| Greenville News
Restrictions and risks of a global pandemic have made dating more challenging than ever before. The good news is that you don’t have to put your love life on hold if you are single. Here’s how to get the most out of dating during COVID.
THE SINGLE SCENE
Relationship coach and matchmaker Christina Smith Kelley helps local singles connect and find love through special events and consulting services. She also manages three different single groups in Greenville, one with more than 2,000 local members.
“My passion is helping singles connect with other singles and put their best foot forward in the dating world,” says Kelley. “I know what a blessing it is to find that special someone, and I always delight in helping others find their soulmate.”
While social distancing and dating don’t seem to go well together, Kelley says singles are still making it work and adjusting to new ways of connecting and developing relationships.
“Even though it’s a different world, I’m still seeing a big desire for people to connect with others,” says Kelley. “COVID has definitely caused singles to put more effort into meeting new people.”
Kelley says connections made through messaging, chats, video, and phone calls have significantly increased since March, but the most notable is the increased interest in attending her single events.
“We are social human beings, and people want to connect in person,” she says. “With social distancing, of course, we’ve been able to hold fun, single events within the current safety guidelines, such as small group mixers, trivia and game nights, dinners, and wine tastings.”
THE SILVER LINING
For some singles, pandemic dating presents a silver lining.
Emily Neal, an ad agency account manager, and Andrew Prosser, a producer in the music industry, had been dating close to a year and taking things slow until the pandemic hit.
“COVID sped things up and moved our relationship to the next level of a commitment,” says Neal. “We had been living in different apartments about a 30-minute-drive from each other. While we had talked about the possibility of moving in together, COVID forced us to make a final decision.”
In May, Neal and Prosser took the next step and moved in together.
“Life was already a pressure cooker,” Neal says. “Since we both had to work from home, moving in together was a big adjustment. And it was also a test. We thought, if we can do this together, then we can make a commitment work.”
Neal says the pandemic also allowed the opportunity to focus on what really matters.
“Dating during COVID is basically like boiling down five years of relationship work into just a few months,” she says. “It definitely made our communications much stronger and more open, and it also forced us to have those hard conversations upfront, such as handling our social life together – respecting comfort zones, determining who we can trust, and feel safe hanging out with.”
Being more selective is another positive of pandemic dating.
“The online dating world can create an atmosphere of an all-you-can-eat buffet mentality,” Kelley says. “I would also see people going on dates with someone that they knew they shouldn’t date or date solely because they didn’t have anything else to do. Now, I see more people dating with purpose, being more selective, and taking time to get to know someone first.”
Determine your comfort level. Dating safely while COVID is still a threat means determining your comfort level upfront before you take the next step.
Keep putting yourself out there. “The biggest advice I have for my coaching clients is to keep putting yourself out there and try new ways to meet people,” Kelley says.
Don’t’ be afraid to try virtual dating (again). While dating online won’t replace a chemistry check, it is a low-pressure way to connect and keep the conversation going. “You just never know who you may meet this time around,” Kelley says. “It worked for me after five times of failed online dating subscriptions.”
Think differently about dating. The global pandemic has forced singles to think differently about dating – it’s just one of many ways our lives have changed in 2020. “If what you’ve been doing hasn’t worked, maybe it’s time to change up your dating routine, the type of person you would normally date, or how you meet people,” Kelley says.
Don’t immediately write someone off after one date. “People are usually nervous on a first date, especially in the current circumstances,” Kelley says. “If you aren’t sure after the first date, I suggest a second date before you decide to let them go.”
Get creative with dates while staying safe. Go on a hike, or have a picnic in a park. Look for creative and fun ways to have a date.
Most importantly, never give up. “The challenge with dating is how to meet that special someone,” says Kelley. “While the answer is different for everyone, the key is not to give up – even during COVID. You may be within a short time from meeting that person. I recall taking a trip with friends and having no idea I was only a few days away from meeting my husband – your time will come too.”
YOU CAN GO AND MORE INFO
For more dating tips and details about upcoming single events in Greenville, visit @SoloNoMoreGVLand @BoredNoMoreGVLon Facebook and Instagram, or www.BoredNoMoreGVL.com.