Lockdown and social distancing has been hard on everyone, but it’s especially difficult for people looking for love - whether they are young and single, or back on the dating scene after a divorce, or the end of a long relationship. Fortunately, we live in a connected digital world, where people can meet and get to know each other online. We offer 9 practical tips for safe dating.
Keep it virtual at first: The lockdown has allowed singles to spend more time getting to know each other virtually. It really is the safest way to “meet” new people and see if you are compatible. Start with texting, and then a chat or video call and see how that goes. Don’t rush to meet in person.
Make it fun: Once the introductions are out of the way, get creative with virtual dates. You could get “together” for a Zoom dinner where you cook the same meal or watch the same movie and chat or text while you do. There are a lot of great ideas for virtual dates online - do a bit of research and find an idea that works for both of you. Flirting via text or video call can be fun and romantic and is a safe way to get to know each other.
Don’t be shy to ask difficult questions: The risks of meeting in person are higher right now, so it’s a good idea to get more of the getting-to-know-you questions answered in the online phase of your relationship. Perhaps your political views are incompatible, or he’s a smoker while you’re totally anti-smoking. It’s better to unearth red flags and deal-killers early, and not make a plan to meet in person.
Think about your risk profile: Consider your own risk profile when deciding whether to meet up in person. If your age or medical history means that you are at higher risk for COVID-19-related complications, it would be safer to keep your relationship online.
Find out about your date’s living circumstances: Ask about their home set-up, for instance, if they live with other people, how many, and who they are (more people means more risk). If you or your date live with elderly or immunity-compromised folk who are at high risk of complications if they get COVID-19, it may be safer not to meet in person.
Check the infection rates: Before planning to meet, check the infection rates in your province. If they’re still high or ascending, it may be better to delay the date until the peak is over.
Take precautions seriously: If you decide to meet in person, wear a mask, and maintain social distancing guidelines throughout the date. Before you meet, agree on these ground rules, and any others that are important to you.
Think about the venue: The safest public spaces are outdoors. A walk in the park is a good idea for a first date. If you do decide to meet at a restaurant, opt for one with an outdoor area. On arrival, check that COVID-19 protocol is being followed, that tables are spread well enough apart, and that all waiting staff are masked.
Consider a mask during sex: This is a tough one to advocate, and also a tough one to follow, but masks do make sex safer, as mouth-to-mouth is the primary way that COVID-19 is transmitted. Other recommendations include showering before and after sexual activity and avoiding kissing.
Emotional connection is as important to people as sleeping and eating, especially during this period of social isolation. So, don’t let COVID-19 put you off seeking love. Just make sure you do it in a way that keeps you safe from the virus.