Dating in the Coronavirus

As if dating wasn’t already complicated, with the coronavirus pandemic, it’s critical with the vast spread of COVID-19 that we embrace social distancing.

What does that mean for singles and dating apps?

Social distancing is the new sexy.

Some singles will semi-quarantine themselves and hide in their homes to connect solely through texting and chatting on their mobile phones, and FaceTime chats. Some will get creative and continue to date someone they’ve already vetted, but all of the rules are changing.

Where dating apps continue to speed up the process from initial contact to meeting in person, now it’s time to take a breath and hit the pause button. This isn’t the end of dating; in fact, it forces singles to take a slower approach to get to know someone, and that’s a good thing.

The Coronavirus Pandemic is a Crisis – We need More Love and Connection

Since I don’t want to see dating and love get kicked to Since I don’t want to see dating and love get kicked to the curb, and I know that app usage is on the increase, I took to twitter and created a poll. Asking singles if they’re still dating, or putting it on hold, I’ve watched the percentages shift on an hourly basis. Initially, 80% said they wouldn’t date with the fear of COVID-19, then the numbers changed to show that about half of singles say they’re still dating, pandemic or not.

Take my ongoing Twitter dating poll and cast your vote at: @JulieSpira.

I used to caution singles on not becoming a digital pen-pal with someone, which happens if you don’t meet soon after matching, because it could result in a false sense of being in a relationship.

RELATED: Dating Safely During the Coronavirus

Since the need to love and be connected gets amplified during a crisis, it’s time to bring on the digital pen-pals, at least for now, because connecting and learning about someone new can still be exciting. It reduces the anxiety and uncertainty in the world if you know there’s someone on your side to look forward to hearing from.

With all of this in mind, it’s time to revamp your dating profile and think about initial conversations you should or shouldn’t have with a potential date.

For those with a sense of humor, post a photo holding a bottle of Purell, or other hand sanitizers, if you’re lucky to find some.

For others, asking a simple question such as, “How are you holding up during this difficult time?” will show that you’re concerned, but would still like to connect.

Avoid interrogating someone on their passport activity, and instead, ask them about their favorite trips, or where they’d want to go if there wasn’t a travel ban in place.

Should You Cancel First-Date Plans?

If you’ve never met before, it’s a good idea to postpone meeting in person to be cautious. With most restaurants closing, fast-tracking to a “Netflix and Chill” night might work for some, but not for others.

From the poll results, and my conversations with singles, rushing to become exclusive or defining the relationship seems to be happening more quickly.

RELATED: Should You Stop Dating During the Coronavirus Pandemic

And where would you even go on a date, with restaurants closed in many states, with some providing take-out options, and others only allowing 50% capacity or smaller groups?

One newly single guy is going on a picnic with his date, and another decided to become exclusive after less than one week of meeting his new girlfriend on Bumble, because being single just wasn’t his thing.

Dating and Meeting IRL Will Slow Down

One thing I know for sure is the dating and courting process will slow down in person, but will never come to a complete halt. Just like the move to take classes are being held online, more time will be spent chatting and vetting your dates while still using dating apps.

On that note, it’s time for me to join my online happy hour support group since we’re all staying indoors, and I hope you can strike up a digital chat with someone tonight.

Wishing you much love and joy during this difficult time.

Julie Spira is America’s Top Online Dating Expert and the founder of Cyber-Dating Expert. She’s an award-winning dating coach, and creates Irresistible Profiles for singles on the dating scene.

FOLLOW @JulieSpira on Twitter and Instagram

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  • Julie Spira

    Online Dating Expert, Bestselling Author, and Award-Winning Dating Coach

    Cyber-Dating Expert

    Julie Spira was an early adopter of the Internet and is America's Top Online Dating Expert and Digital Matchmaker. She's the CEO of Cyber-Dating Expert, an award-winning dating coach, and internationally recognized dating expert. Julie's been coaching singles on finding love online for over two decades. Julie writes about the intersection of love and technology, as well as the collision of love and politics. Julie's a frequent guest in the media, having appeared in over 1500 news stories, including ABC, CBS, CNN, E!, FOX, HLN, NBC, Access Hollywood, Good Morning America, Today Show, Boston Globe, New York Post, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, USA Weekend, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Essence, Glamour, Men's Health, Psychology Today, Women's Health, and Women's World. Her dating advice appears on Ask Men, Bustle, eHarmony, Elite Daily, Match, MSN, PlentyofFish, Tinder, YourTango, and Zoosk. Julie's the recipient of the Best Dating Coach of the Year in the iDate Awards, which celebrated her excellence for navigating love. She appeared in Vice Media's documentary, "The Mobile Love Industry" and in the feature film, "The Lonely Italian." Julie's the author of "The Perils of Cyber-Dating," and "Love in the Age of Trump."