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Love in Lockdown

by Voices Wellness 07 Aug 2020
(Photo by Gustavo Fring from Pexels)

How to spark a romantic connection in pandemic times. By DIANA LAM. 

The dating scene can be challenging and pretty frustrating in regular times. Throw COVID-19 in the mix and you can see how it gets complicated, quickly. Singletons now face a dating scene that needs to be respective of lockdowns, quarantine, and social distancing measures. That puts a damper on romance.

Yet that has not stopped singles from trying to make a romantic connection. Many are still hopeful that love is just around the corner. Or at least one swipe away, via online dating apps such as Tinder, Bumble, or Hinge. It’s not that misery loves company, rather it stems from a desire to connect.

According to Kennes Lin, a clinician and registered social worker providing individual and family therapy in the Greater Toronto area, “Reduced social contact and isolation in quarantine has brought out a range of emotions for everyone, including boredom, irritation, confusion, fear and anxiety.” 

While these feelings set up the stage for issues to arise, she says they also elicit “a desire for new experiences, deeper personal connections and more meaningful conversations.”

The impersonal nature of online dating apps are not always conducive in generating deep personal connections and meaningful conversations. Easy, yet also superficial, the connections swing in favour of quantity over quality.   

But in the current clime where socialising norms have been disrupted, online romance apps have become the default for potential love. As such, it’s worth taking a more vested approach, to develop deeper connections with your swipe matches. 

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While physical masks are still on, the right questions can help unmask your true love. (Photo by Gustavo Fring from Pexels)

The language of love 

Can two strangers fall in love by asking the right questions? Yes, according to a research study published in 1997, by Dr Arthur Aron, a psychologist and relationship researcher. His research team designed a series of 36 questions, followed by four minutes of eye contact, that would create closeness between two random people. It comprises three sets of questions, that gradually escalate in intensity (read more personal). As you allow yourself to open up and be vulnerable to someone, it accelerates intimacy between two people. It premises that mutual self-disclosure is critical in building relationships. That fosters friendship, romance, and can also result in marriage. 

Now 36 questions can be intense to get through on a regular date. In these challenging times, we suggest easing up on the pressure. We’ve whittled down the famed list and zeroed in on three conversation starters (one from each of the original set of questions) to steer Cupid’s bow along. 

These questions will help you move away from asking someone what they’ve been during quarantine – enough of that – and focus on what is more thoughtful and telling:

Set 1: What constitutes a “perfect” day for you?

Set 2: What is your most treasured memory? 

Set 3: Share an embarrassing moment in your life. 

Reciprocal self-disclosure will accelerate intimacy and bonds between two people. (Photo by Kristina Litvjak on Unsplash)

Ask and Tell

The first two questions help you learn what this potential partner enjoys doing, and the moments they value most. Lin reminds us that this is key because “connections are fostered through mutual respect for one another’s interests, likes and dislikes, and more importantly shared values.”

Therefore, their answer to these questions can help determine whether the two of you will enjoy spending time together, and whether there’s potential there to create new treasured memories. 

The third question is one that can be both fun and difficult, seeing how most of us would prefer to sweep our embarrassing moments under the rug. However this is the kind of question, that is a great way for people to open up about their vulnerabilities, albeit in a lighthearted manner. 

And that is how you start the conversation going. 

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