5 Ways Social Distancing Is Helping Your Dating Life

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5 Ways Social Distancing Is Helping Your Dating Life
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Social distancing can be your ally in dating!

We are embarking upon a new frontier in 2020: Dating and social distancing. This can seem like a real bummer to most, but it can be a blessing in disguise.

The thing about dating online is that if we are being 100 percent honest with ourselves, we base our swipes mostly on looks and a few witty words.

Then maybe after a few conversations, usually via text, we meet the person out for coffee or drinks.

RELATED: 7 Steps To Continue Dating Safely & Find Your Soulmate In The Time Of Coronavirus

This can be successful, but most of the time we lead with our physical self instead of our emotional self. We connect based on pheromones versus emotional intimacy and mental stimulation.

Many times, these relationships are short-lived, leaving many feeling used and unvalued.

Here are 5 reasons why social distancing is helping dating life.

1. New features equal extra safety.

One of the worst things about dating is giving away your contact info before having a chance to know someone. Sometimes, messages or texts feel like you are communicating with a brick wall.

First dates can be a mix of awkward moments and the realization that this person is not the one. Worse is a connection that is one-sided — and not from you!

This can lead to obsessive texting, calling, and messages that make you want to put your head in the sand.

Since the pandemic, many dating apps have added a nifty little button that allows you to video chat without giving any of your personal information away. Genius.

This new feature provides an extra layer of safety, since no personal contacts need to be exchanged. This means no intrusive calls at 3 a.m., no unannounced visitors at your home or work because they "were in the area."

You have more power and control. You can build trust and connection before letting a new person into your personal life.

2. You have the time to talk and spot the red flags.

With video chatting becoming our most convenient source of connection, it would only make sense that we would be talking more.

In fact, Match.com's chief dating expert Rachel DeAlto reported that conversations are lasting twice as long as pre-pandemic communications.

All this talking gives you time to ask more questions, explore their history, and spot any potential red flags.

"How was the relationship with your mother? Did you serve any prison time? Oh, you drink three 40-ounces nightly, and addiction runs in your family? Interesting."

We are far more likely to be able to spot red flags online before meeting in person because our brains have yet to be hijacked by high levels of dopamine. This is when you catch feelings.

With the gift of social distance, we have an opportunity to be more objective.

3. Physical attraction can take a back seat.

Let's be honest, infatuation can blind you. Sure, the reason you swiped right is because of attraction. But with all that talking, physical attraction becomes is an added bonus.

We all know the story of the "hot" guy who turns out to be a selfish jerk once he opens his mouth. Somehow, the hotness simmers and we see this person in a whole new light.

All the talking you're doing will indeed uncover the true self lurking under the pretty eyes and handsome smile.

We are also finding newfound freedom and less pressure to perform. Before COVID, getting ready for a date could take hours — picking the right outfit, makeup, hair, whitening our teeth, etc.

We used to try really hard to present our "best self."

Now, a new trend is setting in allowing ourselves to just be real. Many are reporting that they are showing up to online dates with no makeup, sweat pants, and a "you get what you see" attitude.

We are spending less time on our physical self and giving ourselves permission to stop trying so hard to be perfect.

RELATED: How Will Coronavirus Change The Way We Date When Things Go Back To 'Normal'?

4. You're laying an emotional foundation.

Friendship is the foundation of any lasting relationship. Suitors who are willing to invest time and energy into you are more likely to look for a lasting relationship, rather than a quick hookup.

I often talk about approaching dating like you would baseball. You bat, run to first, second, third, then home. If you skip a step, you're out. Building a foundation is making sure you complete each step before making it home.

This reminds me of middle school in the 1980s when boys would brag about what "base" they got to with their girl. For a middle-school boy, getting to "first base" was a victory to be proud of.

Before you dismiss the wisdom of middle school, think about how much better "running home" will be if you spend a lot of time getting to know someone before you engage in a physical relationship. Intimacy is so much sweeter if you build a friendship first.

5. Ask yourself if he's worthy of being in your "bubble."

If you follow the steps above, you might be at the point when you feel you can trust the guy. Maybe you sorted out any red flags, talked a lot, and build up a foundation of trust.

Now is the time to decide if he is worthy of your "social bubble."

Opening our social bubble is something we did not have to even consider a few short months ago. This a big decision, especially if you have older parents or vulnerable family members in your circle.

Having to consider whether to add a new person gives you a chance to be picky — not settle — and only allow people in that you really feel a connection with.

A true test would be to start with a "six-foot away date" to see if they can respect the distance and just enjoy your company first. If yes, start running those bases!

This pandemic has given us many challenges, but it is also allowing us to rethink the dating rules and change the narrative that assumes physical intimacy is more important than emotional connection.

Today, you get to rewrite the rules and have COVID-19 on your side to do so. Use it wisely!

RELATED: Why Dating During The Coronavirus Pandemic Is Complicated — But Still Possible

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Cherise Stewart is a marriage and family therapist who integrates faith, hope, and practical tools into everyday life. For more thoughts about love, faith, and travel, visit her website.

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