Are we not done with the lockdowns yet? Seasons have changed and are changing - almost twice and we are still locked away in our homes. Winter is supposed to be romantic. You're supposed to make snowmen with your partner and have snowball fights. What about Spring? Spring too! Enjoying nice long evening dinners watching the sunset on the terrace. And none of these have been happening. For a long while now. Yet, people are still seeking love and connection. More than ever in fact.
Whether it's with yourself or with a significant other, it is possible to have a relationship during the pandemic. In fact, it's essential to our well-being. People have been seeking connection and intimacy through dating apps more than ever. Tinder and Bumble have seen a significant increase in the number and length of message exchanges.
But finding love right now feels almost impossible. The old rules don't apply anymore — if you have a good FaceTime date, what's next? And if you're already in a relationship, great! But how do you manage being locked indoors 24/7 without wanting to kill each-other?
Here I'd like to share some tips and advice from experts on managing love during the pandemic.
1. Don't force yourself to use dating apps right now.
Nimarta Narang lives in Los Angeles and is an occurring user of the dating app Hinge. She says she has a bad habit of logging in, making a few matches and then leaving the app for a month or two. When she returns after a long silence, those matches aren't exactly ready to chat or have moved on. A lot of us do that.
"I'm finding that during quarantine or the self-isolation period, I'm even worse for some reason," Narang says.
If dating apps don't fit into your life right now, leave them. Take some time off for you. At the end of the day, finding a partner should not be a tick box exercise.
We think that dating should be easier now that we are in lockdown and have more free time. But we forget that we are in lockdown which meeds lower energy and dopamine levels. It's a global crisis and what do we do in crisis? We get into flight or fight response.
Don't think that now you have more time one of your tasks should be to find a partner. Focus more on being productive with your time, whatever that may mean to you.
2. Discover who you really are
Yes, we all have an image we want to portray on dating apps. We chose specific photos for our porfile for a reason. If you're just starting off with online dating now, what do you do when you don't have the same resources?
While there's nothing wrong with wanting to look your best, focus on first discovering you. Think about the image deeper below the Tinder profile photo and how you want to come across. There is no better time to go deeper into yourself and within than now.
3. Be honest and direct.
Pandemic dating is a lot like long-distance dating. We are all constrained by ability to meet. One big predictor of success in long-distance relationships is maintaining good communication. Those with strong levels of communication are more likely to succeed. This is crucial to build during the "getting to know each other" phase.
Work on becoming really good at verbalising your wants and needs. Without appearing demanding of course. At the start, these are tough ones to establish. Alongside other boundaries and with clear communication they are achievable.
4. Make things better
If you are in a relationship, use this time to make things even better. Couples who were in a good place before the pandemic will have an easier time going thorough this period. If you were struggling with aspects of your relationship before the pandemic, now is the time to work on them.
Being locked down under the same roof can helo couples find opportunities to communicate and connect. Use this time to work through feelings, even more serious problems such as infidelity.
5. Focus on long term goals
If you love having long, deep conversations about your hopes and dreams, now is your time to shine. Couples can really use this time to plan future goals, finances, and even families! It's also a great time to share your fears and anxieties. These open conversations will build trust and help align your lives. Being vulnerable with one another leads to happy, healthy relationships over time.
Exploring such topics can also help you discover deal-breakers before you get too far into a relationship. Dating is a time to ensure this person is compatible with you, especially on your non-negotiables. This is your opportunity to lay things straight and see if any red flags come up.
If you are in a relationship where you are in a comfortable place with things, maintain your respective "me" times. Allow yourself to have a home spa evening and respect your partners football night.
But most importantly, give yourself some extra grace please. This is a super valuable tip for anything pandemic-related: Be easy on yourself. Forgive yourself. This is a hard time. You might not get it all right.
Remember that these tough times will come to an end but in the meantime, we are going to be physically closer to some and more distant from others. In order to get through this, we all need to communicate, listen and care for each other and ourselves. Building on what brings us together and what we want to see in the future. All the above are very valuable pieces of advice whether you are single or taken. The most important thing to remember is to work on the relationship with our own selves. The more we are in tune with ourselves and our own wants and needs, the better partners we will be.