Finding love: Dating and relationship tips during the COVID-19 pandemic
The global pandemic put the world on pause; affecting both businesses and our personal lives. However, a lot of people are not giving up on finding love even during this era of social distancing.
For 56-year-old Donna Maclean, despite being through two divorces, she’s still actively searching for love.
Maclean, a resident of Toronto, says she has been looking for a partner in spite of the changes in the conventional way of meeting people due to the pandemic. Previously, she had more in-person meetups but now, everything has switched online—with her frequenting dating sites.
Nonetheless, Maclean says that up until a few months ago, online dating was going quite well with her getting a lot of positive responses but now, there’s no ‘fish in the sea’ to hunt from with the pandemic affecting communication.
She says a lot of people are backing away and no longer responding to private messages unlike before when it usually led to multiple dates. Now, Maclean is afraid she may end up single and never be able to find someone.
Statistics Canada reveals the number of Canadian residents living alone has grown more than twice over the last 35 years. With the pandemic causing governments to enforce quarantine and social distancing measures, those who live alone or are single are prone to feeling more neglected, unloved and isolated now more than before—and this is bound to cause a heavy strain on their mental health.
In an interview with CityNews, Dr. Vinita Dubey, Toronto’s associate medical health officer, says social distancing measures should be strictly adhered to despite these unexpected lifestyle changes. Infection control epidemiologist, Colin Furness, added that those who are single would struggle to comply with these public health guidelines but breaking the safety rule would cause more harm than good.
35-year-old Brent Pollard is not willing to risk contracting the virus despite being ‘single-and-searching’. Pollard has been actively searching for a new partner after breaking up about 15-months ago. While he has met quite some people during this pandemic, he notes that video calls have been his primary mode of personal interactions—which admittedly, isn’t the best way to start up a new relationship.
There has been a spike in the number of users on virtual dating platforms and largely due to the COVID-19 preventive control measures. Several dating sites according to TechCrunch are now rolling out additional virtual dating features especially for video chatting—with eHarmony witnessing a 27 per cent increase in the space of onemonth.
But a lot of single people admit that virtual dating is not the same as nor preferred to traditional face-to-face meetups and Maclean happens to be one of them. She says her ability to hold great conversations via texting is typically tied to how much she knows about them from in-person meetings.
Toronto relationship expert and personal coach, Deborah Mecklinger, advised that people like Maclean who crave face-to-face meetings should temporarily adopt virtual meeting and use it as an avenue to become more creative.
Pollard believes that these times have had a positive effect on dating. Now, there’s a lot of time to get to know the other person more through constant calling and texting, says Pollard. He added that these conversations let you decide whether or not meeting up with them is going to be worthwhile.
Mecklinger offers some tips to those who are single and ready to meet a partner during this period. She recommends joining an e-learning class with frequent video calls, so you can view other participants and connect with them afterwards. There’s also the option to join an online gym, reading club, cooking class and many other online platforms.
However, if you’restill going outdoors but maintaining social distance, you can start up conversations at the grocery store, dog park, bus station and any public space you find yourself in.
Going on dates is also possible as you can introduce virtual games during video calls and schedule picnics at the park, says Mecklinger. Ultimately, all you need to do is keep an open mind and tap into your creative side and your partner is just one meeting away.
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