It takes time to heal and recover from a divorce. In fact, there’s no set amount of time that determines when you’ll be ready to date again. But even if you’re ready, the pandemic has made it difficult, if not impossible, to connect with other singles. Even now that vaccinations are becoming readily available, you may not feel comfortable about dating until we’re closer to herd immunity. While dating during a pandemic certainly has its challenges, there are ways to put yourself out there while protecting your health and the health of those you love.
- Leverage technology. Much of the recent shift to virtual working and learning has been a direct response to the pandemic, but online dating has been rising in popularity since well before 2020. In fact, nearly a third of U.S. adults said they have used a dating site or app, according to a 2019 Pew Research Center survey. Meeting singles from your computer or cell phone, in the comfort of your own home, eliminates the exposure risk that comes with social gatherings and blind dates. If you’re completely new to online dating, check out DatingAdvice.com article for top dating sites for divorced people. This allows you to take your time and ask questions to really get to know somebody before deciding to meet in person. You’ll be able to better gauge if the other person is a good match for you and if he or she is taking the necessary precautions to allow for meeting in person.
- Set the ground rules. If you decide to take the next step and meet face-to-face, both parties should agree on health and safety measures. This will eliminate the awkwardness of figuring it out as you go. Start simple with a safe meeting place, whether it’s outdoors or somewhere that adheres to the appropriate spacing and cleaning procedures. From there, discuss face coverings and social distancing to determine what you’re both comfortable with. Everybody has a unique situation and risk level, so it’s important to discuss the details.
- Be open and honest. As the relationship gets more serious, it’s important to be transparent. If you’re regularly seeing each other in person, be open and honest about your health and the health of others in your life. To work properly, this communication must be two-way and consistent. This might seem like a lot to take on in the early stages of a relationship, but it will help keep you both healthy. It also goes a long way toward building trust and respect.
If you’re ready to date, don’t throw in the towel because of the current circumstances and obstacles. Safety is obviously important, but so is human connection. If you’re having trouble moving on from your divorce, or you’re struggling with feelings of isolation and loneliness, don’t hesitate to reach out to your loved ones or a professional for help.
David Lowenstein, Ph.D. is a psychologist and the clinical director of Lowenstein & Associates, Inc. in Columbus, Ohio. In addition to providing therapeutic services to individuals and families, he offers training and consultation to numerous associations, schools and agencies around the country. Additionally, he is a frequent radio and TV guest and a resource and contributing writer for numerous newspapers and magazines nationwide. Contact Dr. David Lowenstein at 691 South Fifth Street, Columbus, Ohio, 43206, or call 614.443.6155 or 614.444.0432.