I just recently wrote a blog posted on my website called, LOVE IN THE TIME OF CORONOVIRUS. It’s an adaptation of the International Bestseller and modern literary classic by Nobel Prize-winning author Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s LOVE IN THE TIME OF CHOLERA. With exception of the title, my blog was not about romance. It was about love in its most comprehensive meaning. DATING IN THE TIME OF CORONAVIRUS deals more about the do’s and don’ts of dating while living in these challenging times and the implications of the long-term effects.
Turning back the clock, we can recall when during the 80’s we were faced with HIV and Aids. It was not uncommon to have multiple relationships and numerous sex partners. I can recall the panic that swept through my practice when so many of my clients realized the implications and consequences of our promiscuous behavior. Everyone freaked out, including me! It came to pass that there were guidelines to protect ourselves in those unprecedented times. We understood the importance of safe sex! Protecting ourselves became paramount to engaging between the sheets. Self-preservation trumped achieving great orgasms.
Well, here we are again! In these precarious times, we have to consider the consequences of dating as we did in the 80’s. Self- preservation, mindfulness, consciousness, common sense and thoughtfulness are essential in time of COVID-19. Just as we have been given guidelines for our health, we need strategies and recommendations for dating.
Dating during the time of Covid-19 can be risky business, however, it doesn’t have to be. Here are some suggestions that I have offered my clients that I can share with you, the readers:
- Stay physically apart with anyone unknown. Just as we learned to ask for testing results for HIV and AIDs before we began a relationship, it follows suit that if you are going to date someone new, stay physically apart until this virus passes.
- Use technology to engage in communication. This can have advantages over a face to face meeting for the first time and going forward. You don’t have to dress to the nines, worry about your hair, make-up or nails and spend time fretting about what to wear. Guys don’t have to worry about out of pocket expenses incurred on email, texting, the telephone, Facetime or Skype.
- I would not recommend texting. It is the most brilliant way to misinterpret and misunderstand. In fact, any other medium can enhance the beginning of a potential relationship without wishing you made a tragic mistake and spending time trying to figure out how to escape! Additionally, you have a better opportunity to get to know your date just by having conversations without worrying about your age, weight, height or mannerisms. If you lied about your weight and age online, you can expect to be in the same predicament as if you met in person. You can be sure, he/she will want to know your vital stats. It’s best to be honest on the phone before the virus disappears along with you. In fact, it’s best to be honest on your profile! The truth will set you free!
- If you have been dating the same person over time and your relationship has moved into the bedroom, it is still wise to consider the possible consequences. Until you are certain that neither of you have contracted the virus, practice social distancing and all the other recommendations made by the CDC, WHO and the experts. In order to take this caveat out of the equation, both of you should be tested before going between the sheets once more.
- If you have moved in with your new partner, then you should have been practicing the rules and guidelines recommended from the onset. Both married and living together couples who have stayed at home as prescribed by the experts will have no issue.
- Dating in the time of Coronavirus is temporary. It is not a terminal affliction. It is time to learn patience, self-discipline, self-protection and what really matters. If your date has the same concerns as you, he/she will be worth the wait. If he/she doesn’t, you haven’t lost anything. Check him/her off!
- Don’t be afraid to speak your truth. Say what you mean and mean what you say. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. He/she will respect you for the courage of your convictions. If they don’t, move on. The writing is always on the wall. If the red flags are there, its time to say good riddance.
In closing, it’s important to use the cognitive part of your brain. That part asks, “is it logical and is it reasonable.” If you do, you will be practicing safe dating. If you capitulate to your heart, emotions or genitals, you may have serious consequences. Connection developed using the old-fashioned way, will not only keep you safe, but will build intimacy in ways you have never experienced. Intimacy begins with language. Learn the language of your partner before you learn their astrological sign or what they do for a living. Listen with a third ear. See beyond their dress style or whether they are wearing Prada shoes.
Joan E Childs, LCSW is a renowned psychotherapist, inspirational speaker and author of I HATE THE MAN I LOVE: A Conscious Relationship is Your Key to Success to be released October 11, 2020. To learn more about how Encounter-Centered Couple Therapy can renew and restore your relationship, contact Joan