Dating during quarantine has been an interesting experience. Some people have had Zoom dinner dates. Others have gone on walks with six feet between them and their date. Some people decided to give online dating a try with the intention of getting to know someone well before meeting in person.
Whatever you might have tried, you probably found that it was different than anything you’d done before. This might have been a good thing as you tried something different. Or it might have been a bad thing as you discovered that this kind of dating just didn’t feel quite right to you.
One thing I hope you did is turn your attention inward a bit. With the forced change to how you typically date, this was an excellent opportunity to ask yourself some questions about how and why you date and figure out what you might want or need to change even after our current circumstances are over.
If you haven’t already done some self-reflection on dating, and you’ve found that it feels a little lackluster to you right now, try asking yourself these questions. It might change the way you date completely.
Why do you date?
When you see that question, you probably have an answer that pops immediately to mind. While it might be the right answer, I’m going to suggest you set it aside and really think about this question. Sometimes when we really think about it, we realize that the reason we date isn’t what we think it is.
So set aside any immediate answers to that question. Allow yourself time to mull it over and really think about why you date. Go beyond answers like “I want to get married” or “I want a relationship” or “I want regular, safe sex.”
Maybe there’s an excitement you usually get from dating that isn’t there now. Is that excitement because you enjoy the thrill of the chase or hopeful promise the early days of dating hold?
Maybe there’s a feeling of connection to another person that makes you feel secure and you rely on dating rather than friendship or family to get it. Or you might want children (or more children) and feel an obligation to have a partner first.
Allow these things to bubble up from a subconscious level where you might have tried to ignore them before. Explore what they mean and how they might impact how you date going forward.
Who do you date?
I think we’ve all been on that date at least once in our lives: our date is someone we’re attracted to for our usual reasons (appearance, intelligence, career, interests, etc.) but we are just bored out of our mind because we have nothing in common and nothing to talk about. If you’ve had a lot of these dates virtually these last few months, it might time to consider why.
We often have a type. Maybe it’s blue-eyed blonds, mysterious bad boys, men in uniform or quiet librarians — or something else entirely. But when you look back over all the people you’ve dated, you might notice a pattern.
If you’ve been feeling like all your dates are going nowhere lately, or you’ve always had a dull or even negative relationship history, it might be time to reconsider your “type.”
The type you feel most attracted to might not be what you really want at all. It might be time to date someone who seems to be nothing at all like what you want and see how that goes.
On the other hand, if you discover that you don’t have a type and you’ve dated all different kinds of people, then you might want to consider that perhaps you don’t actually know what you want in a partner and that’s why things aren’t going so well for you. Maybe it’s time to come up with a list of things you want from a partner or a relationship and start evaluating people compared to that list. By narrowing your dating field, you might have better luck finding someone who captures your attention.
Do you want or need a break from dating?
The fun of a meal out, a movie in a theater, and especially more adventurous or interesting dates can gloss over the fact that we don’t really want to be there. You’re enjoying the activity, and you might even be enjoying the company because they’re a great person, but deep down, you’re over dating.
When you’re suddenly dating from your own living room, however, and your date is an image on a screen from their own living room, there’s nothing to distract you from how you really feel. And you might like the person you’re on a virtual date with, but you’re just not feeling it because you’re not into dating right now.
Maybe you’ve been dating without a break for years. Maybe you got divorced or ended a long relationship and decided to dive right back into dating right away and you weren’t really ready. Maybe you really crave an opportunity to be alone for a while and get to know yourself on a deeper level.
Whatever the reason, it’s okay to realize or make a conscious decision to put dating on pause for a while. Society may put a lot of pressure on being coupled up but that doesn’t mean you need to bow to it.
Take a break. Date yourself. Enjoy your own company. Find the thrill of your own life. Find the value in being alone. When you’re ready, come back to dating feeling happier, healthier, and ready to meet the love of your life.
Or don’t. Maybe you’ll discover you’re happier as a single person and not dating. There’s nothing wrong with that either and you’ll feel a lot better when you stop trying to force yourself to do something you don’t really want to do and that isn’t working for you.
Dig in and see what comes up
Whether you do it because dating in a Covid world doesn’t feel right for you or because you just feel like it’s a good time to evaluate your dating life, now is a good time to take a deeper look.
See what comes up. Maybe it’ll be nothing and you just need to wait until life gets back to something more normal. Or maybe it’ll be new insights into yourself that will help you move forward in a new way, finding the partner and relationship you’ve been wanting all along.
This has been a year of change in so many ways. So why not make sure that this change is one that works for you?
Wendy Miller is a Certified Happiness Coach, freelance writer & meditation teacher. After years of settling for abusive and otherwise toxic relationships, she got fed up. Using meditation and other tools, she got to work on healing herself, setting boundaries, and only engaging in relationships (romantic and otherwise) that bring her joy. She wants to help other single parents find the love & happiness they seek, including and going beyond romantic love. She lives in Florida with her two sons, where she homeschools while solo parenting, while surrounded by what feels like a zooful of animals.
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