You’re lonely. How do you date in a pandemic that keeps dragging on and on? You keep asking yourself: “What can I do about it? How do I date safely now? ”
You don’t want to be alone. Maybe, you haven’t been in a relationship since COVID-19 forced you into isolation. Or you broke up with someone during this stressful time. Either way, you want to date! How?
No question, dating couldn’t be more complicated. Trying to meet someone is a trickier situation than ever, to say the least. Online dating or being open to meeting someone new is hard enough in normal times.
Now, you don’t know who or what is safe. How can you possibly tell if the person you’re meeting has taken all the necessary precautions – or if he cares enough to protect you?
Finding a man who is capable of extending himself and being open to your feelings is a high priority in any and all dating situations. Perhaps that’s already been difficult to find.
Now the stakes are higher. Safety must be your #1 concern.
How Do You Date In A Pandemic?
Safety Is The #1 Priority Now & Always
How do you date in a pandemic? There’s nothing more important than protecting yourself. But it’s not unusual (although never true) for women to feel they must put someone else first in order to be loved.
If you’re vulnerable, not sure that you’ll be loved for yourself, then you probably are used to not paying attention to your own needs – and right now that is far from safe.
Now is absolutely the time to put yourself first. You have to! How do you do that in this strange time? What does it take to date safely in a dangerous pandemic?
Need some suggestions for dating in a pandemic? These might be helpful:
- Spend time on the phone talking. Get to know him slowly. Ask questions.
- Find out who he is, what he’s like, and how he’s dealing with COVID-19.
- Be direct. Don’t be shy. Ask questions about his practices and exposure.
- Pay attention to what he says or doesn’t. Does he want to know about you?
- Are you having a conversation with him or is he doing all the talking?
- You must be sure you’re meeting someone who has your safety in mind.
- Don’t jump into a meeting, as attractive as he is if you have any doubts.
- And, take all the necessary safety precautions when you do. He should too.
When it comes right down to it, protecting yourself is your responsibility. And, if you’ve had trouble in the past, now is a chance to turn that around. It’s never too late to learn.
Going slow, listening carefully, taking your feelings seriously, is essential.
Benefits to Going “Slow” Dating in a Pandemic
So, here’s something else important about how you date in a pandemic. This is a time to take things slow. The benefit of this pandemic is, you can ease into things, and take the time to get to know each other. If he’s pushy, that’s not a good sign.
When you’re lonely and feeling deprived, that can be a recipe for rushing things, not seeing clearly, and giving in to seduction. Yes, there are definitely benefits to “slow.”
Try not to let your loneliness dictate what you do. Stop and think. Don’t be talked into something that you actually feel uncomfortable with. Listen to the other voice inside.
That voice, who disagrees with your own pressure to move fast, is the voice of the real you. It’s the voice of your best instincts. The ones that protect you and keep you safe.
Slow it down. Have a lot of telephone, Zoom, or FaceTime conversations before you actually meet. Get to know him. If he’s someone safe, he’ll respect that and want it, too.
When you meet, take the recommended safety precautions. Meet somewhere outside, not indoors. Keep reasonable physical space. Wear a mask. There is time for more.
Loneliness is understandable. It’s been 7 months of isolation. That’s more than hard. But this is not the time to let your loneliness dictate what you do, or to take any risks.
Plus, you might not make some of the mistakes you’ve made before – this time around.
How & Why Loneliness Makes You Want To Rush
Loneliness can make you jump quickly into fantasy. Infatuation isn’t real. And, if you rush things, you’re prone to imagine things about this man that aren’t really about him.
They’re about what you want to see or have or believe because you’re hungry to fill the empty hole inside you. It’s difficult to be lonely. Not wanting to be, is understandable.
But wanting someone, with desperation, inevitably drives you into the wrong situation. Have you lived with loneliness and self-doubt your whole life? Now it might be worse.
The pandemic is triggering old anxieties and stirring up the deepest of vulnerabilities in everyone, especially if you had any childhood trauma. It’s a lot to bear on your own.
It’s important to find the right someone; kind and thoughtful, not preoccupied with his own needs. Someone who is a good match. If you rush, you can’t see clearly.
Being blinded by your loneliness isn’t at all helpful and it doesn’t, in the end, work or get you what you need. It’s best to slow down, take lots of time, and see what’s there.
But if you can’t; if you’re depressed, anxious, overwhelmed with feelings of isolation to the point of despair, it might be a good idea and the time to consider professional help.
Talking to a therapist isn’t the same as having someone to love you. But, with a sensitive ear to listen, it will make inroads into your loneliness, and you’re less likely to rush.
Getting Help to Slow Yourself Down & Be Safe
Do you need help slowing down? Or developing your self-protective instincts? Could you use someone to remind you of the voice inside that tells you what you really feel?
That’s where a good friend can step in. Yet if falling into fantasy to create a salve for your hunger for love has been with you a long time, now is the time for something more.
If the suggestions in this article sound good, but you find yourself not able to put them to use as much as you want to or need to – then reach out for some therapeutic help.
There is no reason to be alone during this difficult time. There are many psychotherapists who are working by secure and confidential Zoom or telephone.
This is the time for taking it slow, for getting it right, and for learning how to protect yourself. And it is a time for love. There’s no reason you can’t learn to safely find it.
I’m Dr. Sandra Cohen, a Beverly Hills and Los Angeles-based psychologist and psychoanalyst. I specialize in childhood trauma, the ways COVID-19 is stirring it up, in all forms of anxiety, and in persistent depressive states. Call if you’d like my help.