Dating is hard enough, but the pandemic has made it even more challenging. I’ve gone on a few dates, but honestly, I’m concerned for my safety. A dinner date last week paralyzed me with fear and threw me into a panic attack. The guy was sweating, coughing and rubbing his face. All I could think of was that I had Covid-19. I drove directly from the date to my doctor to get tested and was tortured with anxiety waiting for the results. I’d love to meet someone, but at this point the risk outweighs the benefit. Should I swear off dating?
Dear Pandemic Predicament,
I hear your concern loud and clear. Dating is hard. And if it wasn’t enough to have to worry about married men, guys that lie about their height and undercover narcissists, now we to worry about catching a deadly airborne virus.
The pandemic has changed the way we interact with others. We have become disconnected and isolated. Humans are not programmed to be alone. We are social creatures and therefore taking away the central component that unites us has had detrimental effects on our psyche and emotional wellbeing. You are not alone in your loneliness.
As far as your dinner date, I totally get why you would freak out. I’m sure if I were in your shoes, I’d feel the same way. Don’t blame yourself for feeling anxious and vulnerable. There are a lot of unknown variables in this “new normal.” It’s understandable that you would have fear-based reactions.
This time isn’t ideal to meet people for first dates. Dating around doesn’t seem like a practical option at the moment and you don’t want to just settle for the first guy you meet. Instead of dating others, focus on dating yourself. Dating yourself at first might sound silly, but really, it’s about self-improvement and exploring your needs. The only one you have to please is yourself, unlike in a relationship, where you have to compromise. By dating yourself, you only have to worry about what makes you happy. Essentially, you can do whatever you want. The realization that you’re the number one priority is liberating.
Discover what you love. Get in tune with what brings you joy. Take this time to evaluate what makes you happy without requiring external forces to satisfy you. Cook a new recipe. Buy that dress that you’ve been looking at online. Prepare a night of wine and cheese by the fire. Curl up with a good book. Practice yoga. Use this opportunity to focus on what brings you happiness and pleasure.
It is important to be patient and gentle with yourself during these unprecedented times. Emotions are high. Selfcare is not a luxury, but a necessity. By taking this time to date yourself, you’ll come out even more confident and reflective on the qualities that you’re looking for in a partner.
Remember, the one constant in life is change. This time is hard, but it is only temporary. When the world reopens, you’ll be ready because you’ll know yourself and exactly what you’re looking for. Therefore, you’ll be better equipped to know what you’re seeking in a partner. The knowledge that you receive from this experience will help you attract someone who compliments your life. Rest assured, you will prevail from this predicament and find peace in your prospective partner.