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Happy African-American Man is Walking in the Public Park with His Lovely Wife During Time of Virus.

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No matter who you are, we all recently passed the one-year mark of COVID-19 becoming a really big deal in our lives. With the whirlwind of the virus bringing the world to a standstill, of course the way we date became an area of life that was hugely impacted. Still, through trial and error, precaution, and common sense, dating has slowly worked its way back into the lives of many albeit changed — and here are some tips on how you can do it safely.

For the record, I have to admit that dating hasn’t been a huge focus for me within the past year. Leading up to and at the peak of the pandemic, I chose to give dating a break — as did most. Meeting up with people (masks on of course) just wasn’t a risk I was willing to take, and even though online dating seemed like it was more popular than ever — I really felt consumed by all the new lifestyle adjustments the virus brought into my life.

That being said, between the sporadic moments of checking my dating apps and the last few consecutive months I’ve spent back in the “dating” world — I have learned a few things along the way. What’s great about dating during this time is that in a sense, people actually have way more agency than they think. Because the world has changed so drastically, there are more ways to connect with people outside of meeting up in real life, people have gotten more creative about the types of dates they go on, and people have become more understanding of boundaries you might have (ie. likecoming over to your place, personal space, and scheduling a time for a date so they know you’ll be free to chat).

As mentioned, online dating has been a major aspect of how dating is functioning now. Zoom dates have become a thing — and many dating apps have implemented new voice and video call features to help you establish a more personal and real repertoire with your matches. All that being considered, while it’s always been a good rule of thumb to vet someone out properly and get a sense of their vibe before having a first date with them in person — it’s become more important than ever during the pandemic.

If you’re going to meet with someone in person, asking the right questions before actually going on a date is really important. Things like ‘Have you been going out a lot or in larger crowds within the past two weeks?’, ‘Do you always wear a mask when you go out?’, and ”Would you like to social distance?” are all questions you should know your date’s answers to before seeing each other. Just keeping it real, dating during this time is a risk because of the virus, so knowing if you and your date have been practicing the same values could be what saves your life. Depending on their answers, it’ll also give you a good general snapshot of their morals — which won’t be knowledge wasted if this is a person you might continue to see in the future.

Another thing I’ve noticed is that many daters currently fall in either one of two camps. Either they’re lonely and looking for a strong sense of connection (physical, emotional, or both) — or they’re just casually swiping and seeking mostly out of boredom but are open to what the dating world might throw their way. It seems like there are fewer people looking for “real, long-lasting love connections,” but honestly — who can blame them? With many being exhausted by out new ways of life — including long hours working from home, childcare woes, quarantining, mental health stressors, etc… — it’s sad to say but many just don’t seem to be actively looking for “the one” just out of a pure lack of time.

Yes, dating has changed a lot — but it’s not all bad. If you’re one of those people who are wanting a long-term love connection, then throw yourself into the mix and don’t lose hope. As I mentioned, since there’s a good portion of people just casually dating these days and seeing what comes their way, you still have the possibility to find someone who’s in it for the long haul. Also, with the vaccines becoming more and more available to the masses every day, restrictions will begin to lift around the country and within our dating lives. Regardless, always stay safe when it comes to your romantic search — whether it means masking up to meet in person or vetting someone out before sharing your phone number — and don’t forget to keep it fun.

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