Dating during the pandemic was indeed a tough time for couples and singles alike. Because of physical distancing protocols, intimacy is certainly out of the question. But despite the lack of in-person interaction, many found a silver lining in staying socially distant. Dating app users are investing more time with their matches and couples are finding ways to make their relationships work despite being miles apart.
Although dating was not completely put on hold, safety guidelines and lockdowns caused an increased reliance on matchmaking platforms and dating applications. But after a year of quarantine, more people are desperate to resume their dating activities again. Singles and couples are emerging from their homes equal parts reluctant and eager, craving intimacy more than ever.
Since the pandemic changed everyone’s dating game, many people have been out of practice. COVID-19 left singles deprived of partnership and romance, and dating experts are predicting a relationship tsunami once everything returns to normal.
As more people receive their vaccines and governments loosen safety restrictions, people are starting to date again in person. To navigate the post-pandemic dating scene, here’s what you should do before putting yourself back out there.
Take it slow
Whether you have tried dating online or completely avoided dating during the quarantine, it’s natural for singles to feel nervous and anxious about the idea of in-person dating.
If you established a successful virtual connection with a stranger, discuss your dating concerns with the other party so both of you can find ways to make it work until you’re ready to meet in person. You can also set a specific date a few weeks after both of you hit it off.
Your goal is to take everything slowly. Meeting strangers in person can be pretty unsettling for others given all the craziness that happened during the pandemic. Some even have to deal with mental health concerns because of the stress and anxiety caused by constant isolation.
Before meeting someone in person, allow yourself to gain a steady ground. This means you have to be prepared physically, emotionally, and mentally. Start by reassessing your dating preferences and values and understanding the things that give clarity. Meeting a stranger can be scary, so you have to trust your intuition. Tell them to meet somewhere public or in any familiar place, as long as you feel comfortable and safe.
Given the overwhelming turnout of events of 2020, you need to prepare yourself for any unwanted surprise that may come your way.
Work on yourself
The emotional stresses caused by the pandemic got everyone losing their confidence about getting themselves out in the public. So how should they regain that lost confidence and rebuild what they had?
Before allowing a person to enter your personal life, it’s important to give yourself some self-assurance. Having positive self-talk and developing self-compassion are great ways to regain self-confidence. After all, taking time to boost self-worth can make a big difference in how you view yourself.
When meeting someone new in person, it’s natural for us to have some fears. The best way to achieve calmness is to be easy on yourself. The idea of a first date during a pandemic is daunting at times, so it’s important to focus on yourself first.
Exercise, meditation, and keeping in touch with your loved ones are ideal ways to handle those fears and concerns. You can also try journal writing to write down your thoughts and expectations about dating post-COVID. Ask yourself about what you look for in a partner, your ideal activities for a first date, and your attitude towards post-COVID dating.
It’s also important to know what you want out of dating. Are you just looking for a fling, or do you want to get serious? Knowing what you truly want will give you a sense of direction and confidence.
Keep in mind that you’re not the only one who’s having concerns about dating again in person. Although you’re eager to meet someone, it’s natural to feel a mixture of emotions about finding a new relationship.
The social unrest caused by COVID-19 got everyone fearful and overly anxious about the idea of exploring the outdoors, may it be dating, visiting crowded places, or participating in group activities. But if we keep on avoiding something, then we start to associate these things with something stressful or dangerous.
So instead of rushing out and swiping your way towards true love, take the time to reflect and prepare yourself. Everything has to start somewhere and taking things slowly will help you adapt to these social situations.
As vaccinations continue to roll out and more people are taking their masks off, many have gained a newfound hope to leave their quarantine bubble to meeting people once again. The pandemic has taught so many great lessons about dating, and we hope everyone to keep these lessons in mind as they move forward in the post-COVID dating scene.