I’m 33, single, and facing the most depressing day in the most depressing year I’ve ever known - Valentine’s Day during COVID-19!
It’s bad enough that I had to leave the workplace I loved and co-workers who were also my friends, to work from home alone in a small condo, while isolating from parents/friends other than for a distanced outdoor walk (in winter!).
Almost a year later, I’m still alone, having had no luck at finding a partner through online dating. The guys whose profiles I liked or matched didn’t respond, or wanted to meet in person right away, which felt too risky.
Before this nightmare, my workmates and I would’ve made a fuss about Valentine’s Day and brought enough chocolates to the office to perk up everyone’s libido. Especially during the times when I had a boyfriend to be with after work.
Now, February 14 is a bust for singles like me. Just another reason to feel miserable.
It’s a self-imposed “bust” you can turn around. The date isn’t anywhere as meaningful as Christmas with its layers of family and spiritual traditions through centuries. It ‘s also not akin to New Year’s Day, with its renewed incentive for making positive changes in your life.
The Valentine’s Day you mourn is a commercial construct, not the Feast Day of Saint Valentine. Like countless romance-seekers, you’ve bought into the modern tradition of sending cards for a Hallmark-hyped day of love.
“It’s only one day,” says New York-based Meredith Golden, a dating coach with the bona fides of a professional psychotherapist. “This year, during Covid, everyone should be kinder to themselves.”
She adds, if singles are negative or have dating fatigue, they should take a short break from dating.
But she believes dating online is the only way to start dating during a pandemic. And her practicality about the ups and downs of the process is very different from dating app promotions.
She’ll say to a client, “So you had two for two of the guys you liked ghost you? Look at the positives... what if you had six guys online... you’d now be ahead with four of them!”
I’m bringing Golden’s approach to my readers because of her updated take on how phone dating apps now work best. After some 20 years of “internet dating” becoming commonplace, she realized she was “good at it” and sells her expertise to clients as their “ghostwriter” on the apps.
Here are some free tips:
Your first photo is what gets you your match. So, don’t wear a hat and sunglasses.
The description of yourself is to open a conversation, e.g. “I love tennis” moves the chat forward. Selling yourself, does not.
Messaging is only a screening tool, not a connection for dating.
Being on the app with someone is not “dating.” It’s just to connect. After 3-to-4 days, convert to video chat. You’ll get more information about someone in 10 minutes about whether you want to meet them in person (and feel safe), than in four months of writing.
With video chat, if you feel doubts, chat 10 minutes then find a reason to end it. If it’s going well, 30 minutes is long enough. You can next meet in person if you wish. Discuss what’s necessary for you re: masks and distancing.
To “Bah, Humbug” - You have a lifetime of Valentine’s Days ahead. There’s still time now to celebrate the people you love - your best friend, colleagues, family, on FaceTime.
Reader’s Commentary Regarding the man unhappy in his marriage who repeatedly caved in to his then-girlfriend’s manipulated efforts to live with and then marry him (January 22):
“A similar thing happened to my adult brother, who, during a stopover on his way back from a work contract overseas, had a one-night stand with a woman, and returned home here.
“Six months later “she” turned up on his doorstep and refused to leave. Through manipulation, emotional extortion and sexual favours she slowly took over his life, isolating my brother from his daughters, his sisters and mother.
“Over 20 years she’s caused complete estrangement through malicious gossip, shunning and ostracizing, between my brother and his family.
“The letter-writer who had the misfortune to get stuck in his marriage needs to get therapy, legal advice and extract himself. I sincerely hope that they don’t bring children into such an emotionally toxic, controlling environment.”
Tip of the day:
Singles: Try a smarter, slicker approach to dating apps.