Just because you went into the shutdown as a singleton doesn’t mean you can’t leave it coupled up. Though it might seem impossible to date under our current conditions, with a little patience, you can still meet the romantic partner of your dreams … or at least have a modicum of fun.
To get insight on this brave new world, we spoke with Match.com Chief Dating Coach Rachel DeAlto. “I think flirting is good for your health. I think it’s a great distraction,” she says. “That smile we get when we’re talking to someone that actually piques our interest is really uplifting. The world’s not going to end, and we will get to a point where we’re going to be back dating in person. But right now, I think it’s a great opportunity.” DeAlto offers some tips.
Set your intention.Daters need to figure out what they’re looking for. “It’s really intentional dating,” DeAlto says. “It’s not just going out there and clicking or swiping.”
Prioritize quality over quantity.In the pre-pandemic world, DeAlto counseled clients to meet a minimum of three people each week in order to increase the odds. The coronavirus has turned that logic on its head. “[The quarantine] can kill that kind of ‘next, next, next’ culture,” DeAlto says. “We’re forced to pause and get to know people without mixing in the physical right away. … You can actually build stronger relationships because of it. … We’re getting into good conversations during isolation and really connecting with people in a way that maybe we didn’t have time for before.”
Focus on virtual dating.This is not the time to meet new people in person. Rather, DeAlto advises folks to form the foundations of a relationship through phone calls, messaging and video chats. She says technology allows you to “have that connection, without going against what the government is telling you to do.”
Treat a video date like a real one. Don’t think that just because something’s happening online, it isn’t real. “It’s very similar to a regular date, where you want to focus on what’s in front of you,” DeAlto says. “We’ve all had those conversations where we can tell if someone has gotten distracted and started typing an email or checking their phone.” Ditch the distractions and pay attention to the person on the screen.
Don’t be afraid to add accessories. DeAlto suggests grabbing a drink or a coffee, so the video experience feels more natural. To mix things up, online couples can do some typical date activities, like following the same cooking class on YouTube, making their own versions and eating them “together.” Or try virtual Netflix watch parties and online games. “I’ve seen people get very creative very quickly,” DeAlto says. “When there’s a will, there’s a way.”
Pay attention to what you might be unintentionally revealing.Before a virtual date, DeAlto says it’s important to take a few moments to choose a proper background. “This is just a PSA, especially to the guys out there: Clean up behind you,” DeAlto says. “We can see the week’s worth of laundry, [and] it’s not a turn-on.”
Quarantine & Chill
A few local dating profiles, updated during the shutdown (names omitted) …