by Lisa Clodfelter, MA, LPC

Wasn’t dating already hard enough?  Let’s be honest. Under normal circumstances finding love on the dating scene is challenging enough, right? But now….now it’s just down right tricky. Whether you’re looking for the lock-it-down, long term relationship or just some brief, casual companionship, here are a few tips to help you navigate.

What exactly do you really want?

Meet ups are riskier these days. Before you go exposing yourself or ultimately your family members, friends, or roommates, it’s important to mitigate that risk on the front end a bit.  In other words, take stock of what you’re really looking for from dates; something brief and casual, casual but consistent, or potential long-term relationship dating, for example.

Ask yourself a few important questions to help you create filters – especially if you’re using the online dating apps. Questions like, which is more important – physical attraction or companionship? What does the perfect dating scenario look like for me? Is it important to date only those who have similar political views, lifestyle, and aspirations? The answers to these questions can help you be as honest as possible in your own profile and filter out those who are not in alignment with your intentions. This clarity also goes a long way in setting expectations.

Embrace authenticity and connection.

 As humans, we are certainly hardwired for connection. However, safety, stability, and clarity are super important as well. The trend in modern dating leans toward low accountability and casual interaction. As a result, sometimes pressure to play it cool, minimize what we need, or avoid committing too early results in anxiety or uncertainty.

A way to navigate around this is to let your true light shine through in a very authentic way. Whether online or in person, don’t be afraid to be honest and own who you are and what you’re looking for. Post photos and create a profile that honestly describes who you are and a bio that lets your personality shine. Stay true to your authentic self. Having the courage to stand firm on who you are allows the potential for meaningful connection.

Seek out those who appreciate your quirks, allow you to be yourself, and have shared interests. It’s important to remember you can take your time. Dating in a pandemic is a slow dance. Get to know yourself first and use the quarantine as an opportunity to get to know someone well before you meet up.

Communicate and hold the line on your boundaries.

We all have different levels of comfort with meeting up during the pandemic. Even though some of the apps have features to gauge comfort levels, it’s important to remember to communicate directly with potential dates about what you feel safe and comfortable with. This thing has affected everyone differently. Be honest about your expectations on mask wearing and physical distancing and trust your gut.  If someone pushes you to do something you are uncomfortable with or dismisses your boundaries they’re probably not a good fit.

Above all, stay healthy.

Head outside when possible. Although the cold weather can be less than ideal, a walk, biking around town, a visit to the zoo, or building a snowman together can be fun. Consider traveling separately to limit exposure and opt for sites with well-ventilated spaces.

And don’t forget that your dating life can ultimately have an impact on the people you live with. It’s important to talk with them and create a plan that helps everyone feel safe.

If you need help navigating the dating scene during the pandemic, please reach out – we are here and we can help!