A Manhattan matchmaker has shared her top tips on how to date in the time of the coronavirus.
Julia Bekker advised singles to enjoy wine and cheese night video dates but urged those looking for a relationship to avoid getting too intimate (over the phone) during the pandemic. The matchmaker and dating-and-relationship coach also predicted that many couples will not survive the challenge of self-isolating together.
“The coronavirus is definitely going to affect real-life interactions — we simply can’t meet each other right now,” said Bekker, who has worked in the matchmaking industry for over 15 years.
Dating will look quite different in the age of coronavirus, but it doesn’t need to stop entirely.
“A lot of people are feeling lonely and wish they had quarantine partners. For some singles, 2020 was the year they were going to take action in their dating lives. And now, for reasons beyond their control, it has come to a halt.”
Bekker believes that there may be a frenzy of activity on dating apps, as people feel bored and lonely during self-isolation.
“If more people are signing up to dating apps, it’s because they are taking this time to explore,” said Bekker, who offers advice and matchmaking services at www.huntingmaven.com.
She added that if you feel ready for a relationship, quarantine may be the perfect time to see who is out there.
“It would be a great time for people who are looking for a relationship to sign up to the apps — why not utilize this time getting to know someone and building a rapport with them? The anticipation of meeting after talking for so long will be a great buildup and add some excitement to quarantine.”
Julia recommended FaceTime dates and advised people to make an effort with their appearance, even for a virtual date.
“Show up on FaceTime as you would to any date. Don’t overdo it and wear a tight dress and heels if that is not your usual style, but look presentable,” she recommended. “Make the dates fun. You could have a wine and cheese night, and maybe on your second or third date, you could throw some wigs on and make a party of it.”
Julia Bekker, who has worked in the matchmaking field for 15 years, advises against meeting for dates in person — even if you both plan to stay six feet apart. “Are they going to stay six feet apart? Who are they kidding?”
But she cautioned against engaging in virtual sexual activity if you’re searching for a relationship.
“Why would you have phone sex when you haven’t had regular sex?” she asked. “If your intention is to be in a relationship, I would say no. If you just want to have fun, I would say sure, get your rocks off. It depends on what your intentions are.”
Bekker also warned against new couples flouting quarantine rules and meeting up, even if they intend to stay the recommended 6 feet away from each other.
“Are they going to stay 6 feet apart? Who are they kidding?” she said. “I don’t think if you meet a stranger in person you are going to stay that distance apart.”
For those already in relationships, Bekker expressed concern about how couples would fare stuck in close quarters for weeks, if not months.
“It depends on how small their apartments are,” Bekker laughed. “This could be a challenge for couples who live together.”
“I also think people who are single are looking at couples and thinking the grass is always greener,” she added. “They wish they had partners to go through this with but it definitely creates a challenge for partners not to get at each other’s throats.”
Bekker said some of her clients have decided to stop dating altogether during the pandemic, and she also worried about fledgling relationships that would not survive the coronavirus.
“Some of my new clients who are still single and hired me just before the coronavirus lockdown have decided that they want to wait until the world is normal again and we are not in such a downward spiral. They are not in the mindset to date because their businesses are taking a hit right now,” she said.
“Some clients have just met new people and they have to set a pause on going on their fourth or fifth date, so that’s going to slow things down for them. Relationships fade when a person is not in front of your face. Things have the ability to fizzle if you don’t keep the momentum going.”
“It would be a great time for people who are looking for a relationship to sign up to the apps — why not utilize this time getting to know someone and building a rapport with them?” Bekker said of the many dating apps available these days.
The New York City Health Department had already issued guidelines for sex during the coronavirus outbreak earlier this week, and advised residents that their best sexual partner was themselves.
The second-best partner was someone in the same household, prompting many New Yorkers to take to social media, advising people to have flings with their roommates. But Bekker warned against this idea, saying that you wouldn’t want to risk a friendship with a roommate for pandemic sex.
“I don’t think sleeping with your roommate is a good idea unless you actually have feelings for them. It could create a lot of friction and tension and awkwardness. Eventually, we are going to come out of the coronavirus haze and into reality. Don’t do anything with permanent consequences in a temporary situation.”
But the matchmaker rallied singles to remember that life will return to normal, and she expected summer to be “madness,” with people “itching to get out there”.
“I think that is when dating apps will pick up and hopefully my business will, too.”