How to date during Coronavirus pandemic, social distancing

How to date during social distancing
Posted at 10:52 AM, May 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-08 10:52:50-04

If you are social distancing during the Coronavirus pandemic alone, you're not alone. Data shows 51 percent of people in Florida are single.

"I am quarantining alone," Allison Leonard of Charlotte County said. "There's been a lot of Netflix. I've read like five books. But I've spent a lot of time on my phone."

When asked if she's used any dating apps during the pandemic, she said she's used Hinge.

"For the last couple of weeks, just kind of trying to talk with people and engage with people," she said.

"It's a very human thing that we want to do, is that connection,” Relationship Expert & Therapist Alicia Allen said.

She said if you're trying to be social during this time of social distancing, in addition to dating apps, there's always social media.

"There are also Facebook groups that are popping up, things like that. So really utilize social media," Allen said.

Fox 4's Lisa Greenberg found two groups on Facebook when she searched: "SWFL Singles" and "SWFl Mingling Singles." If you're afraid of meeting someone online, Allen said there are some perks to having your first date over a computer screen instead of at a coffee shop or bar. Allen said by chatting on video chats, you can get to know someone on a deeper level.

"When you get to know someone, especially under this kind of situation, you're getting to see how they deal with stress and a stressful situation," she said. "We'll do the video chat, but you know what, I'm not going to put on a full makeup or get out my best outfit, right? It's more authentic.

Allen said with dating this way, a lot of the pressures are off, including the pressure to be physical too quickly.

"I enjoy that it’s more talking and getting to know each other. There’s not a lot of pressure for anything else," Leonard said.

If you're dead set on meeting someone the old-fashioned way -- in person -- Allen has some advice.

"My mind goes immediately to the old school courting system, right? So it's really about connecting with a person from a distance. Making eye contact, being aware of your facial expressions, that you are communicating, 'Hey, you know what, I'm open to meeting you," she said.

Leonard said she's seen people taking advantage of "social distancing dates."

"When we were walking past this huge grassy area, people had huge picnic blankets set up, and they were having quarantine dates six feet apart,” she said.

No matter how you decide to move forward with your love life, Allen has some tips:
1. Don't lose sight of your expectations, goals, or values
2. Be honest with yourself and any potential partners
3. Keep an eye on depression, loneliness, or anxiety during this period of quarantine
4. Remember: this is only temporary.

"Human connection is really important. This isn't a substitution. This is a wonderful, good enough solution for right now," Allen said.

She also said she's seeing a lot of her single clients rekindle an old flame with an ex.

If you're feeling lonely depressed, Allen said to use this time to connect with loved ones through social media or video chat.