It’s undeniable how much dating has changed as we’ve more fully embraced the digital age, and especially during the Pandemic when our lives have gone fully virtual. Gone are the days of a true “blind date” and today, there are countless ways to both research a potential date as well as “communicate” prior to a first date without even talking. Dating expectations are also higher than ever, with couples often planning getaways and road trips early in a relationship since last-minute travel is easier now than ever with the introduction of homestays and flexible booking options in light of the Coronavirus pandemic.
There’s no doubt that navigating dating and creating an authentic connection in the digital age creates a unique set of challenges. Dynamics born out of digital dating create dating scenarios that our team of Denver-based therapists help clients better understand and overcome.
In this post, we’ll dive into these challenges and three ways to create an authentic connection in the digital age.
Practice Digital Minimalism
When you meet someone new, it’s easy to want to stick with low-risk forms of communication. The one that is often easiest is texting or communicating on other messaging apps. Sometimes social media even serves as the initial means of communication and connection. Unfortunately, such means of engagement creates a digital boundary that makes it more difficult to authentically connect with someone without seeing their tone and body language. Social media portrays the highlight reel of one’s life, while texting is devoid of important psychological cues about your potential of authentically connecting with someone. When you begin dating, it’s more important than ever to pick up the phone and talk with your new partner (or use video), and meet frequently in person while maintaining reasonable social distancing, rather than relying on developing a relationship based on the exchange of short text messages or social media comments.
It’s fun to plan extravagant get-togethers and fun getaways when you are getting to know someone. And, it’s easier than ever to do so with endless travel apps literally at your fingertips. However, sometimes having such distracting backdrops during your initial relationship can make it hard to decipher whether the chemistry is between one another or due to the fun surroundings - just think of how many Bachelors’ and Bachelorettes’ relationships have fallen apart after the glitzy, getaway dates of the show ended. For instance, if all your initial dates involve visiting the hippest restaurants in town and catching broadway shows (pre-Pandemic), you might be falling in love with a certain “lifestyle” rather than really connecting with the person you’re dating. Keep the type of dates simple to ensure that you focus is primarily on one another.
Drinking is another common distraction when getting to know someone more authentically. Drinking opens people up, and may also give them an excuse for what they say or do when drinking. Limit substances like alcohol and drugs to stay fully present and engaged while forming a relationship. Not to mention, limiting alcohol ensures that you don’t bend or break social distancing rules.
Create New Experiences
Sharing novel experiences can often make a relationship endure. While those new experiences don’t have to be extravagant or expensive, trying new restaurants or new types of dates can get you out of your dating rut and help you get to know a person more comprehensively. Maybe you take a cooking class, embark on a geocaching adventure, or take a walk in a historic neighborhood as a way to overcome the formality of a typical dinner date, and find a more authentic connection. Don’t be afraid to date outside the box, put away your phone, and create non-digital memories with your new partner. Not to mention, novel experiences can make a relationship “sticky” and create a deeper, more meaningful connection.
At Center for Shared Insight, we see the challenges that clients encounter trying to navigate the digital dating world, especially during the Coronavirus pandemic. Dating will continue to evolve at the rate of changing technology and having support throughout that experience can result in more satisfying relationships.