Love In The Time Of Quarantine

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10 Tips To Keep Your Dating Life Looking Up As You Hunker Down

Take it from a dating coach—looking for love can be challenging in the best of times. But right now, as much of America shelters (and shudders) in place, you’re probably more uncertain than ever about finding romance.

If hunkering down has your anxiety up, here’s a silver lining: there have never been more people on dating sites than at this very moment. Since social distancing began, the major dating apps have reported an increase in use, ranging from 10% to 25%. And last Sunday on The League, the number of daily video users hit an all-time high, quadrupling pre-pandemic numbers.

My point? Keep dating! Granted, you won’t be kissing any new crushes for a while, but you can use these 10 tips to beat loneliness, make connections, and even find your soulmate. Here’s your pandemic-dating playbook.

1) Have Faith In You

Yes, it seems the sky is falling faster than the stock market. In times of uncertainty, it’s easy to forget your greatest asset: you. Your awesome self. You’ve survived tough moments in the past. Maybe you lost your job and you picked yourself up and found a better one. Or you got sick,  fought hard, and recovered. Or, you were dumped and you healed. You’ve slayed monsters before.

The League is about creating power couples, but don’t forget—you’re a power single. At your core, you are more than any challenge you will ever face, including this one. To quote George Michael, “Ya gotta have faith, faith, faith-ah.” And that starts with having faith in you.

2) Don’t Date In Real Life

You may be tempted to meet someone new in person. Please don’t! For the time being, keep practicing social distancing. Sooner or later, you’ll be able to date and flirt and connect IRL. But for the sake of your health and the health of others, keep your distance for now. That said, you should definitely connect virtually. 

3) Make Virtual Connections

Now more than ever, we need other people—whether they’re friends or potential soulmates. Social isolation can lead to loneliness, higher stress levels, lowered self-esteem, and even depression. So use The League to meet new people and make friends, and also seek a virtual romance. Ask your crush out on a video date, or talk on the phone, or watch a Netflix movie “together.” (Hunker and chill.)

Romance can bloom—even in 2020. A few weeks back, my client Brett was about to have his first date with Lynn, who he matched with on The League. Then the pandemic hit, so they canceled their plans. But ever since, they’ve spent hours talking on the phone and on Facetime, and playing Words With Friends. They’re moving toward a strong, exclusive relationship. “We haven’t even met yet, but I’m crazy about her,” Brett told me. “Not being with her sucks, but we’re treating it like an extra-long session of foreplay.”

4) Do League Live

The coolest thing to happen to online-dating since swiping, League Live is now available twice a week: Sunday and Wednesday nights. It’s a lot like a virtual cocktail party, which will appeal to extroverts who miss being out singling and mingling.

5) On Dates, Don’t Dwell On The Virus

By all means, ask the other person if they and their loved ones are healthy. But when messaging on the app or having a video date, don’t dwell on the virus. First-date topics should be light, not that you need to totally ignore the Wooly Mammoth in the room. Feel free to talk about the Hulu shows you’re bingeing, the books you’re reading, or the cool tower of Ramen noodle boxes you’re building.

6) To Keep Your Crush Interested, Discuss The Future

If you fear that you’ll lose a great connection because you’re both in lock-down, talk about the things you’ll do together when you meet in real life—say, the wine bar you’ll visit, or the beach escape you’ll take together. “Future-pacing” your crush can keep you both excited about where your romance is going—keeping that flame kindled.

7) Perfect Your Profile

You must have a good profile to get matches and dates, so now’s the time to get it dialed in—rework your bio, swap in different photos, or take new shots (as long as your photographer stands at least six feet away.) With some tweaking and testing, your profile can get you matches and on-demand dates.

8) Hit ‘Em With Some Humor

Need a topical but funny opener on the app? Here are four to test-drive:

“My abs aren’t great, but I have a 6-pack of Charmin.”

“If you wanna shelter in place with me, I can mix a mean quarantini.”

“All the libraries are closed, so I’m checking you out instead.”

“You can’t spell ‘quarantine’ without U. R. A. QT.”

9) Join The (Ivy) League

If you’re part of The League, you likely value higher education. Now’s the perfect time to take one of the 500 free courses that the Ivy League is offering, with topics ranging from history to literature to biochemistry. The more you grow over these weeks and months, the more attractive you’ll be to your future soulmate. After the crisis ends, imagine how badass you’ll feel when you say to a real-world date, “How did I spend my quarantine? I studied Handel, Mozart, and 18th Century Opera at Harvard. How about you?” 

10) Seize The Date

As part of my own at-home self-improvement plan, I’m reading some classic novels that my younger, idiotic self blew off in school. I found this quote in Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms: “The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places.” You will get through this, and you will be stronger for it. You will be an even better catch. So keep calm, carry on, and ask out that attractive Leaguer. As we’re reminded daily, life is short. So carpe date ’em.

Connell Barrett is a dating coach for The League, an advisor for Ask Men, and the founder of DatingTransformation.com. Follow him on Instagram at @datingtransformation.

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