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ASK ELLIE: Trying to date during a pandemic

covid dating stock illustration
Pandemic-period dating can be creative and sustaining, if safety measures are followed by everyone involved. - 123RF Stock Photo

Q - I keep reading/hearing about people who’ve started a relationship recently, which implies that they dated during the pandemic.

How did that happen when we were all supposed to be home as much as possible with only our family and social distancing two metres (6.56 feet) apart when outside or shopping, preferably wearing face masks?

If these daters took risks for their own pleasure, what does that say about the idea of “we’re all in this together?”

Very Disappointed

A - Not everyone dated carelessly. Some people wrote me about the benefits they discovered when dating responsibly: e.g. getting acquainted online but not rushing to meet.

Many were open online about their situations – the difficulties or benefits of working at home, how they tried to keep fit, their interests in music, books, Netflix offerings, etc.

Unlike the rush to swiping for a date and perhaps having sex, too, just from spotting someone across a room, daters who took pandemic rules seriously said they got to know each other better, with more honesty and trust than in pre-COVID times.

Of course, there are always people who just don’t accept authority figures and imposed restrictions even when the numbers of infections and deaths rise.

They dismiss the scare as only for old folks. (Maybe they never knew/cared about their grandparents).

Still others feel entitled to do as they please, and raise the flag of a free society, never mind that we’ve been living through a worldwide plague.

But for those who’ve dated with care and maintained concern for any vulnerable people in each other’s families or surroundings, I salute them.

As for full-on relationships during the lockdown followed by opening up and expanding family and friendship bubbles of contact, they still require responsibility, co-operation and trust on everyone’s part.

All those couples who make it together successfully through these stages of life during a rabid virus deserve applause.


Reader’s commentary regarding the woman who caught her husband abusing their young daughter while the child was sleeping. He said it was the only time (June 29):

I didn’t get around to writing to you when I read the column. But then I realized that I wanted to tell you that because the mother "saw evidence of only one abusive incident", means only that she caught him once.

I agree that she needs to get some advice on what to do now (Ellie: regarding her now-adult married daughter who suffers depressions).

But another important general message is that if a woman finds her husband touching her child once, then she needs to protect that child (and other children) at all costs because, really, what are the odds that the mother just happened to catch the first and only time the father did it?

Another alarm went off when the writer mentioned that both her now adult children wanted to have contact with him and have him meet his grandchildren and it seldom happens.

This man should never have the opportunity to be alone around grandchildren, and this is a situation where the mother might have to (finally) tell her daughter of the past abusive incident in order to protect the grandchildren.

Despite this column referring to the letter-writer’s specific situation, other women who may encounter that situation need to know that nothing in their relationship could ever explain or excuse molesting a child. (The mother felt guilty because she thought that perhaps her "distancing" sexually from her husband led to the incident.)î


Feedback regarding the husband described by his wife as “an angry man” who yells and complains about small things, behaves “insanely” and uses a “scary” voice (July 9):

Reader: Apparently violence by men is a too common problem.

However, my recent experience was with a lady who was caring and intelligent but would have violent outbursts and be physically aggressive.

I cared a lot about her, and we agreed to go to counselling.

The outbursts continued, and she left our relationship for a personal seven-week retreat.

Because of COVID-19 and economics, she returned as a roommate for a few months.

I was amazed at the change. She no longer was angry.

She has now moved on, and I wished her the best. She’s a very complex woman who has mastered her anger.

Ellie: When it comes to anger and aggression, it’s not the gender that’s the issue, it’s the physical and emotional harm to another person.


Ellie’s tip of the day: Pandemic-period dating can be creative and sustaining, if safety measures are followed by everyone involved.


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Ellie Tesher
Ellie Tesher

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