1. How have your conversations been going so far?
Have conversations with this person been getting steadily deeper and more interesting or have they plateaued or fallen off? Look at why your conversations have been going this way and consider if that could be remedied by actually being in a relationship. Again, there’s no right or wrong answer here. If your conversations have been plateauing, that doesn’t automatically mean you shouldn’t date. In fact, it could mean you need to make things official.
Also consider how well you’re able to communicate with each other without mixed or crossed signals and with honesty and clarity. If you’ve struggled with those things, consider why. Is it because you read people better in person than over the phone or email? Or is it because you’re too different in this area?
Social distancing might actually provide you and your match the space you need to work on communicating well before committing to a relationship (of course, you’ll need to work at this once in a relationship, too).
2. Do you sense any red flags?
If you’re seeing red flags, don’t start a relationship, social distancing or not! Red flags are supposed to give you pause. Avoid these pitfalls and learn what a healthy relationship should look like. The more you understand what to look for, the better off you’ll be.
Social distancing plus online dating gives you a unique opportunity to step back from a relationship and evaluate it before totally investing yourself. So use that space! Social distancing can really be a gift, if we use it well. It’s worth repeating, though: do not enter into any relationship where you sense red flags!
3. Do you live near or far from each other?
Long-distance dating can be really good! It can also be tricky. But so can dating someone who lives near you. Reflect on what you want and need out of a relationship and see how distance factors into that. Make sure you and your match are on the same page, though. Learn about the pitfalls and strengths of long-distance dating before you make a decision.
My now-husband and I were long-distance until we were married. It worked for us but we also had to constantly work at it and resolve issues that naturally came up because of our distance. We learned to communicate very clearly and effectively with each other and learned how to cherish time together. We still had issues when we got married that people who live close to each other wouldn’t have had, but we’re always going to need to work at something.
4. What are your state’s current restrictions and guidelines?
This question is important in keeping you, your match, and your neighbors safe. If your state’s guidelines are still under stay-at-home orders or safer at home orders, you should heed that. Those guidelines are there for a reason! There won’t be much to do together anyway.
If your state is going to lift restrictions soon, starting a relationship would probably be just fine. This question involves a lot of personal level of comfort, so again, make sure you and your match are on the same page and don’t be pushy.
This guide is updated regularly to reflect the changes each state is making.
5. How would starting a relationship right now benefit you? How might it be detrimental?
Make a good old pro/con list for this and be excruciatingly honest with yourself. We’re all anxious and craving human interaction but that’s not a good enough reason (on its own) to start a relationship.
Sometimes we have to wait for good things even if they’re always good (I’m looking at you, NFP) out of love and respect for ourselves and each other. There’s a real beauty and relief in realizing that we’ll never have enough time with our loved ones on earth no matter how early we get into a relationship. That’s just how life is. Starting a relationship doesn’t have to be now or never.
You can jump in, but make sure you know what you’re jumping into.
After considering each of these questions, you should have a better idea of whether or not a relationship in general and a relationship with this specific person would be a good idea right now.
As always, be sure to follow your gut instinct. Learning to trust yourself now will be important in any future relationship and vocation.