When I was 16, I met someone on MySpace (MySpace! Ha!) from Florida while I was visiting Ohio for the summer. We struck up a correspondence, using MySpace, then AIM, and then the phone. It was almost like a long distance relationship, knowing we wouldn’t be able to meet for a few months.
The anticipation of meeting him had all others driven out from my mind, and though he was far away we got very close. In fact, I believe we got closer than most because of all the messages and emails. We really had to get to know one another before we met, and keep the flame of interest sparked. When we met, it was all worth it. We ended up dating on and off for years, and he was my first love.
Now, people are dealing with a very similar situation due to Covid19. They’re unable to meet in person, as most states are on lockdown with only essential businesses staying open. We aren’t able to go to bars and restaurants to meet someone, we can’t share popcorn at the movies, we can’t even grab a cup of coffee and sit down with someone we are interested in. Dating in general is hard, but dating during a pandemic is much more difficult.
However, I believe it is still possible to meet someone, and even make a lasting connection. Dating websites have seen a rise in users since this pandemic started. According to wtop News: “By the end of March there was an 84% increase in the number of voice calls and video chats on Bumble, a representative of that platform said. On average, calls and chats on Bumble lasted almost 30 minutes, which ‘only further validates that when physical connection is limited, humans will seek out other means to interact and engage,’ according to a Bumble statement.”
So I interviewed some brave and hopeful souls that are currently dating, despite Covid19.
“I can’t just grab a beer and meet the guy in person after so long of talking.” Said C, a woman I interviewed. “I’ve had to result to FaceTiming. But it’s just not the same. Not being able to go out in general is really hard while dating.” Indeed, how does one interact without actually meeting up? Some people have started to do FaceTime ‘netflix and chill’ chats, where both parties use FaceTime and watch a movie together. There is more of a slow burn, with long phone conversations and emails.
Personally, I think that could be a good thing. In my experience with dating, people tend to want to meet first and get to know each-other later. And where’s the fun in that? What happened to the days of courtship, with handwritten letters and flowers sent to your door? Could Covid19 bring back romance? “Instead of just small talk, they have to get to know each-other more on a deeper level through texting / calling. It really proves which ones care and which ones don’t, that’s for sure.” But do the pros outweigh the cons? Although there is a certain beauty in being able to get to know someone well before meeting them, what happens if there isn’t a spark? Imagine wasting all that time, only to find out there isn’t any chemistry! S, another woman I interviewed, weighed in: “It kind of makes me nervous talking to someone daily for 1.5 plus months, and growing attached to, and then being faced with the reality of never meeting (being ghosted) or meeting and it being awkward and uncomfortable.” It’s happened to all of us. We get along great with someone online or over the phone, and when we meet there just isn’t that “spark.” That doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with them or with you, it’s just that elusive chemistry that you can’t have a relationship without. Still, S is confident enough that she’s continuing to talk to someone she found on the app Bumble, and plans to meet up with him when this is all over.
So, can you date during Covid19? Absolutely. It just takes patience, ingenuity, and a bit of humor about it all. Try to think of this as a good thing, rather than a bad one. As we’ve all had cause to learn, life is short, and that’s humbling. We don’t have to do this alone. Bring back the days of letter writing, and the slow burn we all long for! I wish all you daters luck, light, and chemistry.