Ask Ellie: Responsible dating possible in pandemic

Advice columnist EllieDear Ellie: I keep reading/hearing about people who have 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 apart when outside or shopping, preferably wearing face masks?

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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

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.

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

Send relationship questions to ellie@thestar.ca.

Follow @ellieadvice.

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