Taking care while dating in the Covid era

We are social beings and making relationships or sustaining them is vital in our lives. In times past (before the first lockdown), people met at restaurants and other eating-places (Centenary Park made a great meeting place) but that is no more. Where will the youth meet after work for a cup of tea or mineral water as they chat up their potential partner?

The social gatherings are as good as dead and walking miles to meet a dear one seems a sacrifice too great. However, what happens to those that had just broken up? How would they meet other people? Even when phone calls might work, Ernest Kimbowa, a counsellor, says this might not be the best way to start a relationship.

“Even, social media is not helping matters because starting a new relationship is not that easy on such platforms. Moreover, many hate long distance relationships, as that is what the lockdown imposed on us, so breakups happened in hordes. That is not to say that these avenues are not worth trying,” he says.

For those that have stuck it out, to save their relationships, we have also come to appreciate that time is such a valuable item where even two seconds in one another’s company is highly valued. “It is well worth it to keep the fire burning. Otherwise, I would lose my mind not being able to see my partner for this long,” Claris Nakyeyune who is lucky to live not so far from her boyfriend, shares.

Kimbowa says a lot is changing around the dating scene. “As letters were frequent in the 90s, today, phone calls rule the dating arena with people calling as often as possible. Moreover, smartphones are no longer looked at as business tools but also for dating because this era has ushered in several dating apps for singles to connect with potential partners,” he shares. Does this set the trend for how dating will play out in the future? Only time will tell, but for now, this is how many are staying afloat.

That said, Mrs Maureen Nongo, a relationship counsellor, still roots for some face-to-face time in dating since, she says, virtual dating has lots of deception. “People tend to cover up on several fronts when there are no physical meetings and this is a recipe for breakups. There is need for people to meet physically for sometime before deciding to get married because you are putting your life into the hands of this partner. If all you know is what they have told you rather than what you have experienced, you are headed for doom,” she cautions.

Additionally, online dating comes with lots of infatuation and excitement, which can make people overlook certain things. However, Nongo says, this is unsafe because marriage is not held together only by emotions. “Knowing how marriage plays out, I would never encourage someone to meet another online and just get married. There is no point in rushing to your detriment; make time to meet your intended partner and interact, plan for the future and do life together before you commit to them,” she advises.

While Kimbowa appreciates technology revolution that has brought in real time talk, he says the downfall is it makes the world around you disappear. “Virtual dating removes all manner of accountability because it is between you and your partner and allows for all sorts of e-sexual sin such as exchange of nude pictures which might seem okay because no one else is watching,” he shares. Kimbowa asks those looking to get into relationships or are dating to allow certain principles to stay. He argues that although it is a self-glorifying world, we can never see all the good and flaws in someone without an extra eye. This ought to be someone of good repute, who cares about you and is willing to point out pertinent issues in spite of you. Therefore, in your chat window, invite this other person to help you row through the waters with a sharp eye so you do not become prey.