Love in the Age of COVID: Navigating Dating During a Pandemic

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But as summer rolled around and more safe options for COVID became available, many of them opened up again.

“People have really prioritized dating and relationships,” she said. “People have realized the importance of dating right now. They have realized how hard it is and want a person to go through hard times.”

For Tashaina Martinez, of Rochester, the pandemic has changed her love life for the better. She downloaded Tinder in September 2020, but said she had no serious intentions.

“I was visiting a friend in college after she tested negative for COVID,” she said. “She wanted to look around for dating apps, and I did that with her just for fun.”

While playing a game on the app, she spotted John Humphrey’s profile.

“I saw him arrive and thought he was the most beautiful man I had ever seen,” Martinez said. “It looks so sappy, but it looked perfect.”

Once they paired, they talked from early afternoon until 5 a.m. Martinez said they have an instant connection, and without the pandemic they would not have met.

Tashaina Martinez, left, and John Humphrey met online and started dating during the pandemic.  (Photo provided)

Tashaina Martinez, left, and John Humphrey met online and started dating during the pandemic. (Photo provided)

Ariana Caddell, of Rochester, has also tried online dating. She met someone, exchanged phone numbers with him, and they started video chatting.

Caddell said dating during the pandemic hadn’t been that different from before. The main difference is that you can’t just walk outside and meet people, she said.

Davis, the matchmaker, said there are ways to continue to go outside safely during the pandemic. Many apps have video chat options, for example.

“Talk to whoever you plan to meet,” she said. “Talk about security measures and make sure you’re on the same page. If you aren’t comfortable meeting in person, let the person know. Communication is important.

She suggests meeting new people outside – on a walk, for example. She said a couple she worked with recently got engaged. So even though the pandemic has changed what dating looks like, there are still success stories.

April Davis, owner and founder of Luma Luxury Matchmaking in St. Louis Park.  (Photo provided)

April Davis, owner and founder of Luma Luxury Matchmaking in St. Louis Park. (Photo provided)

When Martinez and Humphrey first started seeing each other, they had some special date ideas. Their first in-person meeting was at a tea bar, where they maintained a social distance. A few months later, when Humphrey visited Martinez, he rented a hotel room, where they ordered take out and pretended to eat at a fancy restaurant.

Most of Caddell’s appointments have been via video chat. She cooked the same recipe as her date, played Pictionary, watched musicals and did virtual escape rooms.

“Take turns coming up with ideas. Don’t do the same old same old, ”she said. “Don’t be afraid to go out and go crazy, but obviously be safe during the pandemic.”

She believes dating – during or after the pandemic – is best when you’re having fun and getting creative.

Martinez’s advice? Be careful who you hang out with, but if you develop a good connection with someone, consider expanding your bubble to include it.

“Don’t give up hope over the pandemic,” she said. “Love is coming.”

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