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Dating in the post-pandemic world

The love lives of singles and dating couples all over the world have been severely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. With social distancing in place, it can be difficult to stay socially active without feeling worried about infected. Not only that, they are also faced with various complexities when nurturing a budding relationship. In this article, we explore how singles can overcome the unique challenges and adopt a positive mindset in the post-pandemic world.

Vaccination blues

Singles are now more selective when considering matches with differing vaccination status. Some are of the opinion that it can be as important as other factors like age and education, and an indicator of long-term compatibility due its inherent consequential impact of living together as a couple.

However, asking for someone’s vaccination status can be awkward because it was not the norm to ask for a date’s health status before meeting him or her up. It can take some getting used to before broaching the million-dollar question in a casual and nonchalant manner: “Hey, are you vaccinated?”

It is true that we are not entitled to know a person’s medical history in the initial stages of dating and the question can feel invasive and uncomfortable. Even if your love interest declares that he or she is vaccinated, are you going to verify his or her vaccination card or will you take their word for it?

It really depends on your comfort level and what are your views on exposing yourself to the unknown. In pre-pandemic days, you would not normally know the medical history of someone you are dating until you are more familiar with each other. Dating certainly requires you to tackle the unknown and take on appropriate risks based on your value-system. It is a good time to reflect on those values first before you start dating again.

Overcoming the jitters

Amidst the pandemic, many people have been conditioned to solitude and grown accustomed to distancing themselves from colleagues, friends and even their family members. Remote learning and work-from-home models have made speedy online meet-ups more acceptable and this has extinguished any potential opportunities to meet someone new as restrictions make date planning a logistical nightmare.

The hesitancy and trepidation can be overwhelming as many singles feel out of touch and out of practice in meeting people. Before the pandemic began, it can be easy to engage in small talk and bring up topics randomly to move the conversation. But now, the mind can be a bit dulled from the absence of social stimuli and thus feel less confident to interact with others.

It can be demanding, but not impossible, to overcome the social awkwardness. Remember, everyone else is going through the same thing! Have compassion and don’t judge yourself too harshly. Dating is a skill that we learn along the way and most are not inherently equipped with those abilities. Once you get out there, your memory will start coming back and it will be as easy as riding a bike!

Start having conversations, begin feeling the butterflies in your stomach, the nervousness of meeting someone new and it will gradually feel familiar to you again. It is human to feel embarrassed, but just keep in mind that everyone is re-learning like you.

Dating is all about dealing with rejection graciously, exploring intimacy bravely, and it can feel tempting to skip the courtship process all together by using the pandemic as an excuse!

Remember, our brains are wired to treat something that we avoid as something dangerous. Fear will only hold you back because the more you avoid, the more anxiety-inducing it becomes. To be rewarded, you must take risks and put in hard work for nothing in life comes to you on silver spoon.

Relationship challenges

Relationships that started just before or during the height of the pandemic can find themselves in a seclusive relationship, with limited knowledge of how their partner interacted with the outside world. Most of the couples started interacting solely with each other and thus they have a rich and deep personal connection with each other, but very little support or interactions with the outside world.

When social inclusion begins after restrictions relax, the couple starts to integrate into the wider community. When this shift occurs, the couple may experience turbulent and mixed feelings about each other as they start to realize that there are many aspects of their partner that they are unaware of when they start going out for a meal or movie, or meeting family and friends in a group setting.

It is akin to a long-distance relationship, but in opposite way that the couples are initially too close together and when they they start to venture out, the tensions overwhelm the dynamics of the couple and result in a break-up.

The healthiest relationship is not totally immune to stress and the strains that we face from coping with the pandemic does spill over into those we cherish, people whom are share openly with and show them the good, the bad and the ugly. It is therefore important to build up your emotional resilience and crisis management skills to cope with the unrelenting stressors.

In conclusion, the effects of the pandemic on relationships will continue to evolve but one day there will be light at the end of the tunnel. Stay hopeful and stay safe!

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