What do I do now…
There is nothing like the feeling of waking up and seeing your name in my inbox! Especially when all the rest of my messages are about closures, social distancing or from the individuals I set up, who are scared and lost in this time. And not surprisingly, you are not the only who wrote to ask me this question.
While we are all scared and lost, I know it is those individuals, who are dating, who are hurting the most. I have gotten every single one of these questions in the last few days: ‘I don’t think I can take a break from dating, I am going to go out anyways… When will I date again? How will I date? Is anyone dating? Is it worth trying to start something over the phone or FaceTime? Is he just lonely and texting me now bc of what’s going on, I hadn’t heard from him in the last 2 weeks, I thought it was over. How many months will this set me back? I am dating someone but it’s new, will I lose him as things might fizzle out if we can’t see each other? Why is it when I finally like a girl and she likes me back and is normal, there’s coronavirus. We are in a long distance relationship and can’t fly right now but we had a fight the last time we were together, how can I smooth things over, over the phone or FaceTime. My parents in Israel were supposed to fly in to meet her parents so we can move our relationship to the next level, what do I do now? I wanted to propose, should I now, considering we can’t have a L’Chaim or celebrate with our friends and family and when could we even plan a wedding? Will I still be able to have my wedding in June?’
Yet, with all these fears, everyone seems to have renewed passion and determination to keep dating and not let the current climate take away the basic need for love and companionship, especially when they need it the most.
Now, as Americans move from denial to acceptance, as the initial shock wears off and the new norms of how we will live our lives for the next several weeks or months settles in, those dating must also rewrite their stories.
As a shadchan, in the last week, my phone seems to be ringing just as much as before. Just with a slightly different urgency now. I have set up many dates planned with no expectation of an in-person meeting anytime soon, but phone and FaceTime/Skype date. I have set up a couple who unbeknownst to them, live in the same apartment building and are able to date in person. I have couples still looking for places to meet in person, many dates that went out in person Friday, motzei shabbos and are going again today but have come to an understanding that he cannot come to pick her up or treat her to dinner, often settling for just a walk in the park together. I have many in the medical profession who cannot date because of their exposure to the virus or simply exhausted with no time for themselves with all the burdens of being our medical care system. Or some terrified to even take a date waiting on their own Covid-19 test results back. I have reports of countless individuals creating and reactivating their online dating profiles and downloading apps for the first time or redownloading those they had deleted. They miss human company with their offices and Shuls closed and all social events cancelled, craving someone to talk to. And for once, those dating apps where people would swipe and text and receive no responses are getting responses and phone numbers exchanged and phone calls taking place. Things have not slowed down on my desk at all.
Additionally, as a dating coach, I am going call waiting to call waiting with questions of how to use this time to better prepare for when dating goes back to normal. How to clean up one’s social media, purging Facebook and Instagram of photos that no longer reflect who they are and writing new and improved dating profiles. What should I talk about over text with a new prospect, what should we discuss on a phone date? How exactly does a first date over FaceTime work, how long should it be, what should I wear? How many hours should we speak on the phone a week knowing we may not meet each other in person for weeks or months. Should we be exclusive?
Now, no matter who we are or what our stage in life, everyone is taking a step back from their hectic daily lives and reflecting on what really matters, core values, all externalities and superficialities are now being set aside. In dating, more than ever, individuals are focusing on what is perfect for them, not perfect, but perfect for you. The standards set by social media, Instagram influencers, etc., no longer seem quite as much the rule, as they may have only a few short days ago. Health and family suddenly seems so much more important than it did just last week.
We the Jewish people have persisted through so much in history and no matter what, have always found a way to rise up and continue to grow our Jewish families and to multiply. I daven that Hashem continue to give myself and all other Jewish matchmakers, and the individuals dating themselves, the strength to persist, in these scary days and nights, despite being “socially distanced” to help everyone find their perfect match today so that they too may wake up to see a name pop-up on their phone that brings a smile to their eyes.
May Hashem bring an end to this virus immediately, for all of us.