Social Distance Dating? Avoid These 7 Pitfalls

woman chatting with someone else
Social distancing can leave us feeling lonely and desperate for any form of human interaction. But nothing good comes from acting desperately. You’ll only end up feeling even lonelier and more cut-off than ever.
Here are some dating pitfalls and how to avoid them, especially while practicing social distancing.

1. Don’t wait too long to take your relationship offline

smartphone

Given the current circumstances, taking your relationship off line means phone calls or video chats but it still applies. Maybe you’ve had some edifying conversations and you know this is someone you’d like to invest more time in. That’s great! But it’s time to take it offline. Exchanging phone numbers and setting a call date gives weight to what you’re pursuing online.
So often in our online lives, it can be easy to take others for granted or turn others into fantasies especially when we have to mainly communicate with others through technology! People are not commodities, so don’t use others like they are! Take the relationship (whether it turns into a coupling or a friendship or fails) offline as soon as conversations begin to be more serious.

2. Have high hopes and low expectations

online dating

There is such a thing as a healthy dose of cynicism! What does this look like in online dating? Be hopeful that everyone you interact with is telling the truth about themselves, presenting themselves rightly, and that things will work out between you.
But you need to be prepared for none of these things to be true. This way, you won’t over-invest yourself and could be pleasantly surprised. It’s much better to be surprised than disappointed.

3. Assess their character

online dating

How does he handle criticism or disagreement? How does she handle failure? Do they have a good sense of humor or an easy-going attitude? Do they tip service persons well and treat them with respect? How does he spend his spare time? What does she care most about? Lastly, how you feel in your gut about them?
The answers to these questions mean a lot and will tell you so much about your potential significant other. Some of these things you can’t get a good handle on while social distancing. After all, you can’t really see how the other person treats their UberEats driver, you know? But many of them you can.
If you get overwhelmingly good answers to some of these questions, then the guy or gal is probably alright. But don’t negate the feeling in your gut! If your gut is telling you, “Pass,” listen to it. Trust yourself!

3. Don’t give out too much personal information too early

online dating

Get to know someone properly! If he’s sharing the depths of his soul to you during your very first conversation, he may not know how to have a healthy relationship. Likewise, if you’re divulging where you live and work and intimate details of your life to a person you’ve only known for a little while and only online, you’re giving away too much.

Someone who is not in a committed relationship with you does not need to know how much money you make, what temptations you struggle most with, or your medical history, or anything of the sort! Giving out this kind of information early on can create a false sense of intimacy which can lead to trying to control the other person’s life or sending a potential partner packing.

4. Don’t make excuses

incompatible

Red flags are red flags! Online dating gives you a unique opportunity to suss out someone’s intentions while remaining safely distant emotionally and physically.

Does he always put you down? Red flag. Does she continually try to run over boundaries you’ve set? Red flag. If you have a disagreement but he’s not willing to talk or work it out, that’s a red flag. If she’s constantly harshly critiquing past significant others, that’s a red flag, too.

Red flags pave the roads of abusive relationships so take some time to understand what red flags are, how to spot them, and then don’t excuse one if you run into it. Get out of a relationship that raises red flags. Better yet, don’t get into a relationship with red flags at all! Also, learn what signs are the mark of a good relationship– it’s good to see the positives, too.

5. Don’t be too eager to please

big effort

Agreeing too quickly, readily, and too often are signs you’re trying really hard and the other person isn’t trying hard enough. Give the other person space to try!

Cut yourself some slack. You do not have to be readily available in all ways, all the time. Don’t play hard to get, either. That won’t give you what you want. Be willing to meet in the middle.

For example, my now-husband and I literally met in the middle for our first date. We lived several hours apart and there was a possibility I was moving even farther away soon,  so we decided to meet in a town in the middle of our locations to split the distance and responsibility of driving all that way.

You are human! You have limitations! The more willing you are to take care of yourself and respect your own needs, while respecting the needs and limitations of others, the more willing a potential partner is to do the same for you. Now that’s a great basis for a relationship!

6. Don’t be afraid to say no

saying no

Don’t compromise on your non-negotiable, there are plenty of fish in the sea. This doesn’t always feel true, I know, but it is. You do not want to be partnered with someone who will not respect your boundaries, morals, or beliefs anyway. A person like that would make a terrible partner and being in a bad, abusive relationship is without a doubt much, much worse than being single.

If you find yourself thinking that any relationship is better than no relationship, consider taking a break from online dating.

This passage from Isaiah always gives me hope that the Lord does not abandon us in any sense: ” You shall be a glorious crown in the hand of the LORD, a royal diadem in the hand of your God. No more shall you be called ‘Forsaken,’ nor your land called ‘Desolate,’ But you shall be called ‘My Delight is in her,’ and your land ‘Espoused.’ For the LORD delights in you, and your land shall be espoused. For as a young man marries a virgin, your Builder shall marry you; And as a bridegroom rejoices in his bride, so shall your God rejoice in you” (Isaiah 62: 3-5).

7. Don’t forget to enjoy dating!

online dating

Getting to know another person should be fun! So have fun! Tell jokes, enjoy the (online) company of another person, have silly, interesting conversations. Find a common interest! Have a lighthearted disagreement! Discuss the best type of cheese! Plan a future date (once we can really get out of our houses again).

Don’t be afraid to let go of people that just won’t fit into your life. When my best friend and her now-husband first met online, it was because they discovered a mutual love of Kevin Smith movies and the and Incubus. How cool is that? These are the things that make getting to know someone and dating fun and that make relationships not only worth it, but endurable for the long run.

    Ada
    5 May 2020
    6:00pm

    Thank you. I was in a relationship for 4 years and he cheated on me. I am a bit scared about putting myself out there again.

    S P
    6 May 2020
    4:17pm

    Good article, and timely.

    The few actual meetings I’ve experienced through several years of attempts at online dating does not justify the amount of effort I’ve put into attempting to meet someone. Admittedly I have narrow parameters when it comes to who I will contact and suspect I’m not the only one, but I’m starting to think remaining in a fantasy relationship is enough for a significant number of women within 10 years of me (i.e. 50-70).

    I assumed on-line dating is a precursor to in-person dating. I wonder what percentage of women on this site are content with never moving beyond cyberspace.

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