Dear Zaria: What's a good way to go about dating, at a time like this?
Very curious about navigating dating during such a time of social distancing and apprehension in social spaces~
I've been avoiding answering this question (I say this with love). Only because the topic of dating, itself, is sure to prompt certain strong feelings in anyone (me), depending on your life experiences. But Valentine's Day is in exactly 4 days, so we're right on time.
Dating can be...awkward. Add in the anxieties associated with social distancing and in a time of social apprehension, and that can make things even more uncomfortable.
But, it's helpful to remember that the main purpose of dating is to simply connect with someone else. Even if you determine you're not compatible, you can still appreciate the moment for what it was — time spent with another person.
Practicing this sort of detachment, especially when you're meeting new people, can help remove some of the added pressure on the interaction and help diffuse some of the feelings of anxiety.
It also helps alleviate some of the awarkdness — which is normal when two people are forced to stand father apart than they were hoping/expecting — that tends to naturally accumulate in the air between two people who don't know one another very well yet.
Understanding your needs
I also think its helpful to take stock of your own needs when it comes to dating.
Asking questions, like:
- Am I ready to begin dating?
- What social distancing rules do I need to consider in order to feel comfortable interacting with someone else in person?
- Do I have the necessary tools to regulate my nervous system, should a trigger present itself while dating?
- Are any of the anxieties or fears I feel concerning dating able to be shared with the person I'm interested in? Are they able to support me through these feelings?
Your answers to these questions will help you draw and set clear boundaries. This will make your dating process much easier.
Thinking through the role of the environment
I also think, since this is a climate newsletter (😝), that there are ways to incorporate climate change into your approach to dating, as well.
My questions to you, the reader, would be:
- How important is climate change to you?
- Is climate change a topic you'd want to discuss frequently in your relationship?
- Do you prefer that your partner is well-versed in climate change and incorporated sustaianable behaviors into their life?
By being honest about what you need to feel comfortable (and encouraged) while dating, you can begin to attract the most positive experiences and people.
Dating is meant to be fun, and a way to learn more about yourself, others and what traits you'd like to see from your future relationship.
Take note of these things that present as challenges while dating, but don't let them stop you from enjoying yourself.
Good luck :)