breaking laws dating COVID19
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Dating during COVID19, are you breaking the rules?

Dating in a world of COVID19 with rules on social distancing is difficult. A love-relationship develops differently, everything seems exaggerated and some countries go beyond the rule of social distancing and make laws on meeting new people and dating. Especially in Europe, these rules may conflict with your desire to be together or have date nights.

When my Mexican boyfriend and I met the world was struggling with COVID19, In Mexico, the rule of Sana Distancia just became active about 2 weeks prior to our first chat. We met on Facebook dating.

I was very reluctant at first, having had a turbulent year of trying to find a Prince Charming in Mexico I discovered that most Mexican men consider themselves single in one State only to be married with kids in another. Add to that my own trust issues, and you have a strong selection process not many pass.

My date did only tick one box, he wrote in his profile he wanted to talk, to connect with people. He liked my profile, but since he did not have a profile picture, he would be swiped left in the first viewing.
But somehow I did not. Tired of being liked by Superman, Batman, Mickey Mouse, Mother Mary and beer advertisement, I asked him why he kept his identity hidden and used a Tiger as a profile picture.

He was quick to correct that, by giving me his Whatsapp number so I could see his profile picture.

And so it started.

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Do not confuse feeling in love with the Stockholm Syndrom

Three months now, only three months, but due to the COVID19 and all that is happening in the world, it feels like I know him much longer. We kind of focus on each other in an intense way.
So intense that I sometimes wonder if my feelings are honest or that I suffer from Stockholm Syndrome, where one develops feelings for one’s captivator. But my online date was not my captivator, although he was at days my sole contact with the outside world.

Over a year ago I decided I wanted to do a motorcycle trip through Mexico. And being in the process of getting all the paperwork ready and gearing up for my trip, COVID19 happened. And now I am stuck, due to bureaucracy and instability in travel opportunities.

And now I am dating. My whole future may turn out different from what I planned. Once more a lesson in flexibility and living in the moment.

He and I had 1 chance to meet, due to his changing work and having a stopover in my cities bus station. So we met. An awkward meeting with 1.5 meter and face-masks, that we sometimes removed to see each-others facial expressions while talking. The meeting lasted half an hour but that was enough to confirm that what we thought we felt online existed also in “real life”. So we decided to continue our online dating.

He has been in quarantine at work, and I am in lockdown in my home. For over 3 months.

What would we do after his lockdown is lifted?

With the rule of Sana Distancia still active in Mexico, dating is controversial. I do know Mexicans still date, and hook-up pages still have questions for sex meetings, but not as much as before SARS-Cov2. So I guess it is a matter of two groups of people, those that obey the social distancing and those that think they are above the rules.

Which group are we? We talked about it and decided that if he were to continue to work in my city and we would be still dating when he gets out, we will move in together. Just to avoid any future craziness like we see happening all over the world where people were not allowed to live together or meet due to the “new normal”.

Him being 48 and me being 59 years old, helps in that decision. We are not in our primes and we do not have a lifetime to wait this out. And the facts that we both have been in lockdown and follow the sanitation rules closely and Mexico not having a law that forbids meeting new people yet, we came to this agreement.

Research has proven that COVID19-relationships developed with the speed of light

But that is fucking fast and scary. I have not lived with a partner for over 15 years. So how to adjust in a small studio of barely 25m2? With a man, I hardly know? Only time will tell, we are not there yet.

But it scares the hell out of me, I tell you that! Him not having a profile picture, only wanted to talk to women, not really dating, to me he shows all the signs of being in a relationship somewhere with someone. I have to make the mental decision to trust him not to hurt my feelings. My background check on him did not ease my mind one bit. But meeting him did. I cannot believe you can fake your feelings to that extend. But to let him into my life after such a short period, without real meetups? Scary.

Lucky for me we get to meet irregularly as a couple, so I can get used to him a bit to ease my occasional panic about the warp speed we move in.  I think all COVID19 relationships move fast. Much faster than any dating-advise website can advise you on.

I find that different from general dating advice and stages:

We do not stick to the honeymoon phase or the third date sex rule, or the date night fun tips.
We create our own plan of dating since there are no fun dates to be planned because half the world is closed and parks and beaches are off-limits. We get to know each other in a world that has seemed to come have come to a halt while we keep moving forward.

Being a control freak, I struggle with everything. Not only COVID19 and the new normal, but also everything  I believed in when it comes to (long-distance) relationships and dating in a different culture in general. I struggle with my past experiences and scars and everything seems to be exaggerated.
The insecurities seem bigger in a world that is changing fast, the anxiety at times is overwhelming but so is the intensity of what we feel when we are together.

I believe dating during COVID19 and lockdown does that with you.

More and more stories pop-up about people that have met during COVID19 and how intense their (online) relationship has become.

What has changed when you date during or after COVID19

Let me sum up what in my belief is different when you are dating during COVID19:

  • the app contact is more intense
  • the need for contact is emphasized, we always need most what we are deprived of
  • the need for sexting increased since we lack physical touch in daily life
  • the intensity of getting to know each other seems increased, so many more questions are asked than before in a higher tempo, you want to know for sure that this is the guy you want to share your nudes with or less pressing, want to take your dating site profile down for.
  • the feelings are out of proportion, due to the lack of physical meetings
  • the stages of dating do not seem to apply since you move at a new speed with a new intensity.

What are the dangers of dating during COVID19

  • that due to the haste of matching you forget your privacy and own wish list
  • that you build an image of a person that does not match in real life
  • that you are not really in love with a person but with the idea of a person
  • that you move too fast for your own comfort
  • that boundaries of your comfort-zone are being stretched
  • that you become overly anxious
  • that you break the COVID19 local rules without “the talk”

Having “the talk” has changed

Was talking about exclusiveness a thing before, now dating during social distancing it has an extra dimension to it. The talk also becomes about health risks and willing to break rules. In some countries even the willingness to break laws.

You both have to agree on the conditions of breaking social distancing and how to behave when you are not together, to keep each other safe. So your contacts are not only about being exclusive and safe sex but also about laws and sanitization rules.

Since my boyfriend and I think the same about the social distancing, the sanitization and the use of face-masks and due to his line of work, we feel we are good. He adds some safety measurements to my set and so we keep each other and ourselves safe.

That talk about safety and health almost seemed entwined with the exclusive talk.

And when you are really sure you are doing good and you are on the same page, moving in together is the next step. Especially when your country has not set any future rules or even laws on social distancing and dating yet. Because it is always easier to split up and go separate ways than to move in together once the rules for the new normal are in place.

Do you want to break the laws for love?

There are countries in the world, where you get a penalty for being together when you do not share the same household. People break laws to be together. That is insane, you cannot put everything on hold just because of a virus nobody yet understands fully. So I believe it is up to you. The two of you, how to deal with this.

He and I, we have had our talks, made our decisions and have our meetings, if the Mexican government sets rules on dating and meeting new people, by law, we were ahead of things.

If your government has set laws on dating and meeting new people, you have to be aware of the consequences when you decide to break those laws. That is up to you and not for me to decide.

But I do believe that fear should not be a factor to not continue dating after the lockdown is lifted. The only reason not to continue is that you are not a match. If you are a match you have to find a work-around for dating in the new norma. The extent to how far that workaround goes for the both of you is up to you.

Are you willing to break rules and maybe even laws for love?

Jeanette, a Dutch female nomad, started to travel the world at the age of 17. Walker of beaches, shell searcher and iPhone photographer. Writer and owner of two websites Currently, she lives in Mexico. She is an emigration coach and works online.

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