Life Before Quarantine – Part 5

During quarantine I’ve been fairly productive. I get my energy from people but I really enjoy my alone time. My daughter agrees. We’re both perfectly happy being on our own. I was looking through some photos the other day and I got some great memories of when we were all allowed to come out and play. I thought I’d share some of them with you. I’ll run this series every week until I run out of photos! If you see yourself, hit me up!

I’m very fortunate to have met you all and enjoyed the times we had together. Thank you!

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

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Getting Dumped On Zoom Is The New Worst Kind Of Breakup

Forget the Post-It note Berger left Carrie. Forget Joe Jonas’ 27-second phone call to Taylor Swift. Forget the breakup text from your cowardly ex. The official worst way to get dumped? On Zoom.

Or is it the best way? In this age of social distancing, there aren’t many options when it comes to ending relationships. But when enough is enough, calling it quits over video chat is, at the very least, a way to do it face-to-face, however strange that may be.

Julia, 26, had been dating someone for two months when he decided to end it on a Zoom conference call. “We’d been talking every day […], but also we were sort of in this weird pre-label limbo zone because we’d only gone on three dates before coronavirus,” she tells Bustle. “But they were incredible dates, and there was clearly a connection.”

Like many couples who are self-isolating apart, Julia was maintaining her connection with her partner by hopping on Zoom and FaceTime dates, in order to watch movies and hang out with her SO from their respective homes. “He was the first guy in a very long time I was excited about,” she says.

When the fateful “you free to talk later?” text landed in her inbox, Julia immediately knew what was up.

Julia Moser

@juliamoserrrr

am i the first person who’s been dumped via zoom?

“I had sensed him getting a little more distant the last week or so, and was anxious about it, but couldn’t pin down if it was just general anxiety about the world or just in my head,” she says.

Not wanting to take any chances, she quickly put on a bit of makeup before the call, which made her feel more confident and prepared, and less, as she puts it, like a “working-from-home zombie.” But that didn’t make it any easier.

Put plainly, breakups suck, whether it happens in-person, over text, or through a screen. But the biggest difference between doing it IRL and URL? You can’t physically walk away, and closure is as nonexistent as virtual reality.

“It sucks,” Julia says. “But I probably would have been pissed if it had been via text, and I’m not sure I could have stayed calm and collected if it were in person — not that that was even an option.”

When budding romance is bound by the ceilings of technology, it may be best-case for relationships to die as they live: online.

 

If you think you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, which include fever, shortness of breath, and cough, call your doctor before going to get tested. If you’re anxious about the virus’s spread in your community, visit the CDC for up-to-date information and resources, or seek out mental health support.

 

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Digital Detoxing Is The New Ghosting. Change My Mind.

In the olden days (before social distancing), when a crush wanted to decline an invitation to hang out, they could claim to be “at work” or “busy with friends.” But now, amid a global pandemic, when everything is closed, and everyone is sitting inside, glued to their phones, the only way to ghost someone is by taking a digital detox.

While you’d think the embargo on public events might hinder one’s ability to make last-minute excuses, leave it to the gems I date to come up with new, innovative reasons for why they can’t make it. When dating relies solely on technology, the only way out is off.

After a couple of days of sheltering-in-place, it became clear to me that I was going to need more human interaction than my roommates were capable of providing. I’d been following a fellow creative on Instagram, and after liking each other’s quarantine-chic posts, I decided it might be time for a socially-distant slide into their DMs.

To my surprise, they replied immediately. They told me how lonely they were, quarantined with their parents, and what a relief it was to connect with another person. For the next few days, we exchanged messages, swapped GIFs and music recommendations, and shared articles we’d enjoyed reading. We’d take turns complaining, confessing our fears for the future, and offering suggestions of what to make for dinner.

I loved having a quarantine crush — someone cute to gab with in self-isolation who wasn’t my roommate’s dog or the Amazon delivery person. We found love in hopeless, contactless place, so as the weekend drew closer, I resolved that it was time to kick it up a notch. I messaged my crush asking if they wanted to FaceTime, aka the social distancing version of, “Want to grab a drink this weekend?”

I was shocked to find that people can still be so committed to roundabout-rejection, even when they’re sitting in their sweatpants at home, baking sourdough bread on Instagram Live.

When I saw “Typing…” pop up, I began daydreaming about their response. Would they claim to be working up the courage to ask me out? Suggest we do a fun activity over Zoom? Ask for my address, so they could send me a bottle of wine?

But when my phone finally pinged, their response made my eyes roll so far back inside my head, I felt like I was riding Kingda Ka.

“Uh, sorry,” they said. “I’m actually going to ban myself from screens for a while, to attempt to become one with nature. Or something.”

That’s right, folks. Instead of hitting me with an, “I’m just not that into you,” a content creator for a digital publication opted to tell me that they were not planning on using their cellphone or computer for the foreseeable future. All to, presumably, get out of going on a FaceTime date with me. Casual!

At first, I tried to cut them some slack. According to Dr. Carla Marie Manly, clinical psychologist and author of Joy from Fear, people often give phony explanations to avoid conflict or hurting someone’s feelings. When you’re not into someone, claiming to be “so busy at work” (or going on a cellular strike) can help cushion the blow.

But Dr. Manly also shares that lying your way out of plans doesn’t just hurt the people you’re rejecting — it hurts you.

“A pattern of telling ‘white lies’ can reduce sensitivity to dishonesty and lead to greater dishonesty over time,” Dr. Manly says. “Now that you can’t tell a ‘white lie’ about having another engagement, you have the opportunity to increase your honesty-based skills and personal boundaries.”

I did what they couldn’t: I officially pulled the plug.

Look, I’m all for giving your body what it needs, but there’s a difference between “I’m not using my phone” and “I’m not using my phone to FaceTime you.” I was shocked to find that people can still be so committed to roundabout-rejection, even when they’re sitting in their sweatpants at home, baking sourdough bread on Instagram Live.

I get it: Telling someone that you’re not feeling them can be intimating. But instead of finding new ways to blow people off, perhaps self-isolation can be a time to reflect on what you want, what you don’t, and how to honestly and directly communicate that to the people you date (or politely reject).

When my crush posted on Instagram a few days later, I thought about calling them out. But ultimately, I decided against it. Instead, I did what they couldn’t: I officially pulled the plug.

 

If you think you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, which include fever, shortness of breath, and cough, call your doctor before going to get tested. If you’re anxious about the virus’s spread in your community, visit the CDC for up-to-date information and resources, or seek out mental health support.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

Buy Phicklephilly THE BOOK now available on Amazon!

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When Will It Be Safe To Date Again? Infectious Disease Experts Weigh In

You can only make so many FaceTime calls and go on so many lousy Zoom dates before you start wondering when it will be safe to date again in person. When will you finally be able to meet up for drinks, instead of talking through a screen? Or sit across from someone in a coffee shop, instead of merely daydreaming about it? Desperate for answers, I asked the experts when Americans can stop practicing social distancing and start engaging in social mingling.

“[Right now], it is critical to listen to the true experts in this situation — the scientists — including the frontline epidemiologists and infectious disease doctors,” Dr. Josh Klapow, a clinical psychologist and associate professor of Public Health at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, tells Bustle. Americans should continue to work from home, avoid nonessential travel, avoid eating at restaurants and bars, and limit gatherings to groups of less than 10, until the end of April. And that includes meeting up with someone for a first date.

According to Klapow, every interaction is a risk. “It varies by region of the country, the person’s exposure to the virus, underlying health conditions, etc.,” he says. But the safest and most socially responsible thing to do is shelter in place, and continue avoiding in-person encounters.

Dating While Sheltering At Home

As of April 14, 95% of Americans are following stay-at-home orders, which encourage citizens to “shelter at home” to slow the spread of coronavirus. It can be a lonely time, especially if you’re self-isolating. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find ways to be social and keep your dating life alive.

People are surprisingly receptive to receiving messages and making connections right now, Dr. Kim Chronister, a licensed clinical psychologist, tells Bustle. In fact, social distancing has led to a surge in dating app usage, with folks chatting online and getting to know each other, without going on physical dates.

As Chronister says, “There is also the added benefit of time on your hands to craft meaningful messages, get on calls, get to know each other through video, and talk for hours on end.”

Social distancing might even lead to deeper connections, Klapow says, than the kind you’d make on a traditional first date. If you’re looking for something serious, ask each other personal questions, talk about the dates you’ll go on once the pandemic is over, and see where the relationship leads. Or, simply send fun, flirty texts as a way of passing the time.

Until social distancing orders are lifted, stay inside and date online. And build anticipation through those FaceTime chats.

When Will Stay-At-Home Orders Be Lifted?

Much of the US will be practicing social distancing through May 30, and perhaps into the summer. It’s difficult, however, to predict the exact date when things might change. “Stay-at-home orders should not lift anytime soon,” Dr. Natasha Bhuyan, MD, a family physician, tells Bustle. “We are still in a phase of active spread of COVID-19 that we are trying to mitigate.”

While other countries are beginning to ease their restrictions, the US is still in the middle of the fight. And that makes it difficult to compare the US to other countries’ COVID-19 response.

“Other countries were even testing asymptomatic individuals, who can be spreaders of COVID-19,” Bhuyan says. “Because we had very limited early testing in the US, we are already behind in tracking cases. That is why our current […] stay-at-home orders are likely to continue.”

How this plays out will be largely dependent on where you live, too. As Dr. Amesh A. Adalja, MD, FIDSA, FACP, FACEP, a board-certified infectious disease physician, tells Bustle, there are many considerations that go into lifting stay-at-home orders. “If case counts are manageable in hospital capacity can be preserved,” he says, “some social distancing measures may be loosened.”

To get an idea of what that might look like in the coming months, Adalja says we might see schools open before bars and restaurants, with mass gatherings still not permitted. The whole process, however, will speed up if we continue social distancing to slow the spread of the virus. “I do think, within, probably the next month or so, you will start to see some renovation of the world,” he says.

What Will Dating Be Like After The Pandemic?

While you might be impatient, and understandably so, reopening social venues in stages will be a good thing. As Dr. Alexa Mieses, a practicing family physician and specialist in infectious diseases, tells Bustle, “If everyone went back to their pre-COVID routine immediately, COVID cases would increase again. Therefore, we will likely be practicing social distancing for months to come.”

It’s all about being as cautious as possible, so health experts can intervene if cases get out of control again, Mieses says. Once we are able to venture out, we’ll likely continue to wash our hands frequently, she says, wear masks more regularly, and carry hand sanitizer. If anything, it’ll make shaking hands on a first date a lot less germy.

While these stay-at-home orders may become less strict as the weeks and months go by, there is no clear answer as to when it will be safe to date again. “In order to manage our own expectations,” Mieses says, “we should imagine remote, virtual […] social activities for the next few months.

If you think you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, which include fever, shortness of breath, and cough, call your doctor before going to get tested. If you’re anxious about the virus’s spread in your community, visit the CDC or NHS 111 in the UK for up-to-date information and resources, or seek out mental health support. You can find all Bustle’s coverage of coronavirus here, and UK-specific updates on coronavirus here.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

Buy Phicklephilly THE BOOK now available on Amazon!

Listen to the Phicklephilly podcast LIVE on Spotify!

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