FODA stands for the Fear Of Dating Again, and with all that single people trying to establish a life-long relationship have dealt with throughout the pandemic, FODA is at an all-time high. Over the past year, singles have had to shut down dating all together or learning how to maneuver the new landscape a midst everything around them shutting down and the isolation that came hand-in-hand with it all.
As things begin to open back up, hopefully laving COVID-19 far behind us as a thing of the past, singles see hope on the horizon. However, many are afraid to reach out to in-person dates again. Many are ambivalent about going back to what they once considered to be normal.
From crowd anxiety to a general fear of socializing, many are experiencing FODA, the Fear Of Dating Again. The uncertainty that came with 2020 will most likely carry over into the near future even as the rest of the world begins to open up again. And, it is completely understandable to feel hesitant or apprehensive about dating again.
After coming through a year of a pandemic that brought death, isolation, stress, and social upheaval, many feel as if the dating environment has changed. When facing a new year, there are many potential obstacles. On top of everything else, now single people will need to think about their date’s comfort level when it comes to COVID.
So, how does a single person know whether or not they’re ready to date again? First, ask yourself whether or not you have the energy to pursue it. Dating again may involve actively seeking a match on a dating app, talking with new people through texting, or Zoom interactions. It may even mean venturing out to be face-to-face, in person, distanced or not.
If you feel as though you are ready to start dating again, assess your intentions. Do you want to find a life-long partner, or are you looking for someone to accompany you to a one-time event? Once you understand what your intention and goals are, you will need to figure out your COVID comfort level and make plans to stay as safe as possible. For some, this may mean only dating fully vaccinated people. For others, it may mean only going on dates outside. Others may choose to throw all restrictions aside.
Bringing up the subject of COVID comfort levels doesn’t have to be an awkward discussion. It is perfectly fine to expect a potential lifelong partner to respect your boundaries and feelings on the matter. Regardless of your level of comfort, it is important that the two of you see eye-to-eye on the matter or that you at least respect the other’s desires.
It is also okay if you are not ready to move forward with dating just yet. You are not alone. Many now suffer social anxiety even more so than before the pandemic.
One thing the pandemic taught us is that there are many creative ways to connect and get to know each other without being physically together. The most important thing to remember is to be honest with yourself and with your potential partner.
Be patient with yourself. If all you are feel comfortable doing right now in terms of dating feels like baby steps, then take baby steps to ease into the dating scene again. Nobody is expecting you to plunge back in full force.
Everyone is coming out the other side of this pandemic as a different person. Our priorities have shifted a bit. After all, if we learned nothing from our isolation over the past year, then that is sad. Allow yourself to feel that FODA without regret, but don’t let it paralyze you or keep you from finding a forever love or companionship.