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10 Things You Need to Know About Dating in a Post-COVID World

Morgan Mandriota
A young man and woman greet each other on a date with an elbow touch
Lockdowns, quarantine, and time spent alone have many folks craving intimacy and connection. But the dating game has changed, and it’s important to know how to go into future dates ready to go with safety and fun in mind.

We’ve learned a lot over the last year and a half about how to date better and be a better date. Here are our top 10 tips for dating in a post-COVID world. 

1. Start off virtually

I think we’re all sick of Zoom calls and FaceTime dates by now. But meeting dates virtually at first is still a safer way to connect with partners before meeting in person. It can also help you save time, money, and energy — and spare you from awkward dinner dates with people you may not actually be into.

2. Know what and who you’re looking for

We’ve had some time to reflect during quarantine, especially those who have been single or living alone. Maybe you’ve already figured out what your dream partner is like or what your dream relationship would be. If not, take some time to reflect and journal about what your intentions are and what you hope to achieve by putting yourself out there.

You can wing it and see what happens, of course. After all, “no expectations” isn’t a super common line in a bunch of people’s dating profile bios for no reason. But knowing who and what you really want from dating apps and dating, in general, can help bring you closer to achieving those goals. 

3. Discuss what type of date is best for you and your partner

When it comes to planning what to do on your date, keep in mind that some people may not feel ready to hang out inside or be in close quarters just yet.

You might want to ask if your date is fully vaccinated or if they have tested negative for COVID-19 recently so you can decide how to navigate dates in the safest way possible. This means planning indoor or outdoor dates and whether or not you two feel comfortable being physical just yet.

Everyone has a different comfort level, so what works for you may not work for someone else. That’s why it’s important to talk to your date about what type of plan you’re both comfortable with. The more comfortable you are on the date, the more fun you can have! 

4. Be kind

The pandemic wasn’t so nice to a lot of people. Practice empathy with your dates by going out of your way to be kind and show that you care about them. It may sound like a no-brainer, but caring is cool! And a little bit of kindness can go a long way. 

5. Ask genuine questions

Surface-level stuff is a thing of the past. Asking deeper questions can help you get to know your date better and figure out if you’re a mutual match.

Here are some ideas of what you can ask them:

  • What was the pandemic like for you?
  • How was work for you during the pandemic?
  • Did you spend your quarantine alone or with anyone?
  • What was it like dating for you during the pandemic?
  • Has the pandemic affected what you’re looking for in a relationship or partner at all?

6. Take things slow

You may want to settle down as soon as possible, especially if you’ve been single all this time, but patience is key.

Moving too fast and jumping headfirst into a new relationship can cause you to miss red flags or enter partnerships that may be otherwise unhealthy or toxic.

Remember there’s no rush! It’s nice to be excited about a potential partner, but going slow and steady is a great way to build trust, get to know your dates better, and analyze who might be really right for you in terms of chemistry and compatibility. So enjoy the process and let things unfold in time. 

7. Prioritize everyone’s health

Caring about your health and the health of others is important, now, after the pandemic, and always. This includes being conscious of COVID-19 and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Get tested and know your status, including COVID and STIs. If you haven’t been tested in a while, consider doing that beforehand so you can go into dates and relationships confident about how to best protect your partners. 

8. Be honest

Be honest with yourself and others throughout the dating process. Honor your feelings and openly communicate your wants and needs with your dates to avoid confusion and make sure you’re both on the same page.

Not into someone after a couple of dates? Instead of ghosting them, kindly let them know you’re not interested. Need some time before going on a second date? Set that boundary. Ready for date #3? Say it! 

9. Take care of yourself

Dating during or after a pandemic can bring on a mix of emotions. It can also be challenging to navigate. Be sure to take good care of yourself physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.

Practice self-care. Journal about how your dates went once you get home. Take time to process things. Whatever you do, remember to be kind to yourself and prioritize feeling good. It’s hard to feel good on dates if you’re feeling rough outside of them.

10. Don’t settle

I think we’ve all realized during this pandemic, in one way or another, that life is way too short to compromise on what truly makes us happy. So go after it, especially when it comes to your dating life.

Maybe you want a committed, monogamous relationship. Go for it. You’d rather practice ethical non-monogamy and build multiple relationships with many different partners? Awesome! Or perhaps a sugar arrangement sounds like it might be a smart move.

Bottom line 

No matter what type of relationship or partner you want, keep searching until you find the one(s) that feel great and are worth the wait. After waiting forever for the pandemic to ease up, now’s your time to get out there, have fun, and enjoy dating again.

Morgan Mandriota
Morgan Mandriota writes for top10.com and is also a freelance sex and wellness writer with bylines at Betches, Health.com, and BuzzFeed. Her insight has been quoted in Cosmopolitan, Tinder, The New York Times, and more. When Morgan isn't writing about orgasms, dating struggles, or CBD, she loves traveling, eating tacos, and training in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.