Is It Safe to Date During the Coronavirus Pandemic?

September 15, 2020

Clinical Contributors to this Story

Andrew S Habib, M.D. contributes to topics such as Family Medicine.

Months have passed since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, and there’s no end in sight. If you’re single and had planned to wait until the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) was gone before dating, you may be having second thoughts. Fortunately, with technology and creativity, you can meet someone new and spend quality time together.

Here are some tips from our experts:

Start with virtual dating

For many people today, a “first date” is a virtual event, whether by phone or video. If you hit it off, you may decide to meet in person, but some people continue seeing each other virtually for a while.

“You can learn a lot about someone’s personality when the main thing that you do is talk,” says Andrew Habib, M.D. a family medicine specialist with Hackensack Meridian Medical Group. “Also, you may feel more relaxed with an online date if you’re nervous about being within 6 feet of someone who may not be as strict with social distancing as you are.”

Planning a virtual date? Try these ideas to help bond and get to know each other:

  • sit near a well-lit window for a video chat
  • take your laptop outside for a change of scenery
  • order takeout from the same restaurant and eat together via video chat
  • watch movies simultaneously in separate locations, talking on the phone together
  • play online games together

How to progress to in-person dating

When you’re ready to meet, first talk about your attitudes toward social distancing and mask-wearing, making sure that you’re both comfortable. Meet outdoors, wearing face coverings and staying 6 feet apart, even if you’re inclined to go maskless to show off your smile.

“Being safe, and respecting your date’s desire to be safe, is the best way to show your date that you care about them right now,” says Dr. Habib.

Many standard date venues are unavailable or very limited during the pandemic, but be creative: Walk, bike or visit a corn maze together. Serve a meal in your backyard, or go to an outdoor restaurant. Visit a scenic park, using separate cars. When the weather gets colder, bundle up for walks, or seek restaurants with outdoor seating and bonfires or outdoor heaters. If you both feel comfortable with indoor dining, make reservations at a restaurant that you like.

Deciding when to become physically intimate

Eventually, you may want to hold hands, kiss or have sex. Before you do, make sure that you’re both ready for this next step, which is riskier than usual during the pandemic. Talk at length about your concerns and your social-distancing habits.

Because it’s possible to have COVID-19 without symptoms, some couples self-isolate for 2 weeks before becoming intimate, to make it less likely to pass the virus to one another. Others get COVID-19 tests and feel comfortable being physical with someone who tested negative.

“With a little bit of communication, safety and common sense – it is possible to safely date during the pandemic,” says Dr. Habib. “The most important thing is to be open and communicate about your comfort levels. Who knows, you may have an interesting pandemic story to tell your kids one day!”

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The material provided through HealthU is intended to be used as general information only and should not replace the advice of your physician. Always consult your physician for individual care.