Love in the Time of COVID-19: Is it Safe to Date in Person?

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I have been thinking about how magical in person dates once were and the desire to experience this now seems nostalgic. I keep seeing the same advice and guidance — that it’s possible to feel connection and intimacy through a screen, but it’s just not working for me. Are there ways to safely date in person to test chemistry that don’t feel completely inorganic?        

Aleeza Ben Shalom: Many singles I know are doing social distancing dating. They are keeping apart 6 feet and enjoying walks, picnics or outdoor activities together. If virtual dating isn’t for you, definitely try to meet up following the guidelines for health and safety. Of course, this means no physical touch. But you don’t need physical touch for intimacy. Remember the eyes are the window to the soul. Also, chemistry between two people often happens when emotional intimacy is present not physical intimacy.

Michal Naisteter: Would it be terrible if I answered your question with questions? What did you like about in person? How can you challenge yourself to recreate that online? What new opportunities have you been given now that you can do virtual calls? I read your question and thought that maybe, just maybe, dating needs to be something people become nostalgic about. We took dates for granted and now I don’t think we will!


Danielle Selber: It’s so unsettling how what used to be simple decisions now have such high stakes. This is one situation where we can borrow from our friends in the Orthodox community who abstain from physical touch for weeks at a time. While not even passing a salt shaker to one another might seem extreme or unnatural, my friends in that community share that when touch resumes, even grazing the other person’s hand can be electric.

About the experts:

Aleeza Ben Shalom is a professional dating coach and founder of Marriage Minded Mentor, which connects singles from around the world with hundreds of trained coaches and matchmakers. She is also the author of the personal growth book “Get Real, Get Married” and an international speaker. She has appeared on BBC World News, NPR, The Huffington Post and writes a regular column on Aish.com. Contact: [email protected]

Michal Naisteter is a senior matchmaker for the national matchmaking firm Three Day Rule. She provides guidance, coaching and matchmaking services to her select roster of clients. She holds a graduate degree in human sexuality from Widener University. Her work has been profiled on Bustle, NPR, Elite Daily and a Philadelphia Inquirer feature. Contact: [email protected]

Danielle Selber is the founder of Tribe 12’s matchmaking initiative, a not-for-profit program for young professionals dating in Philly’s Jewish community. She takes the best elements from the Jewish tradition of matchmaking and reinterprets them to fit modern dating. She received a graduate degree in Jewish studies at Gratz College where she completed a thesis on trends in secular Jewish dating. Her work has been featured on Slate’s “Working” podcast and in the short film “Make Me a Match.” Contact: [email protected]

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