I’m single and in my late 30s … Pandemic dating is so hard…
What is safe protocol for dating when you are in that “multiple first date” space because you haven’t found someone you want to go on multiple dates with yet?”
Dating is hard in the best of times! Once you factor in a pandemic, financial uncertainty, family stress, and well, everything else going on in the world, finding romance is especially difficult.
Individual circumstances matter and physical intimacy can get complicated quickly. To keep it simple, we are going to focus on the relative safety of various ideas for FIRST dates, in which there is not yet any discussion of exclusivity. If you don’t know if your date is seeing other people, you should assume they are.
For the first date, the same old basic concepts of social distancing apply – Outdoors is better than indoors; Masked is better than unmasked; Fewer people is better than more people.
Our graphic provides guidelines only. As you get to know someone and want to spend more time together, additional dates will require reevaluation of risk and possible bubble arrangements. We encourage you to openly discuss your potential exposures and concerns with your date. In fact, your date may be relieved you brought this topic up, because it’s one way to gauge how well your personalities and risk-taking tendencies match up…or not! Communication is key here.
Vaccination and natural immunity may make some people feel that they can take more risks. However, due to breakthrough infections from the more infectious recent variants and waning immunity over time, we can’t assume full protection from the vaccine.
In short, for the first date, both partners should act as though they are potential exposures to the other. If both individuals are two weeks beyond both doses of the vaccine, they may be willing to take more risks and should discuss this in advance. You should always consider who else you will be around, both before, during and after the date. There is still a risk that the virus could be passed between two people asymptomatically, and in turn transmitted to unvaccinated colleagues, friends, or household members, such as roommates.