Ask Joey: Dating during coronavirus

Joey Garcia is SN&R'S advice columnist, a certified life coach and author of When Your Heart Breaks, It's Opening to Love.

While you’re sheltering in place, don’t kowtow to the kind of boredom or loneliness that motivates you to download dating apps you once swore off. Instead, use this time to date yourself.

By Joey Garcia

Will COVID-19 curtail your search for love?

Not more than any other obstacle encountered while searching for a soulmate, such as interfering exes or perpetually texting without meeting in real life or not being emotionally available enough to connect.

While you’re sheltering in place, don’t kowtow to the kind of boredom or loneliness that motivates you to download dating apps you once swore off. Instead, use this time to date yourself, that is, spend time getting to know yourself and your values. Although, if that doesn’t inspire you, there’s also advice below for dating in real life.

Date your Soul: The soul seeks silence and solitude, the spaces where its still, quiet voice can be heard. The more interior or exterior noise in our lives, the more difficult it is to hear the soul. When we create the inner space to listen through meditation or a meditative lifestyle, we build the capacity for clarity and self-trust. Our intuition can then preside without being filtered by instinct, that evolutionary fear-based drive. So, date your soul. Train yourself to be present to what is in and outside of you. Embrace calm.

Date your Wisdom: Begin every morning by journaling about whatever is on your mind. Seeing the mind on paper transforms our relationship with our life experiences. We can witness how our attitudes and behaviors have interfered with the expansion of love in our lives. And then we can choose differently. Wisdom means we have learned from our past and changed in positive ways. It’s a sign that we have stopped repeating problematic patterns. By dating wisdom, we can emerge from sheltering-in-place renewed and more self-aware.

Date your Future: If your personality resists interior healing and transformation, use this time to take online classes, consume podcasts or plot actions required to achieve your next goal. Instead of reading social media posts that support your worst fears, deepen your relationship with the future. Prepare for the next level of your life by adding to your skills, exploring your talents, and connecting online with people likely to help you make your next move.

Date online: Compulsively checking dating apps? There’s no shame in wanting a bae, but stay smart. If you feel overwhelmed by anxiety and fear, call a friend. Don’t unload on a stranger you met through a dating app but not yet in person. When you chat online, don’t share every secret about yourself. Keep initial conversations brief. Focus on identifying compatibility and shared values, not crisis. Avoid triggering your need to be rescued or your need to rescue someone else.

Dating IRL: Self-quarantine means it’s not the time to meet new people in real life. But if you’ve been dating for a while, you probably trust each other’s adherence to the basic hygiene practices that provide some protection against COVID-19. If you are not in a mandatory lockdown or self-quarantine and choose to get together, keep it chill. Go for a walk or a bike ride. Enjoy a mocktail in the backyard and chat. A crisis reveals who we really are so it will quickly become clear whether your relationship is meant for the long haul or just a season.

Meditation of the Week

If you’re speaking of love, you really must include the element of uncertainty—and perhaps it’s best approached as the art of constant maintenance,” said Twyla Tharp, choreographer and dancer. Can you live calmly in the space between the known and the unknown?

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