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Single In A Pandemic? You’ve Got Options

How’s your dating life going since the pandemic? Non-existent or “what pandemic?”

Has it ground to a halt or going gangbusters? Have you gone into hibernation or gone wild? Or, have you realized you just don’t give a shit and deleted all your dating apps? There’s no bad answer here.

It’s a weird time to be single, but it might not be the worst time. Life and love will go on. We are social animals and need interaction. We need connection. Human contact is an essential business! There’s only so much social distancing/isolating/quarantining a person can take before losing their mind.

The good news is, as lockdowns lift, dating IRL might pick up again.

Or not.

From what health experts are saying, we’re not even done with the first wave of COVID. Things are spiking again, and with that comes the possibility of more sheltering-in-place. Regular dating might be put on hold. But there are workarounds. Single people are very resourceful in finding ways to adapt. When faced with challenges and adversity, singles think outside the mask (but the smart ones keep it on).

If you’re single right now, you need to be prepared for any eventuality. I wrote an article about this at the beginning of the pandemic, and things actually haven’t changed much. You’ve got options.

Option A: Stay active, keep your dating apps open.

Why let a pandemic cramp your dating style? There’s no reason not to keep swiping, scrolling, and staying out there. Everyone’s at home on their devices, so why not take advantage of your captive audience?

If you’re not sure which app/dating site is right for you, check out ConsumerAdvocate’s online dating guide here. And if you need a little dating coaching, you can always contact me here.

Before coronavirus, when you met on a dating app, you’d have a few text exchanges, maybe a call or two, then meet in person as soon as possible. You can still do that, but video dating is now the safer alternative for those too freaked out to meet face-to-face.

I love the idea of video dating. It’s like old-fashioned courtship. Very Victorian, very Jane Austen, very hot. Courting via video slows everything down, which I find very romantic. Delayed gratification is sexy as hell.

If you haven’t done video dating, or gotten good at it, there’s still time. There’s still time to meet the love of your life in the middle of a deadly virus, and look great doing it.

Watch this video dating tutorial for pointers. When it comes to lighting, camera angles, techniques, tips, and best practices, Hot & Flashy really nails it.

A video date is a real date, so treat it like one. Don’t be lazy. Clean up, put some makeup on, be as charming as you would IRL. This is your chance to get to know someone, and possibly get laid sometime next year, so make an effort.

Or, you can throw caution to the wind and throw your mask off, along with the rest of your clothes like this woman did. Read her pandemic dating story here.

Because physical intimacy might be too risky for the less adventurous or horny, chances are, anyone dating right now is searching for something more substantial, perhaps longer lasting than a just a hook-up or booty call. Maybe they’re searching for a shelter-in-place partner for the next pandemic (or the rest of this one).

Option B: Take a break, temporarily deactivate your dating apps.

There’s nothing wrong with taking a dating break, especially if you’re burned out or going through a hard time. If you’re not actively dating, hide your profile, or turn off auto-renewal until you’re ready to venture back out.

Use the downtime to catch your breath, work on yourself, get in better shape, and get clarity on what you want. When there’s no obligation or pressure to date, it frees you up to make smarter, more thought-out choices. Pandemic or no pandemic, pressing pause on your dating life presents a great opportunity to weed out the riff-raff and regain your sanity.

Option C: You’ve actually come to enjoy your alone time, and realize that social distancing/isolation isn’t that bad.

The quiet and stillness of lockdown at first might’ve been uncomfortable–possibly unbearable—but now you’re getting used to it, and even LIKE it. It’s given you time to think, reflect, read, and relax. Becoming friends with silence and solitude is a skill, and mastering it will get you through single life (and pandemics) like a pro.

Some people avoid being alone at all costs, but according to research, the ability to be alone with yourself is actually essential for a healthy social life. Researchers Jeffrey A. Hall and Andy J. Merolla spell it out:

“We’d seen lots of research suggesting more social interactions are better,” Hall says, but “the one that had the strongest empirical support was that when you’re alone and content that way, that’s a great indicator that you’re socially healthy.”

Being single in a pandemic is a great test of your self-reliance. Enjoying your own company is everything.

“That’s why there are some people in the world who are almost never alone but feel lonely, and some people who are always alone and never feel lonely,” she says. “Solitude works when you feel satisfied on the whole with your connection to other people. Once you have that basic need met, it’s much easier to spend time alone.”

The bottom line with pandemics (and other shitty things that happen in life) is there’s always an upside: it can be worst thing ever, or the thing you needed to make changes, practice new skills, and find strength you thought you never had. Your choice.

Single or not, you always have options.

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For more wit, wisdom, and tough love dating advice, subscribe to my blog and follow me @trevabme

Vulnerability Is The New Black

Did you see Brené Brown’s interview on CBS 60 Minutes a few weeks ago, where she sang the praises of vulnerability? It spoke to me. In fact, it moved me so much, I watched it again online because I didn’t want to miss a single piece of her wisdom. And it wasn’t just wisdom she doled out, it was confirmation of something I’ve always known: That being vulnerable is actually a strong move.

If you don’t know Brenè Brown, she’s a qualitative researcher, lecturer, TEDTalker, best-selling author, and badass when it comes to vulnerability.

I thought I was alone in my fear of vulnerability–even admitting it made me feel weak, but here comes Brenè Brown with 20 years of research and over 400,000 pieces of data to prove that vulnerability isn’t weakness, it’s the path to courage. There is no courage without vulnerability.

Vulnerability is the new black. It’s sexy, brave, and it’s everywhere. Vulnerability shows your humanness, and isn’t that what we’re all feeling right now? We’re in a time where we’re collectively vulnerable, searching for strength. Our vulnerability is on full display, and it’s OK according to Brenè, because “What makes you vulnerable, makes you beautiful.”

“The most vulnerable people I know are the toughest people I know.” –Brenè Brown.

Vulnerability teaches resilience, gives you grit, and makes you tougher. Vulnerability is the scariest ride you’ll ever take, but daring to step on it is the first step to conquering it.

It takes balls to admit you’re vulnerable/scared/lonely/helpless/anxious, but as Brenè cautions: “If you don’t name what you’re feeling, if you don’t own your feelings, and feel them, they will eat you alive.”

I’m terrible at vulnerability. Nothing makes me feel more out of control, exposed, and fragile. But that’s the lesson. We need to feel vulnerable in order to know what we’re made of, to know our worth, and see what we’re capable of.

I know this from my many years in the fitness business. After hundreds of classes and clients, I’ve seen what facing fears, powering through pain, and digging deep will do to somebody. I’ve seen the power of vulnerability take a self-doubting, fearful 80-year-old grandmother and turn her into the Bionic Woman; I’ve seen vulnerability take an overweight, self-loathing, single dad and turn him into the Six Million Dollar Man. Everything I do with my clients makes them feel vulnerable: from balancing on unstable surfaces, to releasing their egos. But I crack the whip and they beat back the vulnerability beast.

Me and vulnerability are a different story, though.

We’re “friends” right now, but it’s been a struggle. Usually I’m tough-as-nails, but when both my parents fell ill last December, all that changed. My father was diagnosed with cancer and died in January, and my mother continues to be in and out of the hospital suffering with Type-1 diabetes, pneumonia, sepsis, a broken hip, and coronavirus. As a result, I’ve been suffering too. And even though I have an insanely supportive husband, I’ve never felt more vulnerable in my life. Add in the backdrop of a pandemic, and you can see how beating back the vulnerability beast is a daily struggle for me.

How is this possible? I’m a life-long athlete, I’ve run five marathons, and was single till I was 51. If anyone knows how to tough it out, it should be me. WTF?!

I’m not sure this experience is showing me what I’m made of, but it’s sure showing me that I’m human.

The reality is, we’re all scared shitless right now. We’re all freaking the fuck out. There’s so much we have no control over, and if you’re like me, you’re fighting the feeling with everything you’ve got. But here’s the deal: “Vulnerability may be the core of shame, and fear, and our struggle for worthiness, but it also appears that it’s the birthplace of joy, creativity and love,” according to Brenè.

My hope is that when coronavirus is all over, we’ll look back at ourselves with a sense of pride. We’ll have seen what we’re made of, what our worth is, what we’re capable of, and we will be stronger people for it.

Vulnerability is the new black, so wear it well my friends.

Keeping Love Alive In The Time Of Coronavirus

If there was ever a time to rethink how we love and live, it’s now.

The coronavirus has changed life as we know it: how we live, function, do business, socialize, and date. But all is not bleak. Life will go on, and hopefully with more awareness and mindfulness. In the time of coronavirus, I think there’s a real opportunity to instill good habits and make positive changes.

SOCIAL DISTANCING: The greatest thing to happen to dating?

For someone who’s a huge fan of meeting IRL, coronavirus is really cramping my style. It’s completely thrown a wrench into my plans for people to meet the old-fashioned way. As a dating coach, I’m always telling clients to put down their phone and look up. Stop living behind your screens and engage; make eye contact, smile, talk to each other. Can’t do that now, we’re stuck inside. Social distancing was already a problem, and now people are retreating back into their devices again @#$*!

Social distancing is pissing me off, but at the same time, I know it’s teaching you single people mad skills on how to be alone with yourself (which makes me feel better).

Being alone is a big challenge for singles. It’s also a big reason why people hate being single. When you’re unable to be alone, it shows. It shows discomfort, desperation, fear, anxiousness, and lack of confidence. I’ve always said the happier and more secure/stable you are alone, you’re not only more attractive to potential partners, you’re better equipped to weather storms like the one we’re having right now.

Being stuck at home sucks, especially if you’re single. But while you’re sitting around, why not try to make friends with solitude?. Why not learn to stop needing noise and distractions, and fall in love with stillness and quiet? You may be alone for a while, so it’s excellent practice for when you’ll be back up and running again. Mastering these skills now will make you a better dater.

My secret weapon for weathering any storm where you find yourself alone, single, isolated, lonely or afraid (like after a breakup or during a pandemic), is mindful meditation and guided visualization. Nothing will make you stronger than sitting still for 10 minutes doing this:

  1. Have a seat on a couch or chair, with your back supported, hands folded in lap, eyes closed.
  2. Take a few deep breaths, from the belly up to the top of your lungs. Hold a few breaths at the top for five seconds, then fully and audibly exhale.
  3. With each exhale, drop your shoulders, and let the rest of your body release and relax.
  4. Do a body scan starting at your feet, moving up the body. Release any gripping or tension as you go. Make sure you also relax your mouth, jaw, and space between your eyebrows.
  5. Bring your awareness to your breathing, to the rise and fall of your chest. Observe it as you inhale and exhale. You’ll find your heart rate/anxiety slowing down at this point.
  6. Take your awareness outside your body for a moment, listening to the sounds around you, including the silence.
  7. Start your guided visualization.
  8. Think of all the things/people you’re grateful for. See them in your mind’s eye.
  9. Pick a few words/sentences that bring you strength, comfort, or inspiration. Like “I relax, release, let go,” or “I will be well no matter what,” or “I am strong and confident,” or “I can be alone no problemo,” or “Nothing can fuck with me.”
  10. See these words/sentences on a black screen in white type, and repeat them.
  11. Now visualize yourself doing something that brings you pride. See yourself finishing a tough task, meeting a challenge, or successfully being alone.
  12. Finally, take another few deep breaths and just be. Feel the peace and calm surround you. Open your eyes slowly, and go about your day.

I try to meditate everyday, especially when the shit is hitting the fan. The key is to make it a habit, and part of your emotional upkeep and maintenance. Meditating regularly will create changes in you to help you stay grounded–whether you’re single or coupled up.

Social distancing might not be optimal for dating, but it does force you to SLOW DOWN (another one of my faves along with mastering solitude).

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a hundred times: THERE’S NOTHING WRONG WITH TAKING YOUR TIME AND GOING SLOW. And there’s nothing like a virus floating around to make sure you do. You can’t hurry love, especially now, but you don’t have to completely isolate either. You can still connect and interact virtually, on your phone or computer.

Hello teledating!

FaceTime, Skype, or Zoom, and start meeting and greeting. Usually, I advise online daters to meet as soon as possible, because I hate endless texting and messaging. But now that we’re all sequestered, this is a great solution. You can see, hear, and get to know each other. It could be romantic, even intimate, since it’s not in a Starbucks. Pour yourself a glass of wine, put on some makeup, and treat it like a real date.

Things will get back to normal, love will survive, but to stay safe, fellow dating coach Sandy Weiner suggests taking the slow dating approach one step further in her article “Could Coronavirus Be The Best Thing To Happen To Dating?”:

“What if when we finally met, we didn’t touch—like no handshaking, kissing, or hugging? What if by keeping our hands, faces, and bodies apart for a month or two, it helped us get closer emotionally?

I believe it would be good to date during this viral epidemic. Go on more substantial dates. Less touching/more talking might help us deepen our emotional connection without the complications of adding sex to the relationship. Because we all know what happens to our common sense and ability to spot red flags once sex is in the picture.”

The coronavirus needn’t be a deal-breaker for daters. By all means, keep swiping, keep scrolling, keep putting yourself out there online, just make sure you wash your hands after, and use plenty of sanitizer too.

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Get more information on my favorite method of meditation here “Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR).