A Relationship Expert Explains How to Date While Social Distancing

A relationship expert shares tips on how to keep up your romantic life while social distancing.

It's safe to say that dating isn't at the top of anyone's list of priorities during the current coronavirus pandemic. Americans are going into self-isolation and hunkering down for an unknown period of time in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus. But those of us who are single and living alone are facing the dire prospect of weeks if not months without in-person interaction. And when it comes to maintaining our mental health, a longtime lack of physical or emotional intimacy can feel pretty dire.

But even if we can't host TV nights with friends, have dinners with family, or go out on dates, all hope is not lost. We spoke to Susan Trombetti, a top relationship expert who runs the matchmaking company Exclusive Matchmaking, on how to keep dating in a fun, safe, and responsible way amid the pandemic.

In fact, she thinks long-distance dating may just up your game. "This could really be an opportunity to up your flirting game and deepen your communication," Trombetti says. Here are Trombetti's tips on dating while social distancing.

Choose a select few people to invest your time in.

man typing on his phone

With online dating, people often swipe right on so many profiles that they end up never going on any dates at all—a clear example of the perils of the paradox of choice. But this brand-new socially distant world might serve as a good motivator to just pick a few people who you want to invest your time and energy into, and then keep the conversation going.

This is a situation in which actually sitting down and having a sustained discussion with someone instead of just answering messages in one time block every few days might prove beneficial. "This could be the push that helps you lift a relationship off the ground," Trombetti says.

Set up virtual dates.

man woman skype ipad long-distance relationships

And if you're on dating apps, you might have noticed that more and more matches are suggesting having "virtual dates," in which you essentially FaceTime or Zoom with one another, and chat while drinking wine amidst the candlelight of your living room.

According to Trombetti, this might not be borne out of necessity so much as a cementing of an already emerging dating trend. After all, people are too overworked and overwhelmed these days to commit to meeting someone in-person, especially if it involves a commute.

With virtual dating, it's easy. You just pick a time and hit a button and you're on a date.

And make an effort to dress up and clean up your space.

Happy smiling white blonde senior woman sitting at dining table, drinking red wine and having video call over at laptop

Just because you're not meeting someone in person, that doesn't mean you shouldn't set the mood. Trombetti advises putting your best foot forward by dressing up a bit as well as setting some mood lighting and choosing a good angle for the camera.

Virtual dating also offers you the valuable opportunity to see how you come across on a date, from the way you wear your hair to your body language. Hey, if nothing else, it's an excuse to shower!

See the romance in long-distance courting.

couple facetimes in park dating coronavirus

Doctors do not recommend being physically intimate with anyone right now (even if it's a partner you live with). "The virus spreads through respiratory droplets so close contact is not recommended by CDC at this time," says Eudene Harry, MD, medical director at the Oasis Wellness and Rejuvenation Center in Orlando, Florida. "We are encouraged to maintain a distance of at least six feet whenever possible."

But that doesn't necessarily have to be a bad thing. For now, in addition to video dinner dates, you can write each other love letters or schedule FaceTime calls in the park virtually. It could be romantic, kind of like you're in a Jane Austen novel. "Any anytime you have anticipation and longing, it's always going to just be that much better when you see each other in person," Trombetti says.

Diana Bruk
Diana is a senior editor who writes about sex and relationships, modern dating trends, and health and wellness. Read more
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