It’s strange to be single in lockdown and actively looking for love … mostly because you can’t actually leave the house and meet anyone. Physical intimacy is not a choice (unless you ease your housewives), but you can still date in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic – just go to your regular online dating spots and build up the conversation before you can meet IRL. This new normal comes with hurdles of its own. Looking for new dating patterns, new obstacles to conquer and all the emotions of living in a crisis will have an impact. We chatted with Rachael Lloyd, the eharmony relationship expert, to get her wisdom on how to navigate a pandemic in these new choppy waters of dating. So, check out her online dating tips during lockdown.
Online Dating Tips During Lockdown
No, you can’t just go for drinks after work or do dinner and a movie. Yet you can also make the dates right – just think outside the clock. ‘The interactive dates should not be dull,’ Rachael says. ‘Use apps to visit a virtual gallery, join a virtual book club or even watch the flick of your favourite Netflix. ‘These practices would be a good barometer for compatibility further down the line and give you the opportunity to show off a bit of personality before meeting IRL.’ We wrote a handy guide to a great video date so read that before booking in the FaceTime sesh.
Rachael says: ‘One in five Brits (21 per cent) has so far been contacted by a former love, a pandem-ex, during lockdown – but it’s best to resist temptation and see the approach to what it is. ‘There’s often a valid reason relationship breaking up, from a fundamental lack of compatibility to shifting priorities or betrayal. ‘So, first, if a practically knocking ex arrives stay true to yourself.’
Grab the opportunity to get to know each other
Don’t think too much about what (physical touch) you miss out on. Instead, accept one of the lockdown dating benefits: you have to get to know each other pretty much on a deeper level before you get snogged in snogging each other’s ears. Schedule some proper chat sessions (eharmony does have a new video dating function for exactly that, and you could also use Zoom, FaceTime, HouseParty or even a humble phone call) in which you can talk for an hour or more.
Love the thrill of flirty texts from the old school and chat all night. Only chat is kind of fun. ‘If you have chemistry, the conversation should flow, don’t be afraid to plan a few other topics in advance,’ Rachael recommends. ‘This will not only help you avoid any awkward silences but will allow you to find out exactly what you want to know about a potential new match.’
It’s Ok if you are Single
It is not necessary to google online dating tips during lockdown, If you’re not actually in the mood, don’t drag it on. Lockdown can be the perfect time-solo opportunity. Rachael says: ‘To keep in mind that being in a relationship is not the whole thing, and just because you have extra time on your hands, that doesn’t mean that you need to have four virtual dates a night. ‘Alternatively, a bit of self-reflection may make you realize you’ve been chasing the wrong people, or you’ve been able to do it on your own with a little time. ‘Look at your own pace, and trust your instincts.’
Do Not Compare
You know full well that imitation is the thief of happiness, but in lockdown, the temptation of comparing your experience to the highlights of others on social media is even greater. Note that there’s a claim born out of desperately wanting some space from one significant other for any cutesy date night you see on Instagram.
‘Don’t beat yourself, because in good relationships you see friends or family,’ says Rachael. ‘This will only give rise to more pressure, and dent your trust. ‘The pandemic has also affected relationships; couples who only met recently had to move in with no prior warning and many established couples get cabin fever.’