Dating After Vaccination
A lot of you are about to become eligible for the vaccine and wondering what dating will be like. As a Dating Coach and a single person who is now fully vaccinated, here is what I’ve learned so far.
Being vaccinated hasn’t made me feel 100% bulletproof. I’ve definitely suffered from a degree of PTSD. Eating inside, hugging friends, all that stuff I used to do isn’t coming back as naturally as I thought it would.
Dating has become easier for me because it’s no longer a life/death exercise. However, I still don’t feel comfortable hugging much less kissing at the end of a date, whereas before I would have from time to time.
Being vaccinated myself, I still offer my date the choice of meeting via video before an in-person first date. It isn’t my preference, but I appreciated the same consideration before my vaccination. Many of my matches haven’t yet been vaccinated. When I first match with somebody, I don’t think the why is any of my business.
Here is the text I send to my date when asking for the first date: “I’m bad with keeping up with text (or we seem to have a lot in common - something to that effect), would you be up for a FT / coffee / drink sometime soon?” All of my matches have opted for a drink.
I still practice modified social distancing on a first date. It isn’t as strict as before, but knowing how to draw this boundary is useful.
Here is how I dated during Covid, before being vaccinated:
Before the date, I let him know that it will have to be socially distant (happy to meet for a socially distant drink). When I’d arrive, I’d keep my mask on and wave and awkwardly say hi. Once we sat down across (not next to) each other, I’d take off my mask and we would just chat as per normal. At the end of the date, I’d stand up and put my mask back on. I didn’t hug or kiss at the end. If he went in for one, I’d step back and again, awkwardly apologize.
If he asked me on a second date, then I’d offer him a choice. Either we could do another socially distanced one OR if he wanted to get within 6 feet, we could both get tested. Back then I was okay with a rapid test but after learning about how unreliable they are, I started to ask for a PCR.
Very few men were willing to get a PCR test. But for those who did agree, it made dating so much easier and also established a level of trust that didn’t normally get so early.
For those dates who didn’t want to get tested, I’d just say, “Okay, totally fine. I’m sure I’ll be single after I’m fully vaccinated (April 2) I’ll get in touch then.” To my surprise, a few of those guys actually texted me around that time and we ended up finally meeting.
Being vaccinated doesn’t dramatically change what I do on the date, but it definitely makes me feel better. For the second date and beyond, however, I am now comfortable with being within six feet.
Here are some other trends I’ve noticed
A lot of people are worried that their post-Covid bodies don’t match their pre-Covid pictures. To this I’d say, consider updating pictures if the change is dramatic but other than that, don’t worry about it. Almost everybody I speak to feels this way. We’ve all been through a lot.
The mandatory video dating protocol established a year ago is still in force for many. Not necessarily because of Covid, but mainly because it has proven to be a good filter for a first date.
What people want is shifting During the quarantine, many people shifted their search criteria to a long term relationship. They placed more emphasis on shared interests and conversation, especially when getting together in person was impossible. Now that spring is in the air and venus are opening, I find that an increasing number of people simply want to go out. On the one hand this makes it much easier to get the actual date. On the other hand, the intentionality behind the date is shifting back toward a more casual connection.
The current conclusion
The most challenging part of my post-vaccination dating life has been dealing with how I feel about being single. It was lonely during the pandemic and I put a lot of expectations on what life would be like after vaccination. I thought I’d be out more than ever. I’d imagined that dating and finding a partner would be easier.
In reality, however, not much has changed. Though I feel comfortable being inside a restaurant for example, many of my previous pastimes aren’t yet available, live music in particular. Travel is on the table, but I just don't feel like traveling alone anymore or really doing anything alone.
Despite these feelings, I’ve been pushing myself to go out anyways. This mantra has helped a lot:
If I’m going to be alone, I might as well do it in a more interesting environment
After having gone to a restaurant and movie by myself, I’m starting to feel better. I’ve also been very proactive in reaching out to friends. I make the effort, whether it’s traveling to different parts of the city or just blocking off time. I remind myself that things could revert, as they have in other parts of the world.
If I’ve learned anything it’s to not take simple pleasures for granted. Also my health, being able to breathe without difficulty. When I focus on my luck, the gratitude carries me past the loneliness and disappointment that sometimes washes over me.
The current era is a mixed bag. Post vaccination I finally have that long awaited freedom. But I also no longer have the excuse: my staying in isn’t as noble as it was before.
For what it’s worth my advice to fellow single people is just to go easy on yourself. If you’re not feeling attractive, if you still feel nervous about in-person dating or disappointed that things are as difficult as they were before, forgive yourself. We are all going through a lot. But the good news is that shared experience creates community, and community is what many of us need.
As always, I’m here to help. Reach out by using this link to schedule a free 30-minute consultation. Sometimes that’s all it takes to change your trajectory.
Don’t worry about finding the love of your life. Instead, fall in love with dating. Trust the process. Keep moving forward and be open to what life has to offer.