How To Date And Connect Despite Coronavirus Shutdowns And Quarantine

A smiling mature woman sitting on the grass and looking at her laptop

One day into this crisis, I named 5 reasons the coronavirus might be good for your love life. Now it looks like other people are catching on. Time Magazine reports how people who depended on apps, texting and quick meetups are now out of business:

“These digital natives, who through online apps have enjoyed a freedom to manage their social lives and romantic entanglements that previous generations lacked—swiping left or right, ghosting a bore, scheduling a late-night hookup—now find themselves unable to exercise that independence.” 

Yup. And while no one will argue that a global pandemic is a good thing, it seems obvious that this is a silver lining. People are actually being forced to slow down and connect.

“Home, alone and in some cases without a job, single people are spending more time swiping right on dating apps to find love…The use of in-app video chatting on Bumble, a feature many users didn’t even know existed before the coronavirus spread, increased 93% across the country…with in-app calls and video chats averaging 29 minutes. Hinge, similarly, saw a 30% increase in messaging on the app in March, compared to February, and has responded by launching an in-app “date from home” feature that, if both users agree, launches a video chat or phone call.”

Yup. The phone is in. The same ancient device that dominated my youth and got me hundreds of mocking comments on my TedX talk.

People LIKE to connect beyond texting.

Turns out, when our hands our forced, people LIKE to connect beyond texting. Even Helen Fisher, noted brain chemistry expert whose work I teach in Love U, has come around to my way of thinking.

“Fisher used to offer one cardinal piece of advice to people on dating apps: Meet the person as soon as possible. And yet, in the age of COVID-19, she has become surprisingly bullish on dating at a distance. “Everybody thinks this is a bad time for dating. I think this is an extremely good time for dating,” she says. “Sex is off the table, so you actually have to sit down and really get to know someone. Because the most important thing to look for in a partner is having a good conversation.”

Okay, Fisher is still not correct about that. Good conversation doesn’t equal a good husband, not by a long-shot. But given the limitations imposed by this crisis, I think it’s clear that slowing down and evaluating men on your connection and their follow through efforts is a far more effective screening mechanism than texting, meeting, hooking up and keeping your fingers crossed.

Your thoughts, below, are greatly appreciated.

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  1. 1

    I wish this was true, but not in my experience. I live in NYC, the single most infected city on the planet, and guys are still trying for a quick hookup. I had a few video chats with a promising guy, before he proposed that I pick him up (because I have a car and he doesn’t), bring him back to my place (because I live alone and he doesn’t) have sex and then bring him home. It would be comical if it wasn’t sad. And, at this point, actually dangerous.

    1. 1.1
      Emily, to

      “I had a few video chats with a promising guy, before he proposed that I pick him up (because I have a car and he doesn’t), bring him back to my place (because I live alone and he doesn’t) have sex and then bring him home.”
      I wonder if any woman has said yes to that offer. I was watching something online and a woman was talking about how, before date 3, the guy texted her that they would next have a “sleepover.”. Both of these guys’ attempts are so clunky. I guess on the plus side you know exactly what the deal is.

    2. 1.2

      That would’ve been dangerous anyway, hon. But I get what you’re saying.

    3. 1.3
      Mrs Happy

      I find the strong male urge to reproduce, even at the cost of life, fascinating. What a strong sexual desire these people have that it trumps safety. I feel as though I’m observing an alien life form, it’s so opposite to my priorities.

      1. 1.3.1
        Emily, to

        Mrs. Happy,
        “I find the strong male urge to reproduce, even at the cost of life, fascinating.”
        Do you think that’s it or are there some guys who don’t know how to make a proper pass without it sounding icky, quarantine or no? I had one out-of-town former co-worker years ago call me up out of the blue. He was at a bar and asked me to pick him up, take him back to my place and then drive him to the train station. When I said no, he showed up where I worked but ignored me. I guess seeing him was supposed to prompt me into action ? 🙂

        1. Mrs Happy

          You’re probably correct in that there are men somewhere who are so clueless or aggressive in their moves they make the woman feel icky, but I’ve never interacted with such a man, and I was a non-stop flirt and without-a-break serial monogamist in my younger days who encountered a lot of men and a lot of moves. I mostly encountered slightly shy men who were either not sure exactly when to make a move, but who mostly did before too long (with a few exceptions), or guys who were just of normal average or above ability to read the situation and make a non-icky move. I was very attracted to men smooth and wise at women moves, which is one reason I dated older men (in their 40’s or 30’s while I was in my 20’s); to paraphrase a favourite author, not for nothing had they lived 10+ years more than their rivals.

          I know the media is full of these near-violent selfish forceful men stories, but I’ve not seen that in real life. I probably intentionally avoided situations where I’d be exposed to such though.

          I just think Lara’s NYC man was horny and wanted sex, and was suggesting a way he could obtain that, perhaps not appreciating that may not be Lara’s preference at the moment. It reminded me of World War 1 young soldiers quickly visiting the brothel while on leave, before racing to their deaths from the trenches. Sort of a last hurrah attempt to get their genetic material out there before they die at 18. If Lara’s man might die (and he might, given NYC now) his clunky suggestion to Lara has a biological urge feeling about it.

        2. Emily, to

          Mrs. H,
          “You’re probably correct in that there are men somewhere who are so clueless or aggressive in their moves they make the woman feel icky, but I’ve never interacted with such a man … ”
          I laughed out loud when I read that. Not at you but with you. Where must she live and can I move there? 🙂 The thing is, I probably would have “driven that guy to the train station” if he had only made the most minimal effort. He called me at the last minute. I didn’t even know he was in town. He couldn’t give me a day or two notice? And he didn’t invite me TO the bar. He invited me to pick him up AT the bar! I could hear him talking with other people in the background! 🙂 So I’m just supposed to drive over there and service him I guess. I’m laughing at it now. It’s so bad.
          “I know the media is full of these near-violent selfish forceful men stories, but I’ve not seen that in real life.”
          I don’t know what you mean by near-violence.
          “I just think Lara’s NYC man was horny and wanted sex …It reminded me of World War 1 young soldiers … ”
          That’s almost Hemingway-esque. 🙂 But those soldiers had the good sense to go somewhere where a proper pass wasn’t expected.

  2. 2

    People can make valuable use of the time we are in because it provides a built in filter to get rid of guys like the one Lara described. If the guy is still pushing to hook up even now, or doesn’t seem to have the patience for a series of phone dates that can’t lead to getting physical anytime soon, that does the valuable screening work for you. It means you find out the basics of his character very quickly.

    A keeper wants to get to know you, and doesn’t mind if he can’t meet instantly (though many weeks of speaking without a physical meeting would be a red flag if not for Covid-19). My husband was traveling at the time we matched online, but he was happy to talk to me virtually until he got back to our city – the delay helped me to be sure he was genuinely interested and showed me he is patient and willing to persevere.

  3. 3

    Hi Evan!
    Agreed about the silver lining. Totally concur with the benefits of slowing down & getting to know each other without sex. In fac, I was putting that advice to the test, even before the pandemic, with success! I met a few great guys, and it finally clicked with a truly kindhearted and giving one! The only thing is…that started in March. We had enough time together to establish that the chemistry is there, but since mid March we’ve had to limit our interactions to outdoor walks (neither of us lives alone & he works an essential service job). The courting period is usually a matter of a few months (with kissing allowed!) But we live in a major hotspot that may well continue to be risky for an additional 3-6 months. We are really trying to be creative, but I am not sure how we can properly develop the relationship without more extensive interactions (I don’t just mean sex – not getting to know each other’s families and friends is stifling too!)

  4. 4

    Hi Lara- I can totally relate… In nyc too and there are men still trying for a quick hookup.
    But despite that, there are many men that just want to text. Do not call or video chat… for weeks on end. I try to suggest calling or video but they either refuse to video say they would rather meet in person or if I suggest a chat over phone they ignore it..

    Its totally frustrating and makes me want to literally give up…

    1. 4.1

      Men just aren’t made for dating via technology, it’s too hard to keep up with all the calling and video chat is even worse, you actually have to be looking at the screen for the entire conversation!
      Ya gotta keep in mind, this isnt something that was excepted of men for thousands of years or that they choose to have as a part of dating and courtship, so if they’re not meeting wants in this regard they can’t be held to blame for that in any way. After all the expectation of that behaviour was put upon them, they didn’t choose it.

      Men are just more inclined to face to face stuff (Maybe in the past long letter writing without a need for constant follow up was in their skill set too), not tech driven dating which facilitates constant and unexpected communication. It’s not their fault.

      1. 4.1.1

        Sadly for these men they may find when shelter in place is lifted that women are already paired up with those men who did step up to accept new ways of connecting during the pandemic. Then what BBQ? You’ll bitch more about how unfair it is that women won’t give a chance to the guys like who never got with the program of pandemic dating?

        1. Bbq


          It may be that plenty of women will step up and accept the men’s ways of doing (or not doing) those things. They often do – after all, mature people of both sexes can realise relationships shouldn’t be a one way street where only one sides wants and needs are catered to.

        2. mr_b

          Women will go after the best men they can find once they get tired of the guys that are good at entertaining them digitally.

          Texting is a just a game that makes women feel desired.

          Women prefer different types of men based on their hormonal cycle.

          Biology rules.

        3. Bbq


          Gee thanks for laying down the facts brother!
          Your insight into women is awe-inspiring! Please tell me, where can one learn such original ideas?!

  5. 5

    One good thing about the pandemic is that it shows you how a potential partner deals with inconvenience and even hardship. Not a bad thing.

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