- Omar Lopez/Unsplash
- Dating during the coronavirus pandemic seems impossible – especially if you have multiple partners to care for.
- Insider spoke to relationship expert Rachel Wright on the best ways to maintain your relationships and polyamorous dating during the pandemic.
- If social distancing means you can’t see one or more of your partners, make time for cute virtual dates.
- Most importantly, communicating your needs and asking what your partners’ are during this stressful time can make everything go more smoothly.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Dating monogamously during a pandemic can be challenging enough as it is.
With social distancing measures enforced or advised to stop the spread of the coronavirus, more cities are going under lockdown – turning some dynamics with people across town into indefinite long-distance relationships.
It is forcing some non-monogamous and polyamorous people to make difficult decisions about their dating lives during an indefinite period of social distancing. Some have chosen to stop seeing people altogether, or keep to one partner for the foreseeable future.
Rachel Wright, a New York City-based relationship expert who is polyamorous, told Insider she is changing the way she dates to stop the spread of coronavirus, and has noticed concerns from her non-monogamous clients about how social distancing will impact their love lives.
"It's no question that social distancing and polyamory are very challenging to pair together," Wright told Insider. "Setting up in person first dates are on-hold for me because I'm committed to stopping the spread of this and doing whatever I can to help."
Wright gave Insider some of the best tips for maintaining polyamorous love in the time of coronavirus.
Talk to your partners about what their needs are during the pandemic
- Hinterhaus Productions/Getty Images
According to Wright, the first step to maintaining a healthy relationship with your partners during the time of social distancing is having a conversation about needs.
"Everyone has different needs, wants, and concerns during times like this - especially since this is completely unprecedented in our lifetimes," Wright said. "We have to communicate with each other about what we're feeling, thinking, needing, and wanting - and ask the people we care about how they're doing, what they're feeling, thinking, needing, and wanting."
Asking your partner what kind of communication they need to feel supported and loved even when physical touch is no longer an option along is crucial. That way you can develop a plan to keep everyone feeling cared for - even if you can't be there in person.
Making an effort to also communicate your needs will help give your partners an idea of what would make you feel care for and seen during the pandemic.
Use technology to stay connected - schedule cute phone calls and video-chat dates
- Westend61/Getty Images
When physical contact is no longer an option with one partner or multiple partners, technology is a great way to stay in contact with your partners. But according to Wright, virtual dating isn't everyone's strong suit.
"Some of my clients and friends who struggle with texting, 'don't like' technology, or have been resistant to communicate via text or video chat are feeling frustrated and disconnected," Wright said.
While adjusting to dating completely online can be difficult, Wright said it's important for people to maintain contact with other human beings - and once you get the hang of it, the dates can be fun.
"We can't rely on physical attraction or chemistry to maintain a relationship," Wright said. "It's important to build an emotional, psychological and cognitive connection as well as a physical, so while I can't meet up with people right now, there's definitely time and space to meet new people online and connect with them via text or video chat."
Instead of a typical dinner date, have a box of wine sent to their house and FaceTime them. If you can't go on a walk together in person, take them with you on your daily walk via FaceTime.
Virtual dating also means the opportunity to possibly perfect your phone and video sex technique.
"Phone sex is a good time to actually talk to your partners about what they want sexually or what they fantasize about," phone sex operator Stephanie Cathcart told Refinery29.
If you live with one partner but have other partners, it's important to set boundaries and make virtual time for your other partners
Another complication that comes with being polyamorous in the time of coronavirus is what to do if you live with one partner and not with another.
"One of the biggest challenges in all of this is having multiple partners but being in quarantine with one of them," Wright said. "It's new territory to maintain these relationships without any physical contact and while in the same apartment and living space, constantly, as the partner you live with."
Wright said establishing boundaries around time and dates for your partner not living with you is important to set up clear guidelines on how dating multiple people will work without necessarily having physical space from your other partner.