How to date authentically in this new era

Dating has changed. Face-to-face dating has made a comeback in some places, but it may be a long time before everything gets back to normal. In many parts of the world, some form of social distancing remains in place and a lot more dating is happening electronically than before the coronavirus. By the time we meet someone in real life, we may have got to know them quite well online. This new landscape has its challenges and its opportunities. So how do we avoid the pitfalls and make the most of what this new reality has to offer?

One way to navigate this new era of dating successfully is to manage our boundaries as best we can right from the start.

I know from experience that it’s very tempting to dive deeply into a potential relationship before we know much about the other person. This is even more likely to happen when online and video-based conversations continue for weeks or months before an in-person date. It’s tempting to share too much of ourselves – to divulge our entire back stories before we even meet. This over-sharing can create a sense of intensity that’s incredibly enticing and can be exciting, but it isn’t based on reality. What once felt really intense may soon fizzle out.

I also know how easy it is to build up a picture of a person in our heads, especially when communicating virtually. We can create an idea of someone or imagine our future with that person, based on our conversations, but we may find there’s no connection when we meet them in real life. This can be hugely deflating and disappointing for us, and it can also be hurtful to the other party if we’ve created false expectations.

We can avoid these pitfalls if we are aware of them. Simply knowing the risks of sharing too much or of creating a fantasy image of a date is helpful. And if we can set boundaries for ourselves at the start around how much we share and how much we allow our minds to wander, even better. When we start writing the script of a Hollywood romcom in our heads, we can shout ‘Cut!’ rather than continuing to make a movie out of our thoughts.

We can also avoid these pitfalls with honest, authentic conversations. Why not talk about these risks on phone or video calls? Talk about how easy it would be to get carried away before meeting face-to-face. Talk about the fact that both parties are simply gathering information, to see if there’s a connection. Acknowledge that it’s entirely possible that there won’t be a connection in real life. Talk about the dangers of raising false hopes. Perhaps ask whether your date is chatting to other people online, or explain that you are doing that. This allows for clear communication right from the beginning. It will save time and spare heartache later.

We can also correct course quickly if we go off track. If we find we’ve shared too much of ourselves or the other person has over-shared, we can discuss this together, and agree to slow down and keep things light until we meet. All of these conversations require courage, vulnerability and emotional maturity, as well as lots of self-esteem and self-worth. Our ability to hold these conversations in the early stages of a potential relationship is a sign of our ability to maintain a healthy partnership over the long-term. We will also be more likely to discern emotionally available people if we are willing to be vulnerable and real, while maintaining good boundaries.

Ahead of a face-to-face meeting, it’s helpful to agree to some shared ground rules. How long would you like the date to last? Do you prefer to meet indoors or outdoors? Are both parties willing to respect the social distancing guidelines in place where you meet? It can be a shock when someone offers their hand for a shake or opens their arms for a hug, so try to discuss boundaries in advance as people interpret the guidelines differently.

As for opportunities, the coronavirus and social distancing measures have slowed dating down in a big way, which, for many of us, is a good thing. Although face-to-face meetings are important, it’s incredibly helpful to practice authenticity, vulnerability and clear conversations virtually, without the pressures of a face-to-face meeting or the hormones that inevitably kick in when we’re around someone we find attractive.

So make the most of the slower pace, especially if you’re someone who tends to rush into relationships. And also use the space in between dates to keep building your relationship with yourself and with God, so that you are ready to discern the right man or woman for you when the time comes.

5 Old-Fashioned Ideas For Modern Love Relationships

It is an assumption by many today, that old-fashioned ideas about relationships would not suit modern dating at all.  Looking back in time, there were very good ideas about how to keep romance strong. If you want to try those old-fashion ideas, consider these tried and tested ways to rekindled that spark in your relationship.

1 – Love Notes: In the world of quick texts and social media, the personal communication that couples use to connect, like writing, has been lost. Ramp up the romance with old-fashioned love notes. Invest in some special paper or small cards. Write out your thoughts and feelings. Then leave the note in a special place, where your partner will find it. For example, a handwritten note left on the kitchen counter is a lovely touch.

2 – Chivalry is Not Dead: Not only is chivalry not dead, but the modern twist on this age-old classic is still very effective at showing how much you care about the person that special to you. Men want to feel protective of their partner. They want to demonstrate their love in tangible ways, such as, hold doors open, help with a jacket or coat, or offer a hand in a chore.

3 – Handkerchief Dropping: This is not about tossing your tissues on the ground. Well-bred ladies use to “accidentally” let their handkerchief fall when they walked past a man who held there interest. This let him know that she welcomed his advances. Modern relationships work when people of any gender use obvious yet subtle hints that they are interested in someone else. Do not sit around waiting for the other person to make a move. It may never come. And you may lose out on someone who could have enrich your life with experiences.

4 – Traditional Gender Roles:
For some it brings to mind a woman at home cooking and cleaning, taking care of the children, and similar stereotypical activities, waiting for her husband to return home from work. This concept of marriage for most couples is unwanted in this modern area. But, there are those who still cling to the old-fashioned idea of what gender roles used to provide for men and women. Contrary to belief, it has never went out of style for some. Even though in marriage, both tend to work full-time, the wife is still expected to do the majority of the housekeeping and cooking. There are some who do make an effort to share the household responsibility. This gives them more time together to enjoy the things they like best, like date night, or staying home and having a romantic evening with a candlelit dinner. Or looking at movies together, playing games, things that keep the relationship fresh and satisfying for both.


5 – Old-Time Date Ideas: Avoid falling into the same old date night ideas. Consider some old fashion ideas that generate lots of fun, is very romantic, and inexpensive to pursue. For example: what about a picnic at the park? Time at a diner or café together, sipping on milkshakes? Or staying at home and reading your favorite book to each other. Modern love does not require technology, nor the latest trends, or expensive getaways to stay romantic.

Is Marriage Still Important?

In these modern times it seems that the concept of marriage is becoming rather old fashioned. We live in a fast paced world of disposable commodities and instant solutions which seems to be contrary to working at a long term relationship and then you have the modern society’s relationship with the church and religion. So is marriage still important to us? Let’s take a look and find out.

For those who still believe in marriage it is clear that they want to wait a little longer before they tie the knot than past generations. This may be viewed by some as an indicator of a lessening interest in getting married but others would argue that it’s a good thing that people take the time to make sure that they have found the right person who they want to spend the rest of their life with and not just rushing into it. This shows a respect for marriage but this respect is not shared by all. We’re Getting Married Older.

Bad Celebrity Example

When it comes to respecting the sanctity of marriage celebrities have a lot to answer for. There are countless short lived celebrity marriages that gain lots of publicity, often the pop stars and actors involved have only known each other for a short while and have rushed into getting married and then they rush into divorce equally quickly when it doesn’t work out. This sets a terrible example to the rest of the world who look up to these people as role models and it is telling of our modern societies inability to work at something and attempt to fix it when the easier option is just to give up and move on.

Do We Mean Our Vows?

It is true that society in general is becoming less religious and reliant on the church and so can we still trust that people who decide to get married and make vows to God actually believe in what they are saying? Do people abstain from adultery because they have made a promise in front of God or is it their own morale code that keeps them from straying? Many people would argue that they don’t need to make vows in a church to prove how much they love each other and choose to remain unmarried partners their whole lives. So is the church’s lack of influence a factor in the falling number of marriages?

It’s Still A Fairy-tale Ending

For the majority of us and especially women marriage is still a fairy-tale day where we get to dress up and declare our love in front of all our friends and family and as long as this is the case there will still be weddings but are we willing to work at the marriage when all of the glamour has gone and real life kicks in? Time will only tell if marriage as an institution will last but for now it’s still alive.

Noel Jones is a wedding photographer. He has taken wedding photo album pictures at hundreds of weddings and he hopes that most of them have lasted.