It’s hard to find things in our lives that Covid hasn’t changed. Whether it’s going to a restaurant, traveling, school or just plain old grocery shopping, it seems like pretty much everything is different than before.
Dating has always been a strange game. It’s at times exhilarating and at others horrifying, but it’s the process most of us must go through if we want to try and find that special someone to cherish and love for the rest of our days. But with Covid, the already strange act of meeting people got even stranger.
Finding Love in a Covid World
Whether you’re new to dating or have been at it for a while, you’ve likely noticed that things have changed since the onset of the pandemic.
Here’s an overview of what’s happened over the past few years, as well as some tips to help you find love in this ever-changing world.
Embrace the Apps
If you weren’t doing online dating before the pandemic, there’s a pretty good chance you are now. Dating apps have been growing in popularity over the years as the stigma surrounding them disappears and people embrace what they have to offer.
In the early days of the pandemic, usage for apps such as Tinder and OkCupid surged to never-before-seen levels. Stuck inside and with no other method of meeting people, increasingly isolated singles turned to dating apps to connect with others, even if just to talk.
While people will continue to date in other ways, the reality is that apps are becoming more and more central to the whole love-finding process. They give people the chance to get to know one another a bit before deciding to meet, which helps everyone feel more comfortable and willing to actually go on a date.
Of course, the apps still have their flaws–Tinder will always have bots and weirdos are everywhere–but they are becoming more socially accepted. Covid has certainly played a role in that.
Meet Before You Meet
One thing that’s becoming increasingly common in the Covid dating world is “meeting before you meet.” Whereas in the past a match would follow a short conversation and then an invitation to dinner or drinks, nowadays it’s much more common for people to spend more time getting to know one another before actually meeting in person. This often includes a video chat.
In fact, many dating apps, such as the popular Hinge, now have video features built right into their interface.
For some, it might be weird to effectively FaceTime with someone you’ve never met, but others find it to be a great way to screen dates and to also try and ensure that whatever risk you feel you’re taking by heading out into the world is actually worth it.
No one wants to get sick meeting some rando at a bar. But if you already feel like there’s a connection, all of a sudden that meetup doesn’t feel so risky.
Different First Dates
Speaking of risk, while restrictions are lifting around the country, a lot of people still don’t feel comfortable doing what they used to do, especially in cities and states that lean left politically.
For example, in New York, Philadelphia, and Seattle, restaurant capacity is still at about 40% of pre-pandemic levels despite limited restrictions.
What this means is that the standard dinner-and-drinks first date might not always work in today’s dating world. Or, if it does, couples should make sure there’s outdoor seating available.
The result of all this is that people are getting a bit more creative, or perhaps old-school, about how they first meet. Walks in the park or meeting for coffee outside is becoming a bit more normal. This may fade once the pandemic moves into a new phase, but only time will tell on that.
Vaccination Status Matters?
Never before have people’s personal medical histories been so public. With cities and organizations around the country requiring proof of vaccination for people to attend events and do certain things, it officially matters if you’ve gotten the shot or not.
The same applies to online dating.
Some apps even include vaccination status as a profile option. You of course don’t have to answer, but many people feel that disclosing this information will make them more attractive to others as it lowers the risk of getting involved.
The End of Hookup Culture?
Ehh … probably not. People may be tempted to want to hook up, but the reality is that Covid has helped make dating, particularly online dating, a bit more purposeful. With so much at stake, and things changing all the time, a lot of people are more hesitant to get involved with someone casually.
Instead, they are being more up-front about their desires and long-term goals, and getting involved only when it really makes sense to do so. Of course, things don’t always work out this way. But that’s dating.
Tips for Dating in the Covid World
In this ever-changing world, dating can seem harder than ever. Here are a few tips that may help you navigate your love search in these crazy times:
Do What Makes You Comfortable
This is a strange time we’re living in, and everyone is responding differently. There are few right or wrong answers. With so many unknowns, don’t let anyone make you doubt yourself.
When it comes to relationships, this means only doing that which makes you comfortable. If you don’t want to meet in crowded places, or you want to know if someone is vaccinated before meeting in person, that’s completely fine and they should respect that. In the end, if they’re the right person, they should honor your wishes.
In the search for love, we can sometimes do things that are out of character. And it’s good to push your boundaries. But when it comes to your health and well-being, don’t ever compromise.
This is a piece of advice you should follow in all aspects of life no matter what. But during this pandemic, we’ve all been forced to turn inward and take a deeper look at ourselves and learn more about who we are.
As the world opens back up and we start returning to some sense of normal, don’t forget everything you’ve learned about yourself during this time. In fact, if you use it to your advantage, it will probably make dating easier, as you will be able to tell more quickly when someone lights you up, and you can more easily turn away from situations that just aren’t right.
These past two years have been really hard. Whether you’ve been single the whole time, or became single during this madness, it hasn’t been easy trying to make it through all by yourself.
Still, don’t let this be a reason to rush into something. Companionship is a great thing. But when we’re talking about love, it’s either right or it’s not. You may be tempted to accept something that’s not exactly what you want just because it’s there, but this is ultimately a sacrifice to your happiness that you simply don’t have to make.
While you should be open to things you’re not expecting (this is where love usually finds us), make sure you listen to yourself and respect your feelings. And if something isn’t right, honor that and head back out there. It can be hard, but if you’re patient, that special someone will walk into your life soon enough.
An Ever-Changing World
Given how the past few years have gone, everything we’re doing now will be different again in a year. However, dating is still dating. If you keep an open mind, listen to yourself, take some calculated risks and let whatever happens happen, love likely isn’t too far away.
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