I never thought in 2020 I would be writing about digital dating during a pandemic, but here we are. Six weeks ago I was ready to throw in the towel on dating all together and focus only on work, until working from home took on a whole other meaning. Fourteen hour days consumed with mostly work and scrolling through social media. I won’t admit my screen time last week because it’s shameful. Like any single person in Los Angeles though, I found myself searching for likely companions to break my social media time. Because we have another twenty-three days to go so why not occupy the time?! What has digital dating during a pandemic been like?
Turns out the number of people on dating apps has increased, and people are severely lonely and quick to contact you. I’ve watched stories on social media of people talking about how their exe’s are reaching out during this crisis. Which is only normal given we are in complete fear of what’s next. Why not resort to our old ways? I have to wonder how many people are using these apps to fill the emptiness. My dog keeps me entertained while I’m on lockdown, but for the first time I’ve used Zoom and Houseparty daily, and spent hours on FaceTime calls with friends. Even my mom calls me on FaceTime now. So deprived of social interaction we will take anything we can get, including a stranger on a dating app.
We are no longer stringing our potential companions on with the idea of a first date through a series of texts. Now we are demanding a Facetime or Zoom call. I actually spent five hours on FaceTime with a complete stranger who I met a few weeks prior to the quarantine. Though it was just a friend and not a dating prospect. Which makes this a scarier time to be dating. Giving away our time like candy just to engage with anyone.
I matched with three guys and after a few texts realized this isn’t anymore exciting than dating before COVID-19. These guys think it’s okay to meet-up in person like the rest of the world isn’t fearing for their lives. Hello “stay home!” One guy was so serious about our first conversation he lasted three minutes before freakishly asking me marriage questions. Like slowdown dude, we are not marrying, and you’re gonna get to leave your house again. There will be no phone proposal today.
Desperation and anxiety is leading our actions. For others they are abusing alcohol. No judgement because I’ve found myself wine induced a few times too. My realization is that fear is forcing us into living everyday life like it’s our last. However, if the plan is to resort back to the same life after COVID-19 we can’t overreact. While any social interaction is good, it’s also healthy to find what you need for inner peace during this time. Which truthfully might just be time with yourself. Dating apps aren’t my solution.
Sometimes if you slowdown long enough to listen to your body you will find the answers. I started indulging hobbies like cooking and painting; mediating, writing and self-care. I’m now using this time to think more about my purpose, my intentions, and how I want to tackle these last three weeks of the lockdown. It can feel frightening to look at all the things we don’t have right now, but when you look inward and trust what your body is telling you, it can also feel rewarding relieving yourself of the junk you don’t need. Like meaningless phone dates, social media, and worthless television (aka Tiger King). Enjoy this time for yourself and maybe the right person and right opportunities will find you.
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