How do you tell your date you have covid? Is there ever a smooth way to break such awkward news? When becoming acquainted with your potential suitor online during the pandemic, perhaps asking them, “Do you like me enough to self isolate for 14 days,” should be among the standard “getting to know you,” questions.

Finding love on Tinder during the pandemic

Like many single people, lock-down presented me with a mini-existential crisis. Why had I not tried harder to meet someone before? Am I going to be alone forever now? If I die from coronavirus, how long will it take for my body to be discovered?

Photo by 🇨🇭 Claudio Schwarz | @purzlbaum on Unsplash

Before the pandemic, living alone suited me perfectly. I had a full life with an exciting job and plenty of hobbies and friends. I dated occasionally but it was never a huge priority.

Then lock-down hit me like a tonne of bricks and all this advice of only socialising within your “household” caused me to spiral into despair. My household consisted of me, myself and I. Was I now doomed to a life of solitude? 

My extroverted self suited living alone under certain conditions and being locked down for months on end did not fit that criteria.

The dating app dilemma

In an attempt to rectify the situation, I took to online dating – Hinge, Tinder, Bumble, Plenty of Fish – you name it. I started swiping left and right and started speaking to a few people.

Photo by Kon Karampelas on Unsplash

Lock-down brought out a new kind of vulnerability in people and I found myself having some pretty reflective exchanges about life with complete strangers.

I even managed to have a few meaningful conversations, which was a change from the usual “Are you up?” or “Want to see my samurai sword” exchanges I had grown accustomed to.

It seemed to me that the pandemic had inspired a shift in how people were using dating apps. As opposed to quick hookups, people seemed to be seeking out comfort and real connection instead. 

Dating and covid restrictions

Once restrictions started to ease, I was ready to meet a few of the people I had been speaking to in real life. 

Before the pandemic my dating life was pretty pathetic, I would awkwardly meet someone for a drink once every few months just to convince myself I was making an effort.

Apparently I had been doing it all wrong, as, in the world of online dating, it’s a numbers game! Now, I had got myself into a good rhythm and went through a period where I was lining up one date a week.

Some of these dates led to a second meeting, but most of the time they were one hit wonders.

Photo by Crew on Unsplash

I was on a dating roll – then I got covid

One of my suitors who had initially seemed really sweet online, spent the whole date aggressively “educating” me about statistics, while another promised to cook me dinner at his place for our second date, but instead greeted me in his loungewear with no dinner in sight.

As the saying goes you need to kiss many frogs till you meet your prince, so I kept going.

Two weeks ago I found myself in a situation where I had pencilled in two dates in one day. For someone who doesn’t usually date much, this was quite the anomaly.

Under normal circumstances meeting up with two strangers in a day would be more or less acceptable in the world of dating (or so I’ve been told) but during these times of contact tracing it can prove to be more complicated than one would expect.

The day after my two dates, I started to develop a persistent dry cough and immediately booked myself in for a covid-19 test. The results came the next morning and, sure enough, I had tested positive. Damn!

How to tell your date you have covid

As my symptoms turned out to be quite mild, I found the whole ordeal of contact tracing the most stressful aspect of getting covid-19.

I winced in shame when the lady from NHS Track and Trace called me to go through all the places I had been in the previous week and who I had met up with. To my dismay, everyone I had spent time with that weekend would be asked to self-isolate for 14 days. This included both of my dates.

Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

If you want to imagine what true mortification feels like, it’s having to get in touch with two people you barely know or want to see again and tell them that NHS Track and Trace are going to be calling them, and that they may or may not have the novel coronavirus.

They both took the news pretty well, but knowing they’d have to postpone two weeks’ worth of plans just because they had met up with me for a coffee made my whole body shudder.

Safe to say I didn’t hear from either of them again.

Dating after Covid

In the end, I feel lucky that my symptoms were mild and the self-quarantine period is now behind me. Although I still suffer from fatigue and don’t have much of an appetite, I know that I got off lightly, compared to others.

As I’m tentatively coming out of self isolation, I am more hesitant about online dating and well-acquainted with the complications of having to tell your date you have covid. But it hasn’t put me off the idea of meeting someone entirely. I’ll just have to stick with one person at a time and be very, very careful.

Have something to tell us about this article?