max continues: “However, it can almost be more vulnerable for some. Unless you’re using a background effect, you get to see a lot of someone’s life. Their bedroom, their cat playing in the background, their roommate shouting at them. Sure, their looks can be deceiving, but not everyone wants or likes to be on camera anyway.”
“From what I’ve experienced,” says Laura, “I believe people have been less genuine behind a computer/phone screen. There is no other way to impress someone but with stories of who they were, and what they experienced, pre-pandemic. However, because in-person contact is so minimal, I find that people are much more respectful. There isn’t any pressure of misreading signals, and offending someone unintentionally. Finding someone genuine may be difficult, but at least respect is being restored.
So how do you actually meet new people when they are not in your bubble? Do people actually defy recommendations and risk getting sick for a chance at finding a soul mate? “I personally have been meeting people in person, but not in the same way as before,” says Laura. “Because everyone is so careful to avoid spreading the virus, more people are taking extra precautions before meeting in person. There’s more of a connection built, and there is less pressure. There is less of a need to impress with spontaneous date ideas, and awkward conversations are minimal because there isn’t much else to do but talk. With in person dates now, I tend to keep a distance which provides a sense of nostalgia. Dating during a pandemic brings back the anticipation and excitement of a slower pace in a rushed world. We’re so used to rushing through life, trying to get to the next best thing, but the pandemic has brought back a sense of blissful lethargy: old fashioned yet romantic.”
“We are social creatures, creatures of touch,” says Max. “It’s difficult to keep alone for such a long period of time. It’s fine to meet someone virtually with video chats, but it gets old quick. I’ll be honest. I’ve been meeting with my close friends. We’re being told to be so careful of our physical health during covid, and people are forgetting to care for our mental health. You can only “get” so far into the start of a relationship without physical touch or meeting in-person. I’m not saying make out with everyone you see. You can be in the same room as someone, and just sit there and chat. It’s having someone in your proximity that can be relaxing, reassuring, and healthy for your soul.”
Beth reiterates, “to me, dating is hard during normal times. Dating is so much worse in covid times. Trying to decide if you are doing the right thing, if you should just wait, are you putting yourself and people you love at risk if you meet someone. But at the same time, you just want to find love, find the person, your person, the one you can go through times like this with. We all need someone to share life’s ups and downs with. So how long do you let life pass you by for? I guess when it’s meant to be, it will be.”
The pandemic may be a confusing and terrifying time to be living through, but it has slowed down how we are with each other. To take a step back, be reminded of what it was like to experience the excitement of taking our time has been a blessing in disguise. It’s become easier to see the value in another’s company, as well as our own personal value. Respect has been replenished, and romance has been revived,” ends Laura.
So maybe dating in the age of Corona isn’t all that bad after all…
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