WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 2ND, 2020

With no end to the pandemic in sight, students are reconsidering waiting for the virus to end before putting themselves into the dating world again. Until that time, here are some ways to prepare for dating during the challenging COVID period.

Start with a virtual date

A virtual date is a great way to commence a relationship during quarantine. Through virtual dates, there is no physical contact, and you and your partner can stay safe.

Activities include watching Netflix, playing online games or ordering food from the same place and eating together. For senior Georgia Byer, the difficulty of dating during quarantine is compounded by the fact that her boyfriend lives out of state.

“You don’t get to see each other when you really want to,” Byer said.

However senior Elif Turgut said things don’t seem so bad.

“I think COVID is allowing us to see each other a lot more than we normally would have been able to,” Turgut said. “We actually have gotten TikTok famous with over 60k followers, which I don’t think would have happened if Corona didn’t happen.”

Transition to in-person outdoor dates

Before proceeding to in-person outdoor dates, have a COVID talk with your partner.

Decide on social distancing and mask-wearing protocols and how strictly you want to adhere to social distancing guidelines when together. Only after everyone is comfortable with the rules should the date begin.

Once you’ve decided on rules, keep your partner accountable for following them. Mental Health and Wellness Coordinator Elizabeth Spector said, “Each family has a different level of comfort with engaging with others outside of the home, so talk openly with your family and your partner’s family about what they are comfortable with.”

Physical contact with your partner

Before moving on to this next step, remember that communication is key. In addition to consent, which should be communicated no matter the circumstances, you and your partner should talk about how to prepare as this step is much riskier and dangerous due to the risk of catching the coronavirus.

Couples like Turgut and her girlfriend Annika Diekgers say they had taken precautions and got COVID tested before meeting. They also set up rules to follow.

“We usually talk about what we are planning to do, and while we are talking, we say whether or not we are comfortable with one of us seeing lots of people or increasing our risk for getting COVID,”  Turgut said.

Advice for couples 

“I really, really, emphasize the importance of openly communicating with your partner about your social life. Please do not hide anything because that puts both you and your partner at risk,” Turgut said.

Spector agrees.

She said, “It’s important that both partners have the same level of investment and commitment and are able to openly communicate their wants and needs. Communication is key to making relationships work.”

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