No matter your relationship status, I think we can all agree that this is a bit of a stressful time. From grocery store chaos to live-streamed events — life as we know it has been turned on its head, shaken up and thrown out the window.
When it comes to dating, being single during quarantine isn’t any easier. Dinner and a movie (or really, any face-to-face dating) has been demolished into what might as well be the dinosaur ages. The tinge of loneliness that some of us singles feel in the back of our heads has come to the forefront, blaring like that terrible EDM our exes used to love. But when that loneliness can’t be tamed with casual weekday dates and late night bar excursions with the girls, what’s the solution?
Really, there has only ever been only two solutions to this loneliness: dating others and dating ourselves.
And while dating others during quarantine can feel a little daunting, and dating ourselves, well — let’s be honest — always feels a little daunting, I (with the help of a few of my most badass single friends) am here to share some socially distanced experiences, offer a bit of advice and definitely not text any toxic exes.
Now more than ever is a good and unexpected opportunity to reevaluate. What can we improve in our dating lives to make them even better when normalcy kicks back into gear? Chances are, this time alone will cause us to reflect on our dating experiences, whether we like it or not. Our laundry list of responsibilities has been stripped clean and we’re forced to find ways to balance our time. It’s only natural that we think a little. But know that in this self reflection, in the hard stuff, comes beautiful and powerful growth. Take comfort in that.
But what if I still want to date?
When I said the dating scene has been thrown out of a ten-story window, I didn’t mean it was dead. That little rascal got right up and crawled away, resilient as ever. It just looks a little different. So now, we must get creative and reframe what modern dating really means to us. But, oh, how to do that?
Lately dating apps have been busier than Starbucks on a Saturday, and most dating apps have been adding social distancing features to ease the transition to virtual dating. Both Hinge and Bumble have virtual dating badges that make it easier to date via a phone call and video chat! Tinder has released their Passport feature for free; it allows users to swipe anywhere around the world.
While these features are super awesome for those who are already on board with dating apps, they may not alleviate the hesitancies of singles who have never tried them. So take baby steps – maybe with a glass of wine (or three) and a friend on FaceTime! With less pressure for meetups and misaligned expectations, now could be the perfect time to dip your toes in.
Intentionally rekindling old flames (or amping up new ones)
Because most singles are in the same boat during quarantine, now is the perfect time to reach out to the beautiful stranger from the gym or hit up the flame that fizzled. But make sure you’re being intentional with who you’re reaching out to, and putting your needs at the top of the to-do list. (And please, please, please don’t hit up your toxic ex!!)
Zoom, FaceTime and Skype are coming out of the woodwork in pretty much every aspect of life. Why not with dating, too? FaceTime a new match, a casual fling from before quarantine or, really, whomever. It doesn’t have to be a formal dinner if that’s not your style. Get creative with virtual happy hours in a group setting or double date, having a friend set you up on a blind FaceTime date or even playing online games (an old-time chess date anyone?).
And if things start to get more ~flirty~, consider Netflix Party, a Netflix feature that allows you to watch with others. Regardless of what you choose, make sure that your virtual dating choices work for you.
For those who are down for it and do it safely, sending sexy messages, pictures and partaking in video sex can be a fun way to build a sexual relationship and intimacy during quarantine. However, make sure that if you’re planning on getting down and dirty with someone, you’re setting clear boundaries and know how to protect yourself!
Get comfortable with being uncomfortable
Anyone in the dating scene is being pushed out of their comfort zone juuust a bit this quarantine. You’re not alone and, as your highschool soccer coach would say, it’s character building.
How do I date myself?
Even in a world of FaceTime dates and dating apps, we can’t deny the existence of a void left unfilled. How can we fulfill our dating needs while, well, not dating? The answer is unique to everyone, but it boils down to working on loving ourselves. Dedicating time for personal growth is integral to our happiness. And what better time to explore, date, and love ourselves than now?
Start by attacking that bucket list
All of the things that we’ve been meaning to do since last June and just “haven’t gotten around to”? What’s holding us back now? A sense of accomplishment can really boost your self confidence and make us feel like we’re spending your quarantine time in a meaningful way!
Go train for that 5K! Start your vegetable garden! I’m going to go read that 700 page thriller that’s been collecting dust on my nightstand.
Get in tune with yourself
Meditation, yoga, journaling or even just allotted thinking time can really help you learn what you want in your life. Learning more about our likes and dislikes can help you have a more fulfilling dating life in the future, too!
Learn to cherish your mind and body
As single women, so many of us are riddled with societally-fueled insecurities (don’t even get me started on that).
At some point, we have to say, “Screw what they say, I’m loving myself!”
It’s the most powerful thing a woman can do. And getting comfortable in saying that takes a lot of time and work. So, take this time to write down your positive qualities, to partake in physical activity that makes your body feel good, to appreciate the way you look in the mirror, to really sit in the brilliance of the idea you had last week — you’re worth it.
Practice self care
You’ve heard it before, if you want others to love you, you must love yourself first.
You — a beautiful, powerful woman — are a force to be reckoned with. You’re a wonderful and worthy goddess walking this Earth. So treat yourself like one. Take a luxurious bath in the middle of the day! Lather your body in lotion and oils and let yourself sleep in on a Sunday morning. Eat decadent chocolate with your pinky out like you’re the Queen of England.
Get in touch with your sexuality
Even without a partner, humans are sexual beings. Embrace it. Take naked pictures of yourself, for you. (Or maybe even send them to your biggest hype-girl if you’re comfortable!) Turn your naked body into a form of artistic expression (painting your own nudes, anyone?) Throw on lingerie underneath those sweatpants. Dance and lounge naked in your room. Whatever makes you feel sexy, do it and don’t stop!
And touch yourself!
Listening to your body when you feel the desire to get your groove on is so important in growing as a sexual person. Take a break during the day to masturbate when you feel like it! Who cares!
Use pleasure devices/toys
For those trying to spice up their sex lives with themselves (or a distanced partner), toys are a great way to change it up. And because I sure know what it’s like to live in a house with nosy roommates (my mom, ugh) and thin walls (just ugh), my personal favorite quarantine pleasure product is The Waterslyde. Not only does it force me into taking time for myself with a bath, I don’t have to explain the mysterious daily buzzing sound to my family.
Remember that self care and growth has ups and downs
There are days you find yourself getting creative, flowing through a difficult yoga practice and cooking up a meal that would make even Giada’s jaw drop. Other days, you don’t change out of your pajamas and binge Hulu for longer than you’d ever admit. And that, my friend, is life. I’m right there with you. And it’s okay! Give yourself grace.
Personally, I don’t have the perfect dating life — even outside of quarantine. I’ll be the first to admit it: I have issues I need to work through. And to top it off, I tend to pick some real duds.
So for me, this time of social distancing will be used to turn inward. To ask myself what my relationship with dating, sex and myself was really like before quarantine. To take time to romance, sexually and emotionally explore with myself. I (and so many other singles) want to fall in love with myself. And to do this, we must slow down and reflect on the hard stuff. But remember, you’re not alone.
Not only do you have your friends, family and your favorite barista — there is a whole worldwide community of singles out there connecting over this crazy journey of self.
Because determining what in our lives is and isn’t serving us might just be one of the most rewarding experiences that this quarantine can bring.
Single and can’t mingle? Let us know how you’re handling your quarantine in the comments below!
About the Author
Daniella (@daniellakelley on Instagram) is a senior Environmental Science major at UCLA who is passionate about social changes — from sexual liberation to climate change. When she’s not writing for Lovability or Spoon University, Daniella can be found pursuing photography, playing the cello, trying *really* hard to be vegan, or actively creeping on Harry Styles’ Instagram. You can check out her photography at daniellakelley.com.