If there is one consistent theme in the talks I am having with my clients is that their dating anxiety has been ramped up to HIGH during this period of coronavirus and social distancing.
Dating is hard enough. Dating at a distance takes it to a whole different level.
Let me explain why.
#1 – How do you follow your gut?
In my experience, I have found that one of the most difficult things about online dating is that, until you actually come face to face with someone, it’s hard to really know how you feel about them.
When I was dating, before I knew better, I would spend weeks talking to someone I connected with online. And, as time went on, I found myself become attached to them. And then, when I met them, the attraction just wasn’t there.
I hated that. I had really liked this person before we talked and, for whatever reason, once we met, I just didn’t feel it.
That is the theme around dating right now. Unless you met your person before this all started, you don’t really know them and can’t go with your gut.
On the other hand, I have a client who went on one date with a guy right before the lockdown. They really liked each other but haven’t seen each other since because of the social distancing. As a result, she is starting to question whether she did really like him. She still talks to him but without the face to face she is having a hard time connecting the way she did initially.
#2 – It’s all weird.
No matter if you are 25 or 55, you have most likely been on a date before. It usually includes meeting up for a drink or a dinner, small talk, perhaps a walk, or a movie. If things go well, you make plans to do it again. And, hopefully, again.
These days, dating has been turned on its head. The things that we have always done we can’t do anymore. As a result, the actual process of dating has become uncomfortable. As if dating wasn’t difficult enough.
Not only do we need to deal with getting to know someone but we also need to create new ways of doing so. Facetime movies and drinks, walks in the part 6 feet apart, maybe binge watching a show together. And, the hardest of all, trying to find something to talk about that’s not the coronavirus.
So, if your dating anxiety is high, the uncomfortableness of the new normal of dating could be why.
#3 – Hopelessness.
A client of mine is talking to a number of guys, none of whom she has met yet. And while talking to them helps pass the time, she often says to me ‘what’s the point?’
For many of us right now, we just don’t know what the future looks like. We don’t know when and how this craziness will end and, if it does, what life afterwards will look like. Will we have jobs, money, our health, our families and friends? We just don’t know.
That not knowing what the future looks like makes it really hard to imagine having a future with someone. How can you picture and work towards happily ever after with someone if you don’t know if there is even going to be an ever after?
For many people, hopelessness in life and love equals dating anxiety. It’s even worse right now.
#4 – Emotions are running high.
For one of my clients, she said the biggest challenge for her is to ‘contain the crazy.’ I love that phrase.
We are all, to some degree or another, very emotional. When we first start dating we try to contain that emotion somewhat so that we don’t scare our person away. I am not saying we aren’t ourselves but that we do try to not let our emotions get the best of us.
In this day and age, all of our emotions are running high. With the news and the lack of social interaction, the boredom and the monotony, many people are living on the edge of insanity. When we are dating, the edge of insanity is not a good place to be.
For one of my clients, a man she had just started talking with is normally a clinically depressed person. He has been treated for it and generally has it under control. Right now, however, he is really depressed and is having a very difficult time managing it. My client feels badly but she knows that she doesn’t want to be in a relationship with this guy the way he is.
In regular times, this man’s depression might not have reared its ugly head so quickly and so dramatically and my client might have gotten to know him and love him and understand that depression is just part of who he is.
#5 – Looking for commitment.
One of the most interesting things that I am seeing happening right now is that many people who are newly dating are looking for a commitment unnaturally early.
For those people who are social distancing alone, not having a partner can be especially painful. The idea that everyone else is out there quarantining with their person while they are alone, alone, alone is just too much. As a result, they seek to create a committed relationship out of something that isn’t there yet.
I have a client who has been talking to a guy for about a month. They talk on the phone daily and they have sat at least 6 feet from each other 3 times but that is it. They haven’t touched, they haven’t gone out in public, they haven’t met each other’s friends.
This morning, this guy asked my client if she would go off the dating apps, that he wants them to be in a committed relationship and that she needs to stop talking to her old boyfriend. She said ‘Wait, what?’
In the normal world, this whole scenario most likely would never have happened.
The human need to be coupled up is a significant one and especially during these difficult times. That need to connect is a big reason why dating anxiety is so prevalent and so extreme right now.
Dating is hard and dating anxiety has always a part of it but, because of coronavirus and social distancing, that anxiety is going through the roof for many people.
The new normal of dating and not knowing the future is so uncomfortable, it’s hard to follow your gut, to control emotions that are running high and manage the politics of being single make what has always been a thing fraught with stuff, something even harder.
I know that it’s hard but I would encourage you to take stock of what I have said and persevere nonetheless. This WILL be over someday and when it is, wouldn’t it be nice to find love again for the summer?
You can do it!