Does your love life lack lustre after Lockdown?
It may have been a tough few months for you to find a romantic relationship, and for anyone who has seen a downturn in their love lives, you’re not alone. At Select Personal Introductions, we’ve been working hard to buck this trend. We know that it’s not just about the first dates, nor even the success in getting a second one, it’s about relationships, a long-term activity and like any other activity, requires time, attention and practice.
When Zoom doesn’t deliver Va Va Voom …
It can be infuriating when it seems everybody around you has mastered the virtual date, whilst you’re struggling to understand the conventions. There are obvious drawbacks to virtual dates, the main one being that you can’t get physical chemistry going digitally, and if you’re a very tactile person, or somebody who relies on that instant pheromone response to determine your feelings, going on your first date virtually can seem daunting to begin with. Well, I’m pleased to say that a lot of our clients are successfully meeting each other in person, having already gone through the virtual date experience.
Here are some tips to help.
Set the scene
- You don’t have to clean your entire house, but at least titivate the area of the room you’re going to ‘date’ in.
- Check your lighting (no glaring spotlights making it look like an interrogation room, no dingy corners that imply you’re living in a squat).
- Make sure you’re going to be comfortable (equip yourself with enough cushions and throws, soft drinks and other necessities so that you won’t have to leave the screen or sit in agony).
Create a structure
If you’re Facetiming or using Whatsapp, etc., set a time to start, and end, your date, and use a timer to indicate ten minutes before your date is up. Using Zoom, however, is great, giving you 40 minutes free zooming with a ten-minute countdown – plenty of time to wrap things up and say goodbye, and maybe even arrange a second date! There’s nothing worse than being stuck onscreen with somebody who isn’t taking your hints and feeling that you’re a virtual hostage.
You could plan things to do on your date that help break the ice and give you a good time as well as getting to know each other:
- Screen-share and do a virtual museum or gallery tour.
- Play a trivia game together online, or opt for a fun party game for some extra laughter over the festive season.
- Order dinner for each other – set a time for the delivery to arrive and unbox and eat on-screen. It’s a great way to discover how compatible you are and maybe to try a completely new cuisine or dish.
- Watch a film together on Netflix via Zoom.
Post-online blues and what to do about them
There’s a new term – ‘turbo dating’. Turbo relationships have been formed in the strangeness of lockdown, largely via online dating sites and apps, and become incredibly intense very rapidly.
Usually, they cool just as fast, especially when the false familiarity of online communication is replaced by the reality of face-to-face intimacy with all its complexity. Isolation, loneliness and enhanced recognition of the fragility of life can propel us into a deeper relationship than we’re ready for, or even trick us into taking a relationship more seriously than it warrants. Investing in yourself can be the answer to all these difficulties.
Taking a class online, going for a walk, cooking a special meal, just for yourself, can all be ways of stopping yourself diving off the cliff into a fake turbo relationship – because very few turn out to be pearl-strewn waters and usually turn out to be treacherously rocky!
Managing the transitions in lockdown
Long-term marriages and relationships aren’t immune to the lockdown effect. There’s been a spike of divorce applications in Xi’an, one of the first Chinese cities to be locked down, which is being put down to the tensions of living at close quarters with a partner whose behaviours become unbearable.
In the USA and UK, divorce lawyers are also reporting increased information requests. So cooling down periods can be vital to making a new date into a permanent relationship.
When there’s not much else to do, it’s easy to over-invest, emotionally, in a potential new partner and then, when they turn out to be a fallible human being, feel unduly let down. Feeling you’ve connected deeply with somebody on-screen, then realising they don’t live up to your expectations in person, can be a huge setback. At Select Personal Introductions we help clients navigate through any dating idiosyncrasies, creating personal matches, delivering you a better sense of what to expect from each other.
Giving it four dates is a vital component of coping with the move from on-screen to offline dating: we’re increasingly less used to meeting new people because of lockdown, and so meeting a new person who might also be a new life partner can lead to a rocketing of expectation which can only end in a plummeting of dreams if it’s not well managed.
So … four dates. You pick two and your potential partner picks two, so you get to know a little about each other’s preferences. At the end of this process, unrealistic expectations will have turned into reasonable assumptions and you’ll know if any first setbacks are deal-breakers or something you can overcome.