Love in The Time of Corona

By Emily Gray

Navigating the 21st century dating scene is confusing enough with catfish and ghosters lurking everywhere, but now, we’re being tested even further with self-isolation. It may be tempting to give up on dating during these strange, strange times we find ourselves in, keeping a healthy six feet apart is hardly conducive to getting it on.... And yet it seems like we’re undeterred. All this extra time on our hands is making us singletons look for love, arguably spurred on by an underlying fear that our social lives will soon revolve around assorted houseplants.

So you’ve started talking to someone and you’re at the point where, in a Covid-19 free world, you’d suggest meeting for a drink...not going to happen. Luckily for us, FaceTime, Zoom and HouseParty exist, so if you’re up for it you can still go on that date albeit via video.

Interested? We spoke to Jacqueline Burns founder of dating agency, The Echelon Scene and Geneviève Zawada of Relationship Retreats about how to date during lockdown. 

Treat it Like a Real Date

Just because you aren’t meeting in person doesn’t mean that you should sit around in your pyjamas or that shirt you’ve been wearing for the last couple of days. As Jacqueline says, ‘you always want to look your best whether you’re meeting for a video chat or in person, you’re still looking for a relationship. So have a shower, fix your hair, get changed and find a spot with good lighting, have a glass of wine or a beer and talk for an hour or two like you would on a normal date.’

Get Ready to Connect in a Different Way

You may think that the lack of physicality might stop there being a connection, but if anything it may actually help, as Geneviève says ‘without the distraction of being out on a date you’ll be more focused on someone’s face and what they are saying so you’ll establish an intimate connection much more quickly.’ Jacqueline adds ‘chemistry or physical attraction is going to be harder via video so just enjoy the conversation, focus on making a connection based on opinions, your personal histortopics and values. Don’t worry if there isn’t a huge spark straight away, do what feels right to help your mind in this difficult time.’ Then if you do decide to meet up IRL afterwards you know it’s because you don’t just connect on a superficial level.

Change Things Up

Just because you’re dating over video doesn’t mean that you just have to talk; if Houseparty is your go to then get on the games, order the same food together and pretend you’re at a restaurant, watch a series on Netflix together, the world (or in this case your house) is your oyster. ‘I’m finding that my clients now actually have time to date and they are meeting more frequently than the usual once a week so it’s a time to get creative with dating. They’re having afternoon tea together over video, sharing holiday photos and links and cooking and eating ‘together’,’ says Geneviève.

Remember It Won’t Last Forever

The self-isolation that is, not your date… hopefully you’ll find the one and have a wonderful story to tell. ‘The key is to remember that this is not going to last forever’, says Jacqueline, ‘see it as an interesting break from your usual dating. In these stressful times knowing you’ve got a date at the end of the day gives you something to look forward to and keeps you focused on finding a long-term relationship rather than aimlessly swiping.’

Don’t Worry if You Don’t Want to Date

If the thought of video dating fills you with dread then use this time to work on yourself instead, see it as a time to work through things that usually hold you back. Geneviève’s clients are still able to attend relationship retreats and coaching online. ‘This is a reflective time, a time when you might feel isolated and lonely and want to reach out and meet the right person; but now is also a good time to work on and invest in yourself with some personal development work or coaching so that you can get ready to date and recognise the right person when coronavirus is over.’