Dear Barb—Dating Despite Disease

Dear Barb:

My boyfriend and I have been dating for two years.  Our relationship was beginning to fall apart before the pandemic, and we were considering breaking up.  We are not happy and don’t get along well, but we are both reluctant to break up because of COVID-19.   How would we meet someone new?  Neither of us wants to be alone, so we are staying together so we will have someone to spend time with socially and intimately.  But I am finding it more and more difficult to spend time with Jeff, since we end up arguing most of the time.  Would I be better off if I just ended the relationship?  Is it possible to safely meet and hook up during the pandemic, or will I have to be alone until it is over?  Looking for some advice.  Thanks, Penny. 

Hey Penny:

It’s not a good idea to remain in a relationship because you don’t want to be alone, that will cause you to settle for all kinds of behaviours that you wouldn’t normally settle for.

No doubt dating during the pandemic is a unique experience, but it is possible to do.  Everlywell, a company that manufactures COVID-19 tests, plus many other at- home tests, discovered that one in four Americans between the ages of 20-30, broke quarantine measures to have sexual contact while the quarantine orders were at their height.  Certainly, this is not a healthy thing to do.

Some dating apps are helping with this awkward situation, some allow you to put a badge on your profile, stating what kind of meetings you are happy with:  virtually, social distanced – with or without a mask.  Some applicants choose to put their COVID-19 test results on their profile.  So there are definitely some options depending on your level of comfort.

Also there are ways to keep the early dates safe.  For example, keep the meetings outdoors, where the risk of transmitting the virus is lower and wear a mask, and socially distance.  Picnics and BBQ’s are safer bets than going into a restaurant, although outdoor patios are an option.  During the winter months you can still go for walks, snowshoeing or cross-country skiing, as long as you are dressed properly, considering the cold winter we are enduring.  These are all safe ways to get to know each other.  If you choose to take the relationship to the next level, you can both get tested for COVID-19.  It’s actually a good idea to be tested regularly, unless you both have fairly limited interactions with people that you know are safe.  So it is possible to meet people and connect during the pandemic while still staying safe, as long as you make sure protocols are followed.  It is not necessary to remain in a relationship that you both are not happy with, you can move on.  Thanks for your letter Penny.

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