These are strange times for romance and dating. As face-to-face interactions halted, many single men and women are facing difficulties with finding their perfect match. The Coronavirus crisis has forced us to look for alternative ways of finding a relationship.

Given the fact that places of entertainment are expected to stay closed for many more weeks or months, people now struggle with dating-related technicalities – What can you do when you can’t go on a date to a bar or a restaurant? Where do you meet when movies are not an option and all shows had been canceled? Even visiting a fortune teller on your first date to check whether there is a reason for a second date is not an option anymore (yes, people really do it).

Dating During Coronavirus

The New Dating World

Where there is a will, there is a way. In recent weeks, the dating world has rapidly changed to accommodate this new reality. The use of dating apps is growing, people are more active on social media, and virtual dates became a thing.

Yes, many people have resorted to virtual dating as an alternative to the “classic” old-fashioned date. Although it might seem to be a compromise, the truth is that virtual dating has advantages that make it an excellent option for many.

More Intimacy

Virtual dating can result in more intimacy. While most people associate it with physical contact, intimacy does not have to involve sexual activities or physical touch for it to grow.

Classic dates are full of distractions – the food, the scenery, the music, the alcohol, and the friends you happen to run into. Such things could indeed make a date more interesting, but in many cases, people use them as an escape to avoid the awkwardness that sometimes happens when two strangers meet each other for the first time.

In virtual dating, interaction is the main thing. The focus is on getting to know the other side. In such situations, experiential intimacy can develop. It gives you the opportunity to get to know each other on a deeper level – interests, things you love, fears, experiences, and more.

Less Pressure and More Flow

Classic dating is not always simple. The dilemmas encountered, especially on the first date, can be complex.

Where will we go? A movie is nice, but you cannot talk to each other. A restaurant is romantic, but what if something gets stuck in your teeth? A bar is fun, but where can you find a bar that is both quiet enough, noisy enough, empty enough, and busy enough to have that perfect date? Does he come to pick you up or do you meet there? Should he insist on paying or should she offer to share? And the biggest dilemma of them all – what about the kiss at the end of the date?

In virtual dating, this complexity does not exist. No need to pick up anyone from their home. No need to offer to share the bill. No need to try leaning in for a kiss and then discovering that you are not reading the signs correctly. You do not even have to decide what to wear (at least not on the bottom half of your body).

It’s just two people, each sitting in their most comfortable place (home), talking. Very simple and real.

And, even if you find that the date is not progressing well and that it is not exactly what you were expecting, you can end it quickly and easily. Tell the other side that it was nice and that is not exactly what you are looking for. That is it. One-click away.

No Need for a Second Date

In fact, the whole concept of “counting dates” becomes irrelevant. Virtual dates can occur much more frequently than classic dates. Especially since virtual dating is an event that requires much less effort in comparison to traditional dating.

You can talk for a few minutes in the morning and decide to have lunch “together” in a few hours. And if in the middle of the “date,” you suddenly need to do something else (like going for a walk with the dog that is looking at you expectantly, with its eyes, saying – it’s either now or I pee in the house), then there is no problem unplugging and “dating” again later.

A New Experience

I often meet single men and women who gave up on classic dating. They feel as though it is not for them. This can happen, for example, to people who have been disappointed too many times when the other party announced that they are not interested, or to those who feel they are not successful with showing their real self on a date. It is also common for more mature people who want to start a (new) relationship and do not feel comfortable (and sometimes embarrassed) going through all the hurdles of dating yet again.

Virtual dating creates a new, much lighter, and more comfortable experience for many. It can provide people who gave up on dating with a chance for a huge comeback.

Virtual Dating Ideas

Some people think that a virtual date must look like two people “interviewing” each other via video chat. But this is far from being true. Virtual dating brings a lot of room for creativity.

Here are some examples of how to spice things up.

  • The romantic date – Both sides wear date night outfits (top to bottom – yes, including shoes), bring a glass of wine, dim the lights, and create a pleasant atmosphere.

  • Watching a show – You decide on a show (something on TV or a movie) and you watch it at the same time while the video chat is open. This will give you a chance to share the experience (laugh together, be scared together – based on whatever you’re watching), and talk about whatever comes to mind.

  • The home tour – When you feel comfortable enough, you can take your partner on a virtual tour of your home. Spend time in each room. Show your favorite spots in the house, talk about funny things that happened in different places, present your favorite items in the house, like your favorite morning coffee mug, for example.

  • Sharing memories and moments – Choose interesting or funny photos (from your phone or social media) and share them with each other. Then, tell the story behind them.

  • For adventurous only – Try to prepare a fancy dinner together. Both of you should make the same dish, and go through the same process together.

Love in the Times of Corona

Although the coronavirus forces us to keep a distance, it does not mean that we cannot be close.

In these times, when we need to adapt to a new reality, we should not be afraid of virtual dating. We should embrace its benefits. You would be surprised at how close you can get to a person, and how strong the connection can be, without meeting them face-to-face.

Sometimes, keeping a physical distance can, in fact, result in people forming even stronger bonds. Not only that, but once the crisis is over, you and your partner will have fond memories of what you had to go through to maintain the relationship.

’’Hardship brings people closer together if you share it.’’
– John Wooden.

Shirli Grayfner is an Israeli personal and couples consultant. Her expertise includes helping people resolve and overcome personal challenges, barriers in communication, relationship struggles, dating difficulties, insecurities, lack of self-esteem, lack of self-love, and more.

Additionally, Shirli is a certified lawyer (LL.B) who graduated with honors. She also completed her studies in the master’s program at the Bar Ilan University. Shirli is invited to give lectures on various topics including achieving goals, tackling personal challenges and building a winning relationship.

www.grayfner.com