As people dust the social cobwebs from their sweatpants, it’s plain to see that all that pandemic social distancing has changed dating. Professional matchmaker and relationship expert Cristina Morara of Stellar Hitch helped clients navigate the already rocky waters of dating since way before the pandemic started. The pandemic amped up the challenges, but Morora says that shuttered period has redefined dating in good ways.
With the remote work movement came the opportunity to be anywhere.
“It’s opened up options with my clients and opened the pool of people that I can tap into nationwide,” she says. And more than ever, “People are willing to move to find love."
Scratch the 5-star restaurant for a bike ride
Over the course of the pandemic, roughly half of Morara's clients Zoomed, but the rest opted for in-person, outdoor and socially distanced outings.
“It's less about the venue and more about the connection," she says. "We did walks on the beach, dogs walks and hiking. The bells and whistles are nice, but they're focusing on the whole purpose of getting to know someone. You can do that on a simple walk.”
You can't just wing it. "Figure out ahead of time what you want this person to know about you in an hour, and they’ll be encouraged to do the same when they sense that," she says.
Know your deal breakers
"When you determine what those five to six fundamental principles are that you cannot live without, then you can find those in someone else," she says. "Those might include lifestyle, politics, religion or the desire to start a family. If you can meet people intentionally who share the majority of your core values, you'll be wasting less time."
Keep it real
"Authenticity needs to be the only currency in dating. Sometimes people mistake that with letting it all hang, but that couldn't be further from the truth. If it's going to be a valuable relationship, they'll figure out who you are eventually, so you may as well go in genuine from the start," she says. "The pandemic shows us it takes too much energy to be someone you're not. A mistake I see is when people spend more energy on trying to appear perfect or be what they think their date wants to see. When you operate like that, you won't have an authentic experience. Don’t try to appeal to the masses because it just takes one."
More space and grace
"Look for the good and you'll find it. Look for the bad and you'll find it. What often happens is people are on a date and there are nine things going well, but the one thing that might not be perfect is the one thing people focus on. Give people more chances," Morara says. "You're not ordering up a high-tech gadget you can control and manipulate. This is another human being with their own experiences. This has been a tough year and you don't know what people have been through."
Keep it light
Shuttering up made some people socially awkward. "I tell clients to keep it light and playful. Ultimately it's been a heavy time, but try to find the levity and the laughter because that's what we've missed out on. There's plenty of time for the deep stuff. All you have to do is see if you're curious to see the other person again," she says. "People are chomping at the bit to reconnect and have meaningful conversations. The pandemic has taught us what truly matters in life, and it’s a beautiful opportunity for people to do things differently when it comes to dating."