The Blessing of Dating During the Coronavirus
It didn’t start out this way.
A couple months ago, I decided to get back on the dating bandwagon and put myself out there again. I swiped through three different apps. One worked better than others for a time. Then another seemed to outdo the rest. Matches actually begun to pick up this time for some reason. Aside from the men who couldn’t seem to take the conversation offline and the men who just wanted to take me to bed, the web did, in fact, had decent men to whom I intellectually connected.
That’s when the virus hit.
All of a sudden, even when he did asked me out, I was forced to to apologize and postpone our dates. Since I lived with parents in their 70’s, I needed to take extreme precautions earlier than most. So despite how much I wanted to meet him in real life, I didn’t want to take the risk of carrying the virus home.
I stopped swiping for new matches. It’s always good to take a break anyway.
That was when I realized that this virus had actually opened a door not seen in modern times.
The coronavirus simulated what a long-distance relationship would be like between two people.
Out of all the men I was already chatting with online, one was able to defeat the false social implications brought by the virus and distinguished himself from the other guys.
Most of us opt for matches who live close by. About 25 miles away, I want to say.
We like the convenience of being close enough to meet each other face-to-face, roam around town together, or paddle in a tandem kayak stroke-by-stroke.
Short-distance relationships allow us to observe the other’s nervous sweat upon meeting. It allows us to flirt through body language without saying a word. It allows us to feel physical chemistry with our interest.
Yet, as countless relationship experts have emphasized, being far apart is more telling of how good a relationship is than being close together.
I didn’t want to believe this notion. The last two guys I dated treated me so well. This couldn’t be true.
Well, it took me three years to figure out how wrong I was.
The two relationships both started great. We went on frequent dates. We laughed. We expressed affection.
At least in the beginning. At least when we were physically together.
It was the other times when we were apart that nearly gave me a nervous breakdown.
Waiting for texts that took him four days to send.
Not checking on me when I caught a cold.
Ghosting me during Christmas.
Every time, both would come back to me. And every time, both would continue giving me mixed signs.
Both acted like my dream boyfriends when we were together. Then both dismissed me with sporadic communication when we were separated.
Both men made what should have been short-distance relationships felt like long-distance ones.
Thankfully, I eventually snapped out of the fantasy and kicked both to the curb when I finally realized one was emotionally abusive and the other betrayed me.
Eight months would pass before I became brave enough to try again.
Who knew the coronavirus would intrude our lives at the exact same moment.
Out of the blue, my serious intent to hit the ground running mutated into playing the field.
My queen-bee friend just wanted me to practice flirting…with any man. I clicked “yes” to any man who were in my age range and who had a decent thumbnail photo. More men than I usually accept.
And boy, did I.
For the first time in my online dating history, I established conversation threads with more than a handful of men who sent the first message.
I skipped those who initiated with “Hey”.
I abandoned those who just wanted to take me to bed.
I lost interest in those who faded.
Those events usually occur anyway.
What I didn’t expect from these isolating times is how the coronavirus filtered decent men even further.
Because I couldn’t afford to be careless with the virus, I soon noticed men who joked about the pandemic. Men who panicked. Men who did not respect my decision to wait out the storm before meeting them for drinks. And men who did.
Then he showed up.
His pictures could be better, and his profile could use some work.
But he was respectful. He was funny. He was curious.
He was willing to learn.
And he was understanding of my situation.
Unlike the previous two guys I dated, he made what should mimicked a long-distance relationship feel like a short-distance one.
He showed up when I was up. He stuck around when I was down.
He gave me self-love time when I needed it. He answered when I was done.
We already had our first virtual date and took our first online dancing class together without so much as a complaint. He even suggested we rewatch the class together.
Yes, we needed to slow down. Heck, the health authorities still needed to give us our cue to have our first offline date.
But the coronavirus did not crush our chances of finding companionship. We do.
So change that.
Use the virus to pinpoint the person who can express love from ten thousand miles like it’s coming from two feet away.
And that is COVID-19’s gift.