The Extended Cuffing Season: Online Dating During Quarantine

Quarantine can be lonely, but if you’re considering re-entering the dating pool, you might have picked the wrong time. Dating during quarantine is probably the closest thing to the Shakespearian Era dating trends, like professing your love through lengthy messages to your forbidden lover from afar. 

If you’re super lonely and ready to jump into the dating pool with both feet, you might as well make a splash, but be aware of some of the quarantine dating norms.

“Where Do I Go to Look for Love (or What At Least Feels Like It)?”

When the typical relationship begins to flourish, you’re headed into uncharted territory, but what if you can’t even find a date? With the current lockdown, the idea of dating has taken on a completely different form, turning it into what looks more like a disaster than a ticket to a hot date.

Sure, you can use Tinder or any of the other dating apps, but some people are still completely unsure of how to navigate the dating world in the current state. Luckily, there are apps that have been developed to come to your rescue.

Quarantine Together

Quarantine Together is an app that launched on March 15. The goal of its creators was to build something that would keep people from getting bored; however, the purpose of the app has a far greater impact.

The app is text-based and every day at 18,00 EDT, the app asks its users whether or not they washed their hands. If the user says yes, the user is introduced to another user by text. After 15 minutes, the matched users are offered a link to video chat giving them more time to form deeper connections with someone before having the opportunity to meet them. As always, you can still use the typical apps, like Tinder or Bumble, but make sure you use proper etiquette. 

Don’t Say *Insert Awkward Pick-up Line*

THIS DOES NOT ONLY PERTAIN TO QUARANTINE DATING, but please, please, please use proper dating etiquette. This means being polite and respectful, while knowing boundaries of yourself and your matches. No one wants to feel uncomfortable while trying to find “the one”. The feeling of being liked and wanted is something that we all crave, but when we meet someone that we’re interested in online, it’s very tempting to become a people-pleaser to the point where you’ll do just about anything to get your affections reciprocated. Going overboard with the compliments so early on is extremely risky. However, you have to keep in mind who you’re talking to.

Some cultures may see showering a woman with compliments as 100% appropriate. If this happens to you and you’re not into that type of romance, don’t panic. It doesn’t mean he’s a creep; in several countries, paying a compliment is a form of acknowledgement rather than flattery.

On the other hand, some cultures are very straight forward. People can be very direct in the way they speak, rather than being overly polite and saying things to be nice that they don’t actually mean to avoid hurting your feelings.

What you or your love interest says may be taken at face value, so sometimes it’s best not to take to heart what’s said to you. The best advice is to know who you’re talking to and where they’re from to be aware of any social cues and be yourself when talking to a match.

Miscommunications Galore 

Additionally, during quarantine, you’ll be faced with other communication hardships. Communication can be defined as a fruitful exchange of ideas; in order to successfully exchange those ideas, the sender has to convey his or her message, without noise, for the receiver. That noise, in this situation, can be seen as text message errors, anxiety that makes the speaker’s message hard to understand, background noises or something else that makes the sender’s message unclear.

While speaking to a match online, there may be miscommunication. You may not be able to effectively see someone’s body language while talking with them. After all, communication is 55% body language. 

Tone and phrasing of the words is also important. 38% of communication is attributed to semantics, which is how you say something. Even over text semantics is significant in a conversation. What’s the other 7% you might be wondering? The other 7% is the words that we use to express ourselves.

These percentages are based on your typical conditions, but there is a growing importance to better choose your words while dating during quarantine. People using online dating cannot always see body language or hear the way the words are phrased.

The overall words, tone, and phrasing through text can change the path of a conversation radically and can lead to miscommunication, if not done correctly, so it is always a good policy to listen, understand, and think before you communicate. 

Matching with Multiple People: Territory to Tread Lightly

Granted, dating apps do endorse polyamory due to the way they work; as soon as you swipe right, you’ve matched with yet another person. This encourages people to play the field. If your multitasking skills and memory are strong, by all means, see where each match takes you. If you struggle with either of those things, things can get messy very quick if you start dating several people at once. 

All the attention from several matches may seem great at first, but you will find yourself repeating stories because you’ve forgotten what you’ve said to who. This situation is uncomfortable for both parties involved. You’ll also struggle to commit to just one person due to constant distractions. On top of that, you won’t actually be able to get to see how any of your online relationships will play out in typical life due to the lockdown.

It’s a lot easier to date from the comfort of your home while sitting behind your phone screen. You won’t be able to get a good feel for how your match actually is on an online platform. The matches will keep piling up and leave you in a bind after life goes back to normal. 

“I Stalked His Social Media and Got Hurt”

Stalking someone’s social media is a surefire way to create emotional havoc in your life. You don’t want to be the person who probes through a match’s old Facebook photos, only to get your feelings hurt 15 minutes into the hunt.

What usually starts as an innocent browse through someone’s Instagram feed can easily spiral out of control. You can even manage to dive in deep into Twitter profiles of your match, distant family members, and old flames. As tempting as that may sound, do not fall down this rabbit hole. People and tastes change drastically throughout the years, so finding dirt on the tastes and old flames of a match can be an unnecessary turnoff.

Yes, it is absolutely acceptable to engage in a moderate amount of pre-date social media stalking to make sure the person you’re meeting actually exists, but you should keep the searching to a minimum. Limiting your searches allows you to get to know the person in front of you and not a social media version of your match.

To Be Clingy or Not to Be, that is the Question

There are several ways to be clingy and some of those ways push boundaries a little further than others. Sending multiple messages back to back to back is clingy. People on dating sites who become so clingy when you start sending messages to each other are typically clingy people in real life; these people are clingy when they engage with people in the real world that they are romantically interested. If clinginess is not your thing, be warned. Dating while in quarantine may worsen this attachment due to the social limitations being placed on people.

Their clinginess on dating sites may be magnified because of the volume of messages that they’re receiving on dating sites during quarantine. During quarantine, they may have very few relationships with people in the outside world, leading your match to spend a lot of time online whether it be on gaming sites, entertainment sites, social media sites, dating sites, etc.

With that being said, he or she gets this mindset that every dating encounter must be similar to what he or she is experiencing, further pushing them to be clingy. If you’re not replying quickly, your matches may worry that you might be getting messages from other people on dating sites, and by attending to those messages, you might forget about them. Jealousy is truly a green-eyed monster.

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