How to Date During the Coronavirus Pandemic | #dating | #elderly | #seniors
While not every couple will be on the same wavelength about social distancing, wearing masks or quarantining, communication is the key for navigating this dating landscape, she says.
“Everyone is going to have a different comfort zone. You don’t need to apologize, you just need to be a good communicator,” Adler says. “If that person isn’t understanding, you have to decline.”
Despite the challenges, there are a few silver linings to dating during COVID-19. That includes spending enhanced time talking before meeting in person and a more creative approach to romance, when dinner and a movie isn’t readily available. Couples have to come up with new ideas, like socially distant lunches or — taking a page from Perrelli’s book — finding new and unusual places to meet.
When it comes to coronavirus-friendly dates, couples can try outings like a walk through the park, watching movies together on the phone, having cocktails on Facetime or even parking and eating a socially distant brunch.
“Love is not canceled,” Adler says. “This might be the new normal.”
Pandemic dating evolves
That new normal is significantly different from pre-pandemic dating routines. Data collected by dating services shows the approach to romance has continuously changed as COVID-19 went from a short-term emergency to a longer-term way of life.Attitudes about meeting in person, online dating and the types of outings couples will agree to are being revised.
In March, Luxy Partners, a dating app for wealthy singles, found that 87 percent of senior singles wanted to wait to meet in person until the pandemic was over. But by June, many had changed their minds and only 43 percent wanted to wait.
Toward the beginning of the pandemic in March, 59 percent of the same group said they were wearing masks on dates, but that number increased by June, when 71 percent of seniors said they were wearing masks on dates.
The pandemic is also changing how older adults approach their search for romance. A survey by dating app TheSeniorList.com found that 62 percent of seniors said COVID-19 has altered the way they date. The survey also found more romance-seekers relying on online dating and altering the types of dates they go on.
A need for safe connection
Healthy human emotions like romance and the desire for love aren’t going away. In fact, Adler thinks the pandemic highlights the need for connection and closeness more than ever, and says loneliness is also a major health risk.
Given that people are still dating, protection during those more intimate and close moments is crucial. A recent report found trace amounts of COVID-19 present in semen, and the New York City health department recently stressed the pandemic-related dangers of sexual activity. Condoms, dental dams and face masks are all tools partners can use to reduce the likelihood of coronavirus infection (as well as sexually transmitted diseases) during intercourse, and the Mayo Clinic also recommends washing up afterward.
As COVID cases continue to rise around the United States, dating is changing, but singles over the age of 50 are adapting.
Howard Eisenberg, a 93-year-old author whose girlfriend is a three-hour train ride away from his New York City home, says he can’t wait until the pandemic is over so he can travel to see her again. However, that doesn’t stop the couple from talking on the phone and Facetiming multiple times per week.
“Think of dating as an adventure,” Eisenberg says. “Persist, persist, persist.”