Dating during a pandemic is tricky, to say the least. Relationships normally entail a sense of physical intimacy; this is paramount to building a closer connection. So what happens when that essential quality suddenly transforms into a hazard? How can you navigate these obstacles with someone you just began dating? I do not believe there is an all-encompassing answer to these questions. Every person and situation harbors distinct risks and benefits. With that in mind, it is always best to lean on the side of safety.
As online dating apps have exploded during the pandemic, thousands of people have embarked upon a virtual relationship. Evidently, these digital conversations have limits. At a certain point, you and your partner will desire physical intimacy. How can you safely approach this longing, without putting others at risk? While it may be uncomfortable, an open and honest conversation is absolutely necessary when gaging exposure. Here’s some things you might feel compelled to ask:
“Have you been socially distant from your friends?”
“Are you wearing a mask in public?”
“Do you or any of your family members have underlying health issues?”
These conversations may feel awkward and invasive, but frankly, it is the bare minimum when entering a relationship during a pandemic. If your partner resists answering, or exhibits reckless behavior, it is time to step back, and reevaluate your choices. Physical intimacy is not worth infecting yourself, or those you love, with a fatal virus. I know the temptation can be overwhelming, but during this tumultuous time, we must fight our instincts, and remember the bigger picture. In addition to gaging your partner’s exposure, I recommend asking yourself about your own risk factors. Do you live with people who have underlying health issues? Have you been cautious with social distancing and wearing a mask? It is your responsibility to share this information, so your partner can make an informed decision.
While love during COVID may appear to be an impossible, insurmountable endeavor, try focusing on the positive aspects of this unexplored universe. The pandemic encourages couples to authentically communicate prior to becoming physically involved. This form of emotional intimacy has been slowly drained from our society as hook-ups and friends-with-benefits became the standard. If you are dating someone during this pandemic, relish your unique experience. Appreciate the benefits of building a relationship based on conversation and personality. Who knows, one day you may just tell your kids about the time you met your partner during quarantine. That being said, stay safe, protect your loved ones, and protect yourself. This virus is no joke, and if your partner is truly invested in you, they will be able to overcome momentary distance for an enduring love.