Don’t Use the COVID-19 Virus as an Excuse to Stop Dating and Looking for Love

Yes, the Coronavirus threat is real, but don’t use it as an excuse to stop dating…NOW is when we need love the most!

As a woman who married for the first time at age 47, I’m keenly aware of all the excuses we put in front of ourselves to help us survive dating with our self-esteem intact.

  • There are no good single men. (Every uncoupled heterosexual woman’s #1 favorite.)
  • I’m not interesting enough/I’m too old/ I’m too smart/ I’m too overweight…feel free to fill in your favorite I’m-too-this-and-not-enough-that excuse here.
  • If it’s meant to be, love will show up (aka I shouldn’t have to work at it).

This. Is. All. Phooey.

I’ve dedicated the final third of my life to helping women understand that we choose to believe this kind of bullshit in an attempt to keep ourselves emotionally safe.

We use these excuses to give ourselves permission to stay invisible, hold on to our bitterness and blame, and or give up.

After all, if there isn’t even One Good Man out there who could make you happy and who wants to commit to sharing his life with a woman just like you, …you’d be an idiot to even try.

What’s the point of dating if finding love isn’t even possible, right? You might as well stop dating altogether.

Look, I was a believer of all-things-doomsday for decades. I get it. Feeling emotionally at-risk is scary, and as human beings, we’re naturally wired to protect ourselves from such uncomfortable feelings. We look for reasons to avoid the scariness and glom on to beliefs that permit us to do the avoiding.

Take the belief so many single women have that no good single men are remaining. According to WorldBank data in 2018, approximately 50% of the world’s male population is single. That’s somewhere around 2 billion men.

Not one man out there for you? Really??

(When you’re done reading this, read more about how fear sabotages your love life here.)

But now…

NOW the Coronovirus gives us something REAL to be scared about.

Protecting yourself from having your feelings hurt is one thing. Now there is a real pile-on to being scared about dating…you could die!

This monstrous coronavirus gives you a new and pretty powerful excuse to give up on dating altogether. It’s a helluva good reason to stay home alone on Saturday nights, now and for the foreseeable future.

As of this writing, 118,909 people have contracted the virus, 6,047 of whom are currently in critical condition. 4,270 souls have succumbed to COVID-19. Contrary to what our ill-informed sociopathic American president says this isn’t a political hoax, nor are the numbers false coming from the experts.

All snotty sarcasm aside, I fully acknowledge that this virus is a real thing.

Geez, …even Tinder is warning their users to protect themselves from coronavirus, saying this is ‘more important’ than having fun.

Even Tinder the dating app is giving you advice to help yo be safe.

But here’s another real thing, which is very much the basis of my letter to you today:

if you’ve wished you could have a partner to pal around with and share life’s ups and downs…and you haven’t yet found him…for shit-sake, don’t let fear guide you into giving up on your dream of love!

Here’s all you need to do:

make some appropriate tweaks,

be a little creative, and

date more like a grownup.

First, follow the CDC’s prevention advice. Period.

Here are dating-specific tweaks to help keep you safe so you can continue dating…and not use this as a reason to jump ship on your love life.

1. Have an adult conversation before dating face-to-face.

woman and man talking too much

Pre COVID-19, I would have advised you of this standard dating rule: Don’t air out any medical mishegas before you meet, or even on a first or second date. (I specialize in helping women over 40 find love and most of us seem to have some malady or another.)

In the ‘who knows WTF is happening with this disease” world, things have to change.

Holding back on a chat about health is no longer a good idea, especially if your worry level about the virus is high. Some grownup talk is in order, and very early on. Definitely, before you meet.

Do the two of you have the same level of concern about the threat? Do you think there should be special precautions when you’re together? Is there a possibility you’ve been exposed? Do you even care??

Look, it’s already hard to feel emotionally and physically safe while dating. In the world of the coronavirus, some mutual understanding of each other’s concerns and possible exposure to the disease can help reduce anxiety on that front. Besides, how can you have any fun if you’re worried about contracting some horrific disease?

Yah, it can be kinda weird talking about this. But it’s not that different than convos you should already be having about safe sex. You’re a grownup, aren’t you? You can do it. Here’s how to start the conversation:

DON’T do this: Hi Bob, I’m Mary. I’m scared shitless and need to know all about your health and how you will keep me safe if we ever meet. And by the way, don’t think for a minute that you’re going to touch me in any way.

DO this: Hey Bob, btw before we meet, are you game for a quick convo about this scary virus thing so we can get it out of the way and have fun? What are your thoughts about anything we should do differently?

The experience of having such a conversation only deepens your connection and sets you up to have more meaningful communication going forward. And btw, if the answer is “no, I don’t want to have that conversation,” I strongly suggest you move on. If you’re looking for a grownup, that is.

2. Find new places and ways to meet.

date outdoors

I’ve always advised my clients to meet in person before forming any type of conclusion about their feelings or future potential. I help them choose a safe, quiet place where they can look into his eyes, hear his voice, and see how he reacts to the environment.

Post-Covid19, you still don’t want to be isolated, but you also don’t want to be among a bunch of potentially virus-y people. Most of the usual busy coffee shops, restaurants, and lounges may be out.

Instead, take a bike ride. Meet at a park bench or lay down a blanket at the beach. Walk a labyrinth. Work out or run in the park or at a local school track.

Try connecting on a different level. Watch the sunset and share about the favorite sunsets you’ve seen in the past. Take a walk and see who can point out the most birds and insects, soak in the local architecture, or just talk about what comes up!

While I’d rather you be in the same place, for now, depending on where you live, you may even want to avoid that. So start getting creative! Use Skype, Facetime, or some other video-conferencing app. You can still look each other in the eye and hear your voices.

And hey, since you’re dealing with tech, there’s a chance you’ll be able to learn how he handles challenges or makes an effort to help you in any way. Because it’s tech. There will most likely be some sort of glitch. Use it to your advantage!

3. Don’t stop dating, just agree on ground rules before you meet.

thumbs up before dating

Clearly communicating your needs is a necessary part of acting like a grownup. If you’re not yet doing this in dating and relationships, now is the time to start!

What do you need to feel safe? If you’re scared to be dating with the looming coronavirus threat, what do you need to feel understood?

Don’t be shy with each other as you define some mutually agreeable ground rules…but also try to make this fun!

Do you want to wear masks? Maybe use that as a way to recognize each other. You can make yours pink and his blue. Do you need to insist on being a certain amount of space apart? Do you need him to first bathe in sanitizer? (Kidding.)

Is touching allowed? Experts agree that the safest way to avoid transmission is to avoid all contact. What are you going to do instead of hugs or handshakes? Fist or elbow bumps? If you agree on no touching, have some fun with it. You’re still on a date and want some expression of connection.

How about a greeting of jazz hands? Maybe a bow and a Namaste? Or a Miss America wave?

And don’t ever forget — coronavirus or not — the usual eye contact/genuine smile/pause is always a must-do if you want to start off with a good connection.

Look, the truth is that dating can be scary. So is this goddam virus. So is living the rest of your life without a partner who has your back and is a blast to hang with.

There is always scary stuff out there, real and made up. You don’t have to use this pandemic as a reason to hide, give up, and stay single if you don’t want to be. Just stay informed, make the appropriate changes, be creative, and date like a grownup.

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