Living through a global pandemic has been one wild ride.
Uncertainty, loneliness, isolation, and fear have all been very present in many people’s lives throughout this whole process.
To be quite honest, at the time I’m writing this, we’re still well in the middle of watching how this pandemic will resolve, and what society will look like in the aftermath. As of now, we’re not sure when we can return to some resemblance of normal, and what that would even look like.
Things are changing day to day, and week to week. So one of the biggest things we can do now is remember the things that are most important to us.
Having said that, one thing is for certain – our desire for human connection is not going anywhere.
In the midst of all this, one area of our lives that we’ve been asked to pay close attention to is our relationships.
Who do we want to keep in touch with and how will we do it? What do the people in our lives offer us? What can we offer them? How we can continue to deepen our understanding of relationships, without all the tools we’re used to having? How can we adapt using new tools?
Right now, the questions are endless, and the unknowns are still very real. But one thing is for certain, people love to love and that’s not going anywhere.
So how will we navigate dating and relationships once we are out of quarantine?
Many people have lost loved ones, jobs, businesses, or have been totally jolted in one way or another. Life plans have altered, and timelines have been all but thrown out the window.
Many people are in a heightened state of sensitivity, and being aware of these touchy areas is an incredible way to practice compassion and empathy.
With everything being so shaken up, we’re being asked to redefine how we approach every area of our lives. When it comes to dating and relationships, we’ve been given the opportunity to be more honest, raw, and transparent.
Understanding how someone has been coping or thriving during this time, holding space for their loss and grief (for small and large things), and allowing yourself to be just as upfront about your experience are all ways to instantly lead from a place of realness.
Let’s Get Physical (Maybe?)
Human touch. Remember it?
Sweet cuddles. Nose nuzzles. That first moment of electricity when your hands accidentally graze each others. Tender kisses and drawn out embraces.
For those that have lived through quarantine single, or separated from their partner, the ache for human touch is incredibly real.
So how do we go about fulfilling such an innate human desire, necessity even, given the parameters around who we touch?
Unfortunately I don’t have the answer. So much of this depends on where you live, what the current statistics look like, and what recommendations have been given by your local government.
Physical touch, and the intuition it lights up from feeling (or not feeling) chemistry is a very real guiding factor in many relationships. With most of the world needing to limit physical contact from people outside of our home, this gives us an opportunity to connect in other ways.
While I’m all for getting physical as soon as it feels right for you and your new person, it can certainly muddy the water at times. By having to prolong this, we have more opportunities to get to know each other, to develop a friendship, and to discuss what sort of physical intimacy you want, and what that will look like.
Here are some questions you can ask each other about physical intimacy:
- What kind of physical contact do you find comforting and soothing?
- What is your ideal way of expressing physical affection with your partner?
- Are there any places on your body you don’t like to be touched?
- What guidelines do you need to set before becoming sexual?
Really, this is something that we should always be talking about. With children. With partners. With family and friends. Everyone has different wants, desires, and boundaries around physical touch – here’s your opportunity to discuss them while in the dating phase.
Enjoy The Process
At the end of the day, one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves and others is joy.
Through all the world has been through in recent months, the human capacity for joy has stayed the same.
Having fun with another person, sinking into giggle fits, revealing the deepest parts of yourself to another human – this is what it’s all about.
How can you make the most with whoever is in front of you? How can you have a deeper experience of connection and joy?
However, you choose to navigate dating after quarantine, give yourself the gift of grace. As our idea of normalcy has shifted, so may your approach to life. It may be time to throw guidelines, rules, and expectations out the window, and approach your love life with a fresh lens.
Natasha (she/they) is a full spectrum doula, reproductive health content creator, and sexual wellness consultant. Her work focuses on deconstructing the shame, stigma, and barriers people carry around birth, sex, and beyond, to help people navigate through their lives with more pleasure, softness, and sensuality. You can connect with Natasha on IG @spectrumoflovedoula.