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Making Positive Changes and Dating in the Time of Coronavirus

written by Treva Brandon Scharf May 18, 2020
Making Positive Changes and Dating in the Time of Coronavirus

If there was ever a time to rethink how we love and live, it’s now. The coronavirus has changed life as we know it: how we live, function, do business, socialize, and date. But all is not bleak. Life will go on and hopefully, with more awareness and mindfulness. In the time of coronavirus, I think there’s a real opportunity to instill good habits and make positive changes.

Social Distancing: The Greatest Thing to Happen to Dating?

For someone who’s a huge fan of meeting in real life, Coronavirus is really cramping my style. It’s completely thrown a wrench into my plans for people to meet the old-fashioned way. As a dating coach, I’m always telling clients to put down their phones and look up. Stop living behind your screens and engage; make eye contact, smile, talk to each other. Can’t do that now, we’re stuck inside. Social distancing was already a problem, and now people are retreating back into their devices again.

Social distancing is pissing me off, but at the same time, I know it’s teaching you single people mad skills on how to be alone with yourself (which makes me feel better).

Being alone is a big challenge for singles.

It’s also a big reason why people hate being single. When you’re unable to be alone, it shows. It shows discomfort, desperation, fear, anxiousness, and lack of confidence. I’ve always said the happier and more secure and stable you are alone, you’re not only more attractive to potential partners, but you’re also better equipped to weather storms like the one we’re having right now.

Being stuck at home sucks, especially if you’re single. But while you’re sitting around, why not try to make friends with solitude? Why not learn to stop needing noise and distractions, and fall in love with stillness and quiet? You may be alone for a while, so it’s excellent practice for when you’ll be back up and running again. Mastering these skills now will make you a better dater.

Weathering the Storm

My secret weapon for weathering any storm where you find yourself alone, single, isolated, lonely, or afraid (like after a breakup or during a pandemic) is mindful meditation and guided visualization. Nothing will make you stronger than sitting still for ten minutes doing this.

  1. Have a seat on a couch or chair with your back supported, hands folded in your lap, and your eyes closed.
  2. Take a few deep breaths from your belly up to the top of your lungs. Hold a few breaths at the top for five seconds then fully and audibly exhale.
  3. With each exhale, drop your shoulders and let the rest of your body release and relax.
  4. Do a body scan, starting at your feet and moving up the body. Release any gripping or tension as you go. Make sure you also relax your mouth, jaw, and space between your eyebrows.
  5. Bring your awareness to your breathing, to the rise and fall of your chest. Observe it as you inhale and exhale. You’ll find your heart rate and anxiety slowing down at this point.
  6. Take your awareness outside your body for a moment, listening to the sounds around you, including the silence.
  7. Start your guided visualization.
  8. Think of all the things and people you’re grateful for. See them in your mind’s eye.
  9. Pick a few words or sentences that bring you strength, comfort, or inspiration. Like “I relax, release, let go,” or “I will be well no matter what,” or “I am strong and confident,” or “I can be alone, no problem,” or “Nothing can fuck with me.”
  10. See these words and sentences on a black screen in white type and repeat them.
  11. Now visualize yourself doing something that brings you pride. See yourself finishing a tough task, meeting a challenge, or successfully being alone.
  12. Finally, take another few deep breaths and just be. Feel the peace and calm surround you. Open your eyes slowly and go about your day.

I try to meditate every day, especially when the shit is hitting the fan. The key is to make it a habit and part of your emotional upkeep and maintenance. Meditating regularly will create changes in you to help you stay grounded–whether you’re single or coupled up.

Social distancing might not be optimal for dating, but it does force you to slow down (another one of my faves along with mastering solitude).

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a hundred times: There is nothing wrong with taking your time and going slow. And there’s nothing like a virus floating around to make sure you do. You can’t hurry love, especially now, but you don’t have to completely isolate either. You can still connect and interact virtually on your phone or computer.

Hello, Teledating!

FaceTimeSkype, or Zoom; start meeting and greeting. Usually, I advise online daters to meet as soon as possible because I hate endless texting and messaging. But now that we’re all sequestered, this is a great solution. You can see, hear, and get to know each other. It could be romantic, even intimate since it’s not in a Starbucks. Pour yourself a glass of wine, put on some makeup, and treat it like a real date.

Things will get back to normal, love will survive, but to stay safe, fellow dating coach, Sandy Weiner, suggests taking the slow dating approach one step further in her article, “Could Coronavirus Be The Best Thing To Happen To Dating?”:

What if when we finally met, we didn’t touch—like no handshaking, kissing, or hugging? What if by keeping our hands, faces, and bodies apart for a month or two, it helped us get closer emotionally? I believe it would be good to date during this viral epidemic. Go on more substantial dates. Less touching/more talking might help us deepen our emotional connection without the complications of adding sex to the relationship. Because we all know what happens to our common sense and ability to spot red flags once sex is in the picture.

The Coronavirus needn’t be a deal-breaker for daters. By all means, keep swiping, keep scrolling, keep putting yourself out there online; just make sure you wash your hands after and use plenty of sanitizer, too.

Get more information on my favorite method of meditation here: Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR).

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