I’ve met someone, but I’m not myself these days

Letters to loveletters@globe.com.

I met a woman when things didn't look as serious virus-wise. First date was great. Time flew by. Second even better. Third I started to get seriously infatuated. It's been a long time since I've felt anything resembling butterflies like this.

Then I had a stressful dispute about parenting time, followed by a death in the family. I was just getting back into the dating scene, met this wonderful woman, and bang, pandemic. We are going to meet again. I feel OK about that because we both work at home and are otherwise doing social distancing as we're supposed to.

The trouble is I haven't been sleeping properly. It's not unusual. Friends and co-workers say they aren't sleeping well either. But today I'm having trouble focusing and feeling a little unhinged. Just last night the woman and I had a nice, fun exchange about movies and light topics. Then this morning I wrote her some long emails. At the time I thought I was being flirty and romantic, or at least clever, but now I'm doubting my judgement. God knows if what I wrote her was OK. Do you have any advice on keeping my mental state in good enough order not screw this up? I can put off romance all together right now, but I don't see someone like this coming around again.

– Late night


“We are going to meet again. I feel OK about that because we both work at home and are otherwise doing social distancing as we're supposed to.”

Before I get into the love advice piece of this, please consider the rules right now. If you see this woman in person, you'll be exposing yourself (and her) to more of the world. It helps to keep family units as small as possible. Just something to think about.

“Do you have any advice on keeping my mental state in good enough order not screw this up?”

Good question. The thing about now is that a lot of people are sending middle-of-the-night existential crisis messages. People should be more forgiving about receiving them. It's just where we are.

You're talking about this relationship like you have to behave a certain way to keep this woman around. Instead, just be honest with her about your needs, and focus on caring for yourself. If you're too tired to talk, let her know you want to be well-rested before you communicate with her – and then find someone else to be your audience. If you’re feeling insecure about something you said or wrote, let her know. You don't have to maintain the same kind of momentum you might have had pre-virus. Time and relationships move at a different pace these days. If you need to skip a day to feel better, that's OK. It's all good as long as you're transparent about it.

– Meredith

Readers? How do you get to know someone when you don't feel like yourself?