OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) – Pandemic love.
It’s more than a cheesy phrase now. The term is an ever-expanding concept that encompasses virtual dating amid a global health crisis.
And obtaining it, has proven difficult for many.
Match Group’s more than 45 dating brands include some of the most popular platforms, like Tinder, Hinge, Match, and dozens more. They control more than 60% of the dating app market and boast a 15% increase in membership across those platforms in their last quarter.
That’s why Joanie Fink, a licensed therapist who specializes in psychotherapy, relationships and sex, suggests people take virtual dating slowly.
“There’s been a lot of online dating. A lot of it stems from just feeling the walls are caving in. People are feeling isolated, feeling alone.” Fink explained. “So take baby steps.”
Fink owns and operates J28 Relationship Therapy LLC and explains many of her single clients embrace online dating, but she warns, the option isn’t without its pros and cons.
The increased online traffic and constant swiping right can lead to overwhelming options and a false sense of choices.
“It’s great because there are so many new experiences, but we often don’t know who we’re talking to.” Fink declared.
With the increased membership comes a reported spike in scammers and bots, preying on people’s vulnerabilities.
So how do you know who you’re talking to? Fink suggests a healthy level of communication and consistency with potential partners and fusing creativity and safety with virtual dates.
“I know couples who will enjoy the same glass of wine and set out a spread in their respective locations and use FaceTime to enjoy a romantic dinner.” Fink explained.
The idea allows two people to engage ‘in person’ without all of the pressures, but offers some opportunity for an additional layer of interpersonal communication.
And speaking of communication, Fink says a computer screen or any screen shouldn’t be a barrier. Virtual dating doesn’t have to be less authentic than in-person dating.
“Go below the surface. Ask questions.” Fink suggested.
And resist the urge to be the other person’s perfect ‘virtual match.’
If you don’t like hiking, don’t put it in your profile. Be honest about what truly interests you so that false expectations are created for the other person.
Of all the suggestions Fink offers, transparency is at the top of the priority list. Online dating, especially during a pandemic can seem rushed as people feel anxiety or pressure about quickly finding love.
Exercising safety and patience can help attract the healthiest partners.
Fink suggests sharing your location with friends or family if you decide to meet a virtual companion in person and also practicing safe sex if intimacy become something mutually agreed upon.
“The same way we think about close contact during this pandemic is the same way we should think about it during intimacy.” Fink outlined. Understand the risks and rewards of each action ahead of time.
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