Should I try to date now or wait until later?

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Hi Meredith,

I have some real fears about the future of dating, especially now with the state of the world. For a little background, I got married in my early 30s. I thought that by waiting until I was older, I would be less impulsive and make a better decision about a partner. I didn't want to repeat the mistakes I saw my parents make because they got married very young.

Unfortunately, after we got married, my wife changed drastically. When we first started dating she was very outgoing and adventurous. After we got married, she stopped participating in the marriage or anything else for that matter. It was like she she was a different person. She wouldn't talk to me or anyone else about what was going on. I thought it might be depression. I tried to work through it with her, was supportive but not pushy, and offered any type of professional help that she may need. I eventually learned that sometimes people don't want help or to work at a relationship, they would just rather be by themselves. I stuck it out for many years, but ultimately being alone in a marriage was too much for me. We divorced a few years ago.

I purposely have been waiting to get back to dating until recently, as it has never been easy for me to connect with new people. I'm definitely more of an introvert than an extrovert, so sometimes I think that holds me back. I was just beginning to feel the courage to start online dating. I was working on my profile information – then this pandemic hit. Now I have a real fear that dating will never be the same again. Communicating with people online is one thing, but eventually, if you’re looking for partner, you have to meet in real life and learn about each other. In my mind, dating or connecting with people would be hard enough under the pre-pandemic conditions. Now I have it in my mind that people will no longer want to date until they know they are safe from the virus.

My mind races with these thoughts, and I loose my motivation to even try online dating because it seems fruitless if you can't eventually meet people. I guess my question is, am I making too big a deal out of this? Should I just hold off until later? Should I go ahead and try online dating even though I know I can't meet any of these people right now? What do you think the future of dating will be now that we must distance ourselves from each other? Video dating? I'd love your and readers opinions.

-Introvert Fearful of Dating


"Am I making too big a deal out of this?"

It is a big deal. We're living through a pandemic. I have 1,000 questions and no real answers, and everyone's going through it for the first time together. Many people are trying to figure out how to connect to the outside world. Many singles who put off dating before all of this are feeling ... despondent.

Now let me give you a hopeful pep talk, one that I believe to be true. There will be an end to this. I can't tell you when it will happen – when people will feel safe to go outside and what the world will look like then – but today isn't forever. I also believe that when people can go out, they will be more excited to get to know the person in front of them, to truly concentrate on their present company.

When I take my daily walk and see someone from many feet away, I wonder if they're smiling under that mask. I look to see if their eyebrows are cute.

Many of us were so distracted and busy before this, and avoided small interactions. I hope I notice a lot more when I have the chance.

People are dating right now, by the way. They're meeting on apps and then talking on Zoom and FaceTime. If that seems fruitless, there's no pressure to try. But it might be a good time to practice interacting on an app or two. You can play around with your profile and see what works. Consider this a test run. It feels like a good time for practice.

– Meredith

Readers? What's the future of dating? What about interacting right now?