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The COVID-19 pandemic has radically changed our daily human interactions. To what degree have social distancing and restrictive measures affected our interpersonal communication, such as face-to-face interaction and dating?

Going through lockdowns has kept some couples apart, which resulted in miscommunication, lack of trust, and honesty. Having more time on your hands has led to spending more time online, as a way to kill boredom and loneliness. Single persons, on the other hand could gain more freedom to handle their social lives and romantic affairs, especially through growing use of online dating applications. Being home alone and in some cases without a job, has greatly increased the likelihood to search for love in these extraordinary times. However, you may not be aware of the underlying risks behind these online interactions.

Here are some tips to help you keep healthy dating relationships, even during a pandemic:

1) Be mindful of early sexual encounters

First conversations starters involving hook-ups and sleep-overs may not be ideal in getting to know each another. Sexual intimidation, especially through online dating apps and social media should not be tolerated. You may never know the other persons’ intentions through petty online conversations.

2) Keep track of your online time

Giving yourself flexibility to better manage your time spent with your online and offline interactions is essential in ensuring healthy relationships.  Even though social distancing may restrict keeping up with your face-to-face social and intimate relationships, you may still maintain your communication flowing through phone calls, videos, and outdoor encounters.  

3) Stay cautious of new online matches

As passionate as it may sound,  please do keep in mind that your online lovers are anonymous although they may be showering you with all the attention, they could be all pretending to have fallen in love with you. Nevertheless, by gaining a better understanding of their anonymity, you can place more value and focus on your offline interaction to keep your relationship healthy.

4) Be content

Luxury lifestyles, perfect bodies, and followers showed on social media, could not be depicting the real picture of your lovers’ or friends’ world. Giving them too much attention may bring out disappointment and discontentment. Thus, appreciating your valuables, while avoiding comparisons with others will keep your feet on the ground and make you happier in the long run.  

5) Set healthy boundaries

Although you may have a choice over which social media platform to use for some fun, you may easily get carried away with intimacy during online conversations. It is much more challenging to acknowledge characteristics of a healthy relationship, like honesty, respect, trust, and commitment when building relationships online. Hence, setting healthy boundaries would protect your personal space and values.

Marlene is a Trainee Gestalt Psychotherapist with Willingness. She has experience working in the mental health field, particularly with issues of anxiety, depression, loss, challenging relationships and major life transitions.

References

Brock, M. C., Arsenault, A. M., Brown, S. A., Miner, J. T., & Sholey, E. M. (2021). Dating During COVID-19: Initiating and Negotiating Romantic Relationships.

Chisom, O. B. (2021). Effects of Modern Dating Applications on Healthy Offline Intimate Relationships during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Review of the Tinder Dating Application. Advances in Journalism and Communication9(01), 12.

Huff, C. (2020). How to date in a distanced world. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org /topics/covid-19/date-distanced-world.