Your Biggest Relationship & Dating Questions During COVID, Answered

“You do not need to take this year off from dating.”

By Kelly Krause
how to let go of jealousy at work, white summer dress, cell phone

If there’s one thing I’ve been especially fascinated with lately, it’s dating during COVID. In my friend circles, I’m one of about three who are single, so I’m always curious how the others approach dating and who they’re meeting. Personally, I haven’t had a strong desire to date until recently. Partly because of COVID, but also because I didn’t feel like I had the energy to give to both the experience and a partner. I’m not sure if it’s the start of a new year, the proverbial clock ticking, the February effect (cough, Valentine’s Day), or just a new chapter, but lately I’m feeling willing to download the apps again and give it a go.

So I enlisted the help of my pal Logan Ury, Director of Relationship Science at Hinge and author of How Not to Die Alone; The Surprising Science That Will Help You Find Love, which was released this month for some dating and relationship advice. Logan and I met a few years ago when I worked for SXSW, and she worked for a well-known relationship expert. I’ve always appreciated her very real and authentic perspective on approaching relationships.

She helped get me out of my dating rut and back in action by being grounded in who I am, what I want, keeping it fun, and also remembering that dating is simply taking the time to get to know someone.

As I start to ease back into dating, I thought it would be fun to poll you, the Camille Styles’ community, on Instagram to hear your thoughts on dating and relationships — ask Logan a few questions of your own. Turns out, you all had a lot of the same questions as I did, and I learned a few new things in the process that are helping me feel more equipped to get back out there. Also, I’m taking a tip out of Logan’s book (literally) with this final request: readers, if you have any single guy friends, send ‘em my way.

Scroll on for your top questions about dating, answered…

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What are some out-of-the-box ways to spend time together at home that will take us out of our everyday routine? 

  • Celebrate a little win. Get champagne or your favorite dessert to toast something that went well this week.
  • Take a virtual dance lesson together or go to a Zoom workout.
  • Have a themed night. Maybe you have a night themed around your favorite movie, and listen to the soundtrack while you cook a dish from the film and watch the movie while you eat.
  • Rent electric scooters and buzz around town.

How do I weed out the not-so-serious daters when I’m looking for a serious relationship? And how do I ensure alignment before taking time to meet in real life? 

It’s nearly impossible to assess someone’s intentions from a profile or from texts unless they explicitly tell you—“I’m only looking for something casual.” So, you need to get to the date as soon as possible. If you’re worried about investing a lot of time and energy into someone early on, try a video date. They’re a low-pressure way to get a vibe check. During the date, if you’re interested but don’t want to come on too strong, here’s what you can say: “So, I’ve been dating for a while and I feel like I’m ready to be in a relationship. I can tell that I’m in a different place from where I was a few years ago. What about you?” You’re leading with curiosity and self-awareness. You’re not making demands. Give them space to show you how they are and what they want. And then, as Maya Angelou said, “believe them the first time.”

What are ways to meet new people without joining dating apps?

I have an entire chapter in my book dedicated to how to meet people IRL. Here’s my list:

  • Go to events
  • Get set up by friends and family
  • Connect with people you already know
  • Introduce yourself to people when you’re out and about

But most of these are nearly impossible during COVID. For now, I would focus on asking friends and family to set you up on blind virtual dates or seeing if there are friends in your life who you could pursue something romantic with.

Do you need to wait for the guy to plan the first couple dates? 

No. It’s 2021, and you’re looking for a boyfriend, not an event planner. Take turns planning the dates.

Online dating feels so hopeless. Is there hope? 

Yes. You do not need to take this year off from dating. People are doing virtual dates, socially-distanced dates, and more. I’ve been blown away by the creativity and resilience of Hinge users. People are lonely and want to connect. There is hope.

How do I navigate getting closure even if I’m the one who ghosted? How do I not ghost? 

First of all, stop ghosting. It’s hurtful because it creates a feeling of ambiguity for the other person. In our research, we found that people ghost because they think it’s less awkward than outright rejecting someone, but people who have been ghosted say “Reject me! I’d rather know.” So that’s it. Stop ghosting. Send a text like “Hey [name], I really enjoyed meeting you but I don’t think we’re a romantic match.” Keep that as a draft template in your notes folder. Send it as soon as you know you’re not interested in someone.

The first date wasn’t a home run but could maybe see potential. Is it worth a second date? 

Absolutely, in my book, I have a chapter called “Make the second date the default.” That means you should assume you’re going to go on the second date with someone unless something drastically bad happens on the first one. Here’s why: A lot of great people—slow burns—don’t give off that initial spark. But they do make great long-term partners. Give people a chance to open up to you. The first date is just the beginning.

I’ve been dating someone for a few months, feels like it’s going great, but how do I broach the “official or not” talk? What does that look like? 

First of all, congrats on bringing it up. Research shows that couples who decide their way through relationship transitions by talking openly about things are much more successful long-term than those who slide their way into them unconsciously. You could say something like “So, what should I tell my friends we are?” or “My roommate has been asking about us and if we’re officially dating. What should I say?” or “I really like you. Do you want to make this official?” Then talk to them about what that means. Are you monogamous? Do you use labels? Are you deleting the apps? Does this change anything about your behavior? Even if you don’t get the answer you want, it’s great to bring up this conversation to see if you two are on the same page about where you are and where you’re headed.

What has your dating experience been like in COVID? If you have any tips that can help me please share them below!