The COVID-19 pandemic is changing society and dating is not spared. Some say it is helping singles to take things slow. Others feel like they are dating in dangerous times; concerned about putting their safety and that of their loved ones at stake for the sake of the new one. To help dating Canadians, I join the delightful Kelsey McEwen on CTV Your Morning on Wednesday August 5th, 2020.
HOW TO GO ON A SAFE FIRST DATE
Like most Canadians I believe love trumps all. But during our pandemic COVID trumps Cupid. The lockdown, social bubbles and safety guidelines are all in synch so you may take things slow while showing the real you. Just like on the 70s syndicated show The Dating Game, conversations are carrying you through courtship. It’s now talk before kiss.
You get to know the other, their likes, their environment. Validate their values by connecting on chats, texts, videos or the good old fashion phone, It is making a comeback. Dating apps stats show that all of the above connections are lasting longer than in pre-COVID times.
You can watch a movie together apart in each of your homes, play a virtual game even crosswords, have a happy hour on a virtual platform and yes, send each other old fashion cards or notes by mail.
SAFE DISTANCING ACTIVITIES
Some are also opting for a “two-meter apart meeting” to walk, bike or “scoot around town”. BYOFBPE (Bring Your Own Food Beverage and Pandemic Essentials (mask and hand sanitizer) picnic are taking place in Canada’s beautiful parks.
BEFORE GOING ON A FIRST IN-PERSON DATE, HOW DO YOU ASK IF THE PERSON HAS SYMPTOMS OR HAS BEEN DATING OTHER PEOPLE WITHIN TWO METRES
You just do. As matter factly as you talk about it with your family and friends.
“I am really looking forward to meeting you in person. Before we do, I just want to check in on your COVID status. How is that coming along for you?”
Then go into details based upon what you hear.
COVID DATING DON’TS:
Ditch the date for another call or text.
Dump after a few minutes.
Don’t put your mask on the table at the restaurant or bar.
HOW DO DEAL WITH DATES WHO ARE DATING OTHER PEOPLE
Just like when you are dating face to face, you need to first discuss your definition of dating; when things are getting serious “Will we be exclusive or not?”
Like most difficult conversations, you can start with: “What I have to say is sensitive. Because I care about you and I also care about my health, I would like to know if you plan on dating other people during the pandemic.”
And then it is to you to decide if there is a match or not.
If you want to be exclusive and the other person does not intend on being: “I am sorry, I really like you and I believe we have a lot in common, but I cannot put my health and that of my family at risk”.
HOW TO HANDLE AN EX-SPOUSE WHO IS STARTING TO DATE IN PERSON AGAIN WHEN YOU SHARE CUSTODY OF CHILDREN
This is a one-on-one conversation, away from the children and other mates.
If you are not used to civil and courteous conversations, confide the task to your mediator or lawyer.
Make a meeting request by specifying the intent: “Hi, I would like to discuss our shared custody as our social bubbles are growing to make sure that we all, especially our children, stay safe. When would be a good time for you?”
Your goal is to detail how you will inform each other of whom each of you are having contact with, how you are keeping safe and how to inform each other in the case of contamination.
If you are concerned because of a certain situation, specify it: “My mom is now helping me out with the kids at home and as she is close to 80, I also want to protect her. Could you please let me know whom you or the children are I contact with and if there are any risks?”
WHAT IF YOU TEST POSITIVE FOR COVID AND HAVE HAD CLOSE CONTACT DURING A RECENT ENCOUNTER?
Be honest and up front as soon as possible. Ask your health care provider about the best way for the other to get tested.
WHAT IF I AM MEETING A DATING PROSPECT AND HE WANTS TO KISS BUT I DON’T WANT TO?
You could use humour and say something like “Although Cupid may want me too, COVID tells me no”. Depending, you could add “Not for now”.
In conclusion, as with dating at any time in history, you always have to wait and see if pandemic partners will become lifetime lovers or prospects of the past. But, a pandemic has the advantage of being a great excuse to take your time. Be safe and be true to you.