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Dating; Online, COVID style and the “new normal”

This is not your grandmother’s dating scene.

Blended families are on the rise.

Throuples and poly relationships are a thing. Genders are fluid.

The dynamics of domestic partnerships have grown. So has the world we live in.

Exacerbated by the global pandemic that shut all of us inside. Presumably many of us singles - alone to boot.

Thus, the use of apps like Tinder, Bumble and Hinge grew ---- following official lockdown in Canada. Presumably this is because social interactions were limited by the closures, but not our desire to connect and partner up.

Mitigating the risk of infectious disease aside, I personally feel there are plenty of other benefits to the increase in app use.

The downside is there are plenty of fakes, creeps and ghosts out there to go around. It can be tiring. How can one withstand the ins and outs without deleting and re-downloading the same apps over and over again?

And now that the world is opening up again, how do we move to face-to-face interactions again and bear the social anxiety?

Psychological Safety Tips for Dating

  • Be upfront and authentic about your boundaries. Like any situation, we can only control our own actions and behaviours. Presenting our new potential companion with truthful expectations is the best chance at weeding out ill-fitting connections. Listening to this same information from them will help to estimate compatibility before investing too much time and emotional labour into beginning a relationship.

  • Move forward without attachment to the outcome. It comes so naturally for us to want to control the outcome of a situation. Of course it might not be possible to go without hope, but be mindful not to get swept away in wishful thinking. Take each new interaction one at a time.

  • Avoid seeking validation or easy thrills. A new match, follow or like provides an irresistible hit of dopamine. It feels great. Or does it?

Research shows that superficial validation from social media actually leads one to feel more lonely than before

when the endorphins fade. It may be helpful to turn off notifications or limit the frequency in which you check for updates to avoid getting hooked on the brief thrill.

  • Remember there is no need to seek unhealthy approval. If something doesn’t feel right, that is all the reason you need to sever a connection. This doesn’t mean you have to be unkind, but let go of the need to people-please or over-explain yourself to save face.

  • Embrace the “getting to know you” period. Everyone has a different level of comfort in terms of slowly reintegrating social meet-ups into their lives. Whether you’re still hesitant about COVID, or meeting new people has always made you nervous; take all the time you need. Using an app is a great way to spend more time chatting and building comfort being moving on to the next step. Just speak up about why!

  • Set up good habits from the beginning. Honesty ✔Communication ✔ Fidelity ✔ These are all easier to maintain than to reinstate. Be true to yourself and the vision of the type of relationship you are hoping to create. Feel free to excuse yourself from anyone who has difficulty aligning with these values.

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