How The Coronavirus Pandemic May Affect Dating Long-Term, According To 7 Experts

People keep referring to life after the world “gets back to normal,” but what will normal look like? After months of self-isolation and anxiety, social distancing will most likely affect dating long-term. But according to experts, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Instead of greeting each other with a handshake or hug, perhaps people will keep their distance. Until you get to know someone, you might not feel the need to rush into a no-strings-attached hookup. And while many daters will probably continue conducting themselves as they typically would, the fear provoked by the pandemic may continue to loom overhead.

“People don’t like to be told what to do, and in addition, very few people do what is best for them,” Lynell Ross, a certified health and wellness coach, behavior change specialist, and relationship expert, tells Bustle. Although public health officials are recommending social distancing for months to come, that doesn’t guarantee everyone will follow those guidelines.

“It will be up to each individual to decide what advice they will listen to, and how they will proceed with dating and socializing,” Ross says. And for many, that will mean continuing to social distance and connect with partners over dating apps, video chat, and text.

Two Asian woman chatting and drinking coffee at cafe.
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Therapists Believe Dating Will Slow Down

As people replace in-person meetings with online conversations, the pace of dating has been gradually slowing down. And that’s a trend Jaime Bronstein, LCSW, a psychotherapist and licensed clinical social worker, sees continuing into the future.

“Daters are emotionally connecting more, which is going to impact dating long-term in a positive way,” she tells Bustle. “[They] are naturally talking more and opening up to each other and really connecting.”

Those looking for serious relationships will see the benefits of getting to know their potential partners a bit better before becoming too invested. What do they want for the future? What are their likes and dislikes? By chatting online and having these discussions early on, they’ll get their answers upfront.

If you did end up meeting someone during quarantine, experts believe your relationship will likely be off to a good start. “Coming out of this, couples will feel more connected and bonded and stronger overall,” Bronstein says.

Dating Coaches Say People Will Be Pickier

According to Lana Otoya, a professional dating coach from Millennialships, dating will eventually go back to the way it was pre-pandemic.

“This is because so much of dating is based on sex and sexual chemistry, and this is something that comes across greatly only while speaking to others in person,” she tells Bustle. “Humans want to connect in person, so once the bans and lockdowns are lifted, dating life will go back to normal.”

Otoya predicts that people will feel that magnetic energy, just like they always have. But one thing that might change? How good you are at weeding out potential partners from those you have nothing in common with.

Since people have been using Zoom and FaceTime to talk to potential dates, they’ve gotten used to reading people and figuring out what they’re truly like, right from their living rooms. And that skill will carry into the outside world, Otoya says, and make for stronger relationships.

A Dating App Founder Thinks Virtual Dating Isn’t Going Anywhere

The world was once swipe-based, Dawoon Kang, the co-founder and co-CEO of the dating app Coffee Meets Bagel, tells Bustle. But going forward, she predicts daters will be in less of a rush.

“We can take the time to go deeper with one person at a time — give each person a proper chance,” Kang says. “I think ‘slow dating’ can actually be a faster way to find that type of genuine connection you might be looking for.”

Singles are also more open to using virtual dating than ever before. “For the past month, we’ve been surveying our US users on a weekly basis to see how the pandemic is affecting their dating lives,” she says. “The biggest trend we’ve noticed is that singles are increasingly becoming more open to virtual dating.”

During the week of April 13, 84% of US singles said they were open to a virtual first date, Kang says, and nearly half plan to text or video chat with their matches, while 38% plan to call more.

Public Health Experts Predict People Will (Literally) Take Up Space

Although it’s only been a couple of months since people last mixed and mingled in public, social distancing rules will be ingrained in people’s brains for a while, Carol Winner, MPH, MSE, a public health expert and founder of give space, tells Bustle. And that’ll stick with you as you venture back into public spaces.

“Proximity is a new issue for many people, and it will have an impact on the way singles date for at least a year,” she says. “Less kissing on the first date or even holding hands is to be expected.” Picture yourself going for a socially-distant walk, or having lengthy convos on the phone, before meeting up IRL for the first time.

“It’s not about being modest or prude; it’s about community health,” Winner says. “Recovering from the effects of a global pandemic doesn’t happen overnight, and some things will change indefinitely. People will be vigilant about who they spend time with within the next year or so.”

A Behavioral Expert Foresees A Return To Singledom

Tracy Crossley, a behavioral relationship expert, believes more people will want to remain single after coronavirus, as it’ll be a while before they feel comfortable around strangers again. Fear will play a role, she says, so you may find other ways to be social that don’t involve dating, kissing, or having sex.

That said, it’s possible you’ll respond by jumping into bed with someone who isn’t necessarily a good match, simply because you missed being around people, Crossley says, adding there are many possible outcomes.

The third option, she says, is that people will continue to take time to self-reflect and think about what they want in a partner, and then slowly get to know someone without being in a rush. “People either come together or go the other direction,” she says, “and it will continue to be a diverse universe as individuals are not all the same.”

Matchmakers Expect Your Priorities To Shift

People’s perception of their “ideal partner” will change after the coronavirus pandemic, Susan Trombetti, a matchmaker and CEO of Exclusive Matchmaking, tells Bustle. “We are going through a life-changing situation making […] dating wants and needs a lot clearer,” she says. Facing a global health crisis can reframe your priorities, what you want, and where you’d like to see your life go.

Communication skills have also been improving for everyone stuck at home, as we text and video chat with cute strangers. “Even though touching in a relationship is bonding, so is talking about your hopes and dreams,” Trombetti says. “Whether consciously or not, this will carry over into relationships for a while, which is a plus.”

Psychiatrists Warn That A New Vetting Process Is In Order

Psychiatrists believe that everyone’s fears won’t be alleviated until, to some degree, a vaccine is found for COVID-19. “Some level of caution may be simmering in the background, but whether or not someone is vaccinated for COVID-19 will not likely be at the top of people’s minds when dating three years from now,” Dr. Margaret Seide, a board-certified psychiatrist, tells Bustle.

Until then, she says people likely adopt a stronger vetting process when it comes to dating. “There will be much communication prior to meeting up,” Seide says. “Daters will be selective about with whom they are willing to meet.” And that may mean asking more personal questions, including their line of work and who they live with. “People will essentially be weighing out your corona exposure risk factors before meeting you,” she says. “That’s reasonable; it’s a new world.”

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.

 

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If Your Guy Constantly Criticizes You About These 4 Things, Break It Off

Relationships, even the best ones, are not always perfect. They are filled with conflict, and it’s important to recognize that fighting in a relationship is completely normal. But there are some conflicts that should be considered red flags — namely, when your partner criticizes you for certain things. Of course, criticism comes in different forms, and not all of it is harmful. But some forms of criticism can have a lasting negative effect, not just on a relationship, but on your fundamental sense of self. Once you recognize these things, it’s important to evaluate the effect it can have on you and your relationship.

Relationship and etiquette expert April Masini explains to Elite Daily, “When criticism is really just about preferring meat cooked well done, not rare — and not about a global criticism like, ‘You’re the worst cook I’ve ever met’ — it’s harmless. But when a partner uses criticism as a tool to maintain a power dynamic, there’s abuse underfoot. Stinging, chronic criticism can be abusive if the point of the comments are to make the person feel bad about themselves and to manipulate them that way.”

1. Your Appearance

“Any criticism that has to do with body image is generally a touchy area,” says Masini. “For instance, height, freckles, big breasts, small breasts, big rear end, small rear end, waist size, hair, nose, skin tone — these are all areas that people tend to concern themselves with about their own bodies, and they worry about how they may appear to others.”

Masini explains that partners want to feel like they’re attractive to each other, so criticizing their appearance can have a negative effect on the relationship as a whole.

Angry unhappy young couple ignoring not looking at each other after family fight or quarrel, upset thoughtful spouses avoiding talk, sitting silently on couch, having relationship troubles.

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2. Your Family

Masini says if you’re dating someone who criticizes your family — your parents, your siblings, or your kids (if you have them) — you should take into consideration how that makes you feel and the effect it has on you.

“It’s very tough to do this, but when possible, avoid or at least limit any criticism of these family members and these relationships,” says Masini. “They’re too close to the heart … to be taken objectively.”

Family stuff can complicate relationships, especially when you vent about your family issues to your partner. This can make it easy for your partner to criticize your family alongside you, but if a line is crossed, it’s important to speak up.

3. Your Personal Traits

You can’t change the way you were brought up and the life experiences you had that shaped who you are today.

“Personal traits like being late, not being well-read or well-educated, having a different religion or culture of origin, coming from a different socioeconomic group, or being either ‘low class’ or ‘uppity’ are very bad arenas in which to criticize a partner,” says Masini. “People can’t change their pasts, and criticizing a partner for being ill-bred or uncultured presents a tough fix for the person hearing this.”

As Clinical Csychologist Dr. Joshua Klapow, Ph.D, previously told Elite Daily, “When feedback is directed at your character, your personality, or who you are vs. what you are doing, then the feedback is becoming criticism. When you feel like you don’t want to hear from your partner, or when you are avoiding them or your interactions so you won’t be criticized, it is time to take action.”

4. Your Career

If your partner makes you feel bad about your career — whether it’s because they wish you were wealthier, don’t approve of what you’re doing, or want you to be more well-known in your field — it may be a red flag.

Masini says lots of people value themselves based on how well they’re doing in their careers, so if your partner criticizes you for your work, it may end up hurting your self-esteem – and that’s not good. It’s particularly terrible when your partner decides you’re not successful enough or making enough money for them. Your partner should keep these kinds of complains to themselves, “or date someone who has a better chance of the kind of success that is important to [them],” says Masini.

Your partner may criticize you for your career if money becomes an issue in your relationship, especially if you live together. They might feel so stressed by the lack of funds that it can create a negative environment for your relationship. “Collateral damage occurs when partners feel devalued in a relationship and look outside that marriage or partnership for sex, love, and self esteem,” says Masini.

 

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14 Opening Lines To Use On Dating Apps While Quarantined

There’s nothing quite like a global pandemic to put a serious damper on your social life. But if there’s one positive thing about being in quarantine 24/7, it’s the opportunity to step up your dating app game, beginning by brushing up on your icebreakers. After all, your dating life doesn’t have to end in quarantine, it just has to adjust a little. Honestly, we could all use a laugh right now, and having a few flirty opening lines to use on dating apps while quarantined is a great way to not only to put a smile on someone’s face, but maybe even score you a FaceTime date with a cutie.

Taking that first step and reaching out to someone can sometimes be the hardest part, so if you get writer’s block when it’s time to make the first move, no worries. Here are some opening line ideas to help get you chatting.

1. Just so you know, I’m the total package: beauty, brains, and hella toilet paper.

2. Most important question ever: Team Joe Exotic or Team Carole Baskin?

3. Hey, you’re cute… wanna Netflix Party and chill?

4. Quick! What are your top three favorite things about being in quarantine? Go!

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5. I’m just looking for someone who enjoys sweatpants, Uber Eats, and taking long walks around the living room together.

6. If I said I wanted to quarantine together, would you hold it against me? And by it, I mean you.

7. You’re cute! I could see us getting SOCIAL in the not too DISTANT future.

8. What’s the best thing you’ve marathon-watched today?

9. I know we’re on lockdown, but I was hoping you’d want to open up to me.

10. Corny jokes are the quickest way to my heart. Tell me your best quarantine joke!

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11. It’s a good thing we’re in quarantine, because I don’t think I could stay six feet away from you otherwise.

12. I could definitely see myself practicing social ~closeness~ with you after all this.

13. What’ve you been doing to stay sane? I hit up this cutie on [insert whatever dating app you’re using here] and it’s definitely helping.

14. Hey! We should talk, because between you and me, it’s getting pretty boring having conversations with myself in here.

Get out there and start chatting — from a responsible social distance, of course.

 

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