I don’t know about you, but I have been trying to navigate through the new “social distancing” norm the best I can; but it has been rough! I am a people person. I enjoy being around people most of the time— different people that is, not just the ones I live with! I can only imagine the difficulty of adding a relationship to the mix while under a stay at home order. How will new relationships last? Are people being creative during this time or just giving up?

As I think about different avenues of maintaining a relationship or getting involved in a relationship during this time, I’m sure many are turning to online dating or dating apps. I was never the one to want to try online dating simply because I was skeptical about everyone, but my cousin did meet his wife online, so I have seen it be successful. My sister has tried meeting men online, but it didn’t work out.

Dating apps have become more popular now considering we cannot go out on face to face dates. People who are in relationships have had to suddenly transition to long-distance or online dating since quarantine and shelter in place orders have separated them for a moment. While these adjustments have been necessary to flatten the curve of the COVID-19 outbreak, there are good and bad factors to the situation:

The Good:

Online dating can be good in the times we find ourselves in. If you are thinking of giving it a try, there are some best practices to ensure your safety.

It’s good to get to know someone for a little bit before actually meeting up with them. Use FaceTime or another video call service so you can see if the person you’re talking to is really who they say they are. If you are already in a relationship, it may be good to take some time apart. Use this time to self-reflect on your relationship and what it means to you. Our current situation could actually be a blessing in disguise.

The Bad:

Some people, especially those experiencing loneliness, might jump at the chance to meet anyone. You can begin talking to someone online and find yourself in a very bad situation. Next week, we will feature the real life story of someone who experienced online abuse, and recognized the signs before things got out of hand. Those of you wanting to enter into an online dating relationship should exercise caution. It’s good to talk to people to get to know them, but be careful how many people you truly invest in long term. Kaitlyn McQuin at Glamour Magazine advises, “Slow down, get to know someone, ask them questions, and discover who they are.”

Since stay at home orders were issued, demand for pornography has increased. People experiencing boredom and loneliness are turning to pornography or sexting to replace not being able to physically be in the same room with a partner, or sometimes as an escape from their current situation. While wanting some kind of connection is understandable, we know that the production and sale of pornography contributes to and fuels human trafficking.

So how can we be creative about maintaining and forming romantic relationships during this time? It’s good to try out different things so that we don’t feel the urge to turn to harmful behaviors or give up on relationships all together.

Try enjoying a meal together over FaceTime. This could be a really cool idea especially if you used to go out to eat together. Read the Bible together. Making time for the Word and prayer is important and can provide a strong foundation for your relationship.Send gifts to one another. The postal service is still working, and sending each other thoughtful gifts or letters will bring cheerful memories and give each person something to look forward to in their mailboxes.

For more tips and information on how you can be creative during this time read this post from Psychology Today.