Lovers in a dangerous time: Dating during a pandemic comes with baggage

The COVID-19 pandemic might be forcing weeks of physical distancing but it’s also driving many people to seek out emotional closeness during this period of isolation.

Multiple dating apps are reporting surges in membership as singles search for ways to make connections, pursue new relationships without one-on-one visits and in some cases, re-evaluate their personal lives as a whole.

“It really put my head in this space, ‘Gosh, look at you, you need to take your dating life more seriously,'” said Raquel Russell, 26. “In the back of my head, I was like, ‘I don’t want to be stuck in this situation again where I’m isolating by myself.'”

Russell, a content creator, is currently hunkering down with her parents in Halton Hills, Ont. She says soon after quarantining began, she turned to Bumble and other popular online dating sites to fill what was becoming an emotional void — even after swearing off the apps out of frustration just months earlier.

And she’s not alone, even though she says she certainly feels it sometimes.

Bumble Canada, part of the global social networking app, reported a 56 per cent increase in video calls during the week ending March 27 compared to the previous week — after most of North America had implemented strict physical distancing and isolation protocols.

Raquel Russell, Alex Palov and Catherine Aquilina explain what dating is like at a time of physical distancing:

“We’re actually hearing from users that they feel more relaxed when dating right now because the pressure of connecting in person is off,” said Bumble Canada marketing manager Meredith Gillies. “People are being slower and more thoughtful with their dating.”

Bumble has also seen the length of in-app video calls, which resemble Facetime without the need to exchange phone numbers, nearly double since the pandemic began.

“It’s a way of coping with the anxiety, a way of coping with the fear of the unknown,” said Canadian sex and relationship educator Shan Boodram, who hosts Sexology on the new mobile streaming service Quibi. “You realize how much you need people.”

The San Francisco-based dating app Coffee Meets Bagel is reporting similar spikes in usage. Co-founder Dawoon Kang says the company noticed an approximate 40 per cent increase in the U.S. when it came to the use of video dating — something she says was not utilized as much pre-pandemic.

“If you’re on a virtual date, you’re doing it from your home. You can actually see the place the other person is living in. You get to have a conversation about their living space. You get to see their dog,” said Kang. “During a first date, it’s so easy to just fall into the trap of sticking with the small talk.”

Virtual dates in separate living spaces can include cooking a recipe together, having drinks on video chat or pressing play on a movie at the same time.

Sexology host Shan Boodram explains how to virtual date and cope with isolation

Virtual dating has its limits

Toronto-based hairstylist Alex Palov, 22, is experiencing virtual dating first hand.

He met someone just before the rules around physical distancing tightened. So he’s had to rely on video chatting to help push the new relationship forward.

“The conversations start changing and you start maybe knowing more about the person and asking them more personal questions,” said Palov. “You almost just got to wait it out. There’s not much you could do. It’s either that, or you have to break the rules.”

This is really helping you find the people who are willing to stick it out. – Raquel Russell, 26, about dating online during a pandemic

While the average age of users for apps like Coffee Meets Bagel is 29, those in their 30s and 40s carry different responsibilities that make dating difficult at the best of times.

Single mother of two Catherine Aquilina says, once you add in a global pandemic, trying to find a connection that goes beyond a few texts can become near impossible.

“In our age bracket, somebody might be struggling with their job, with having to make mortgage payments, support payments, homeschooling their kids,” said Aquilina, 44. “And dating is probably the last thing on their mind.”

Aquilina says she’s had to put dating on hold because others in her age group aren’t available.

‘Emotional crutch’ or meaningful connection?

For those still putting themselves out there, physical distance can also be beneficial, according to Canadian relationship expert Wendy Walsh.

“People are forced to not get together and move too quickly into the bed,” said Walsh, a psychology professor and host of the L.A radio program, the Dr. Wendy Walsh Show. “They instead are spending time getting to know each other.”

Walsh says pandemic dating can be an “emotional crutch” for some and in those cases, “you might be ghosted by the end of this.” But it can also blossom into real relationships when people are willing to share their vulnerabilities, she said.

Russell said she is looking for that more genuine connection.

“It’s really showing you who’s willing to engage in actual meaningful long-term conversations. Not just, ‘What are you doing? Hi. Goodbye,'” she said. “This is really helping you find the people who are willing to stick it out.”

Having now progressed recently with some matches from texting to voice notes, she says if things get serious enough, she might be willing to take it to the next level of intimacy in these times: The phone call.



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11 Ways To Know If You’re Wife Material, According To Men

We asked men what makes them want to put a ring on it. They had a lot to say.

In the 1950s, what constituted “wife material” was pretty basic compared to how it is now.

“Perfect” wives were women who stayed home to take care of the kids, keep the house in order, and have dinner ready promptly at 6:00 p.m. when her husband walked through the door.

Women’s aspirations became second to fulfilling their wifely duties. To be honest, it sounds terribly depressing.

Thankfully, much has changed since then.

What makes a woman wife material now isn’t about being docile, submissive, and letting the man run the show.

Thanks to the Women’s Movement and advancements in equality, men are more likely to look for a woman who will be their true partner and want not their, well, maid.

To verify this is indeed the case, we asked 11 men what they think makes a woman wife material.

What follows is what they had to say.

1. You love in equal measure.

“It just boils down to love and attraction. I don’t mean any kind of romantic ideal, but like, proper love, where you love them so much that even when you’re mid-argument and super angry you still make sure they take an umbrella to work because it might rain. Any person who loves you that much in equal measure, and doesn’t mind risking a sex-related hip fracture when you’re both in your 70s is definitely marriage material.”

2. You have insatiable intellectual curiosity.

“Basically, I need someone who will both challenge and complete me. I don’t want a fan or sycophant, nor do I want an adversary. The ideal woman will have an understanding of my strengths and weaknesses and exploit them not to injure me, but to make me better. She would also have an insatiable intellectual curiosity and big boobs. But in all seriousness, I don’t know that we need to have the perfect woman to qualify as marriage material. I know I don’t. All I need is that person who makes the concept of being with anyone else an exercise in idiocy.”

3. You accept yourself without reservation.

“Total acceptance of who you are, both the good and bad.”

4. You love to laugh.

“A sense of humor. That’s the most important thing a woman a can have if I were to want to marry her. Of course I’d want her to be kind, genuine, adventurous and someone with whom I’d like to share my life but above all is sense of humor. Laughing and loving together is what makes a long-lasting relationship.”

5. You can cook.

“I know this is going to come off sexist, but it isn’t. I swear. That being said, wife material for me is a woman who can cook and cook well, like French pastry type well. Not because I want her in the kitchen but because I can’t cook to save my life but eating is a passion of mine. If her passion is to cook and mine is to eat then we can’t lose. I’d like to say once again that this isn’t me giving into gender stereotypes. Cooking and eating together is sexy. I guess I’m a regular old George Costanza.”

6. You challenge him.

“She has to challenge me to be my best self. That’s my main qualification. Also, I can’t marry someone who isn’t funny.”

7. You’re affectionate.

“Looking at my parents’ marriage there wasn’t as much emotional support as I think my mother needed from my dad. They fought too often and I never saw them, not once, show any sort of affection toward each other. Because of that, a woman who is affectionate and loving is someone with whom I want to grow old with. I don’t ever want my kids to wonder why mom and dad never hugged, kissed, or cuddled, like I always wondered. I want them to know we love each other and they were born from that love.”

8. You have your own life.

“In my mind, a woman with her own life is probably the coolest one to marry. And by ‘her own life’ I mean: her own career, her own set of friends, her own independent streak, her own dreams, and her own bunch of at least 15-20 vinyl records. This would certainly be a fair thing for a woman to want in a potential husband too, by the way.”

9. You wouldn’t dream of embarrassing him in public.

“She doesn’t punk you in public in general but particularly in front of your friends. Bust chops? Okay. Disagree? Sure. Argue? Maybe. But if she’s wife material she’ll keep anything demeaning or embarrassing private.”

10. You love him despite his past mistakes.

“I know this is cliché, but wife material for me is someone who loves the worst in me and is OK with all my screw-ups. I’ve made a lot of mistakes along the way and have my fair share of regrets, so if she can love that stuff and not hold it against me, then I’d call that wife material.”

11. You are considerate.

“‘Wife material’ indicators can range from doing the wallet dance (thanks, but we’ll pay) or something sweet like making our bed after a sleepover. It’s so simple, but speaks to a level of consideration you don’t always get in some people who might feel a little too entitled to your chivalry.”


Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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Why You Need To Stop Chasing That Hot-And-Cold Guy (And Get Him To Chase You, Instead)

How to handle that mixed-signals man.

A reader wonders if she should contact a guy who always runs hot and cold, and who recently dropped off the face of the planet.

“We’ve been close for about eight months. And yes, of course, he used to act hot and cold in those periods, but I was cool, that’s not a big deal for me. Until he starts getting busy and leaves me on read for two days. Then I send another text saying ‘Are you okay?’ — and he replies, saying he’s fine, just so busy at work, no apology. Now, three weeks have passed with no more texts.

I don’t know why, but I hope he’ll text me again. Should I just hold myself back and never text him again?”

Let me start by saying I’m sorry you’re going through this.

You didn’t say if you had an established, continuous relationship with this man, so I’ll assume that you didn’t, because normally there would be a breakup conversation or something when a serious relationship ends.

Here’s the thing: He is not pursuing you. You said that he’ll let your texts hang for two days before you reached out and asked if he was okay, which is chasing behavior on your part.

If you want any chance of being with him, you have to learn how to make him chase you instead.

What you’ve described is not the behavior of anyone who really likes you and deeply wants to talk to you.

To answer your question directly — yes, continue not to contact him. Perhaps forever. Let him do his thing and get out there and meet some new men.

By chasing him in the past, you have effectively taught him that you will make sure he doesn’t go anywhere if he chooses not to respond to you.

Now, he’s been gone for three weeks.

Three weeks is actually early days in the world of male disappearances. But you have to decide if you want to deal with trying to draw him closer to you by requiring him to actually date and court you, or if you want to set him loose, move on and find another guy who will be more attentive to you.

I understand why you have allowed him to act like this so far. But at this point, it sounds like you’ve fallen prey to the dreaded “fantasy relationship” where one person wants more and is encouraged when the guy gets in touch or even tosses out a vague “hey” — but he’s largely killing time or responding out of guilt.

If he seemed into you at some point, these crumbs are even worse, because research shows we’re more attracted to people whose feelings for us are unclear.

This man does seem like he was vaguely interested in you at some point. The problem is that “some point” has moved to a distant spot in the past.

This often happens when women over-contact a man in hopes that he’ll ask them out more — which always backfires, since trying to “win a man over” requires a lot of masculine conquering energy.

Feminine energy receives — so when you chase him, he isn’t able to give you his attention, time, and affection.​

To fall in love, men need to think about you and decide whether they want to see you.

Men fall in love when they give.

By being the one to regularly initiate contact with him and try to see him, you put yourself into the masculine role in your interactions — which appears to have turned him off.

Given that he has usually found the time to text you eventually, he probably will again…sometime. But given his actions so far, he’s largely ambivalent toward you. He doesn’t care too much about what happens with you one way or another.

Ambivalence is the kiss of death for romance.

The mystery has gone from the flirtation you shared because he knows he can count on you to be there waiting around like a doormat.

You said that the last time he popped up, he didn’t say “sorry” like he usually does. This tells me that he’s tossed you vague excuses about why he didn’t respond to you before — but now it’s only gotten worse since now he’s quit bothering to give you even a lukewarm “sorry” for falling off the face of the Earth.

You don’t have to give up completely on him, but since he has been rude in the past by not responding to you at all, you can learn how to make him chase you, instead. Let him make all the forward motion towards you if you want anything more than a casual text flirtation.

This means let him initiate all conversation, dates, and contact.

If he wants to talk to you, he will. If not, losing an ambivalent man is not a big loss.


Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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These 16 Flirty Texts Will Keep You On His Mind 24/7

He’ll be begging for more.

Keeping your sex life fun, exciting and hot is crucial if you never want the initial spark in your relationship to fade.

To help you out, I put together this list of flirty texts to send your partner whenever you feel like things between you could use a little jolt.

And this isn’t just a bunch of flirty text message examples, but also a handy guide on how to flirt with a guy over text in general.

You can also use as ideas to try sending him over Facebook Messenger, email, Instagram, Snapchat, or even when talking to him on the phone.

Before I actually get to the list of flirty texts for him, I need to first give you three little disclaimers about sending flirty texts. This is so that when you use them, they are super effective — and also in oder to make sure you don’t accidentally misuse them.

The most important thing to know when learning how to flirt over text messages is that flirty texts should be used as a spice, not as the main course.

What I mean by this is that you should use them sparingly.

If every other text message you send him is a sexy text, it’s quickly going to get boring, and they will lose their intended effect.

The next thing that you must understand is that “flirty” doesn’t necessarily mean “filthy”.

Sure, some flirty text messages you can send will sound a little risqué, but they don’t have to.

In fact, you are going to quickly discover that the more subtle your messages are and the more that they’re filled with innuendo, the more powerful their effects will be on your man.

Lastly, you will find that sending your man a flirty text message can be the perfect way to build anticipation.

Doing this will keep him thinking about you for a long, long time even if it will be awhile until you’re able to hang out together.

So now that we’ve covered some of the important things to keep in mind if you want these flirty text messages to be effective, let’s learn exactly what to send.

Here are 16 examples of flirty texts to send him when you when to flirt with a guy over text.

1. Why do I always think of you when I’m trying to concentrate on studying … Grrr, hate you so much right now!

2. What would you do if I told you that I have an identical twin sister?

3. Had trouble sleeping last night, needed you there snuggling me.

5. Should I wear a short skirt tonight or a really short skirt?

6. If you could only do one thing sexually with me for the rest of your life, what would it be?

7. I think I just saw you or someone that looked just like you, are you wearing a green turtleneck today?

8. I’m thinking about becoming celibate for the rest of my life, what do you think?

9. What would you like me to wear tonight?

10. I had a dream about you last night, it was hot!

11. Do you think you could beat me in an arm wrestle?

12. I’ve got a surprise for you later, I think you’re going to really like it 😉

13. I was thinking of dressing up in something hot tonight, what would you prefer, maid or nurse?

14. I’m wearing a colored bra today, guess which color …

15. Explain something to me — what’s the big deal with threesomes?

16. Stop thinking about me! (I know. It’s hard, isn’t it …)

Please don’t think you have to use every single one of these flirty messages on your man.

Just pick and choose the ones that you like and use them.

If you are just starting a relationship with your man, then you probably don’t want to use any of the more risqué or sexual text messages at first.

Lastly don’t be afraid to change, adapt and modify these messages slightly to fit your life and your man. For example, you could change ‘studying’ to ‘working,’ etc.


Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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How To Find Love Again After Having Your Heart Broken

Never give up on finding love.

Unless you’re one of the lucky few, dating after a breakup makes you feel vulnerable in a way that you haven’t felt for years.

Until recently, you’ve enjoyed the stability within your previous romantic partnership. Now you’re experiencing the immense ambiguity of not knowing when, where or if you’ll meet someone worthwhile. Finding comfort in being single is first on your journey of figuring out how to find love again which, of course, is your ultimate goal.

The good news is that you’re presumably wiser than before. You’ve probably learned from your past relationship. You’ve got a fairly good idea about what worked well and what didn’t.

You’ve probably thought about what you want (and what you won’t tolerate) in your next relationship. It’s likely that you’re determined to do things differently in order to avoid repeating past mistakes.

If you’re like most people in your situation, you may wonder how you fit into the dating scene now that you’re older. You may want to know how to date more efficiently so that you’re not wasting your time in the wrong places with the wrong people.

This is what you need to know to lay the groundwork for effective, fun dating that’ll lead to a great, lasting relationship.

Here’s what to remember as you work to find love again:

1. Don’t tell yourself you’re too old for love

You’re definitely not too old to find love. You’re just older than you were last time.

Like you, single people in your age range tend to have the wisdom of experience. Men are more interested in a woman’s personality. Women are less prone to drama.

Many people are still attracted to youthful energy, passion, and optimism — which lives within all ages!

People of all ages date, fall in love and get into long-term, committed relationships. Wanting love is a primal, human desire and it doesn’t go away as you age.

2. Don’t be afraid to try online dating

Be friendly and outgoing toward everyone. Single people are everywhere, and you’re more likely to find them when you’re fostering connections and friendships.

Use technology to your advantage. Research effective ways to date online and learn how to best use those sites. Remember that no one was born knowing how to meet people via online dating sites, so just go with the flow!

3. Forgive the pains of the past

Dating behaviors have changed a great deal over the years, so forgive mistakes and misunderstandings. Some people have never dated — they met their exes through friends, work or school and got together in a less formal way.

4. Don’t mistake attraction for being a “sure thing”

Attraction is simply an opportunity to get to know someone better. It is not a sign that they’re “the one.”

5. Date more than just one person

You can’t tell how things will turn out after just one date. If you think you can, you’re telling yourself a story. Continue dating several people until you find someone who is equally excited about the prospect of forging a relationship.

Take time to get to know the person who most interests you (as well as several others) before committing to one person. Don’t waste your time by committing to someone who only sees you as one of several options.

6. Don’t let yourself get swept away in the “courtship” stages

Courtship requires different skills than growing and maintaining a relationship. Don’t assume that someone who is a great date will also be a great mate.

7. Don’t rush things

Dating isn’t efficient. It’s about getting to know people and discovering whether you care for each other and if your values, goals, and personalities are in alignment.

You can’t tell if someone is right for the long haul until you’ve known each other for an extended period of time.

8. Watch for emotional baggage

Everyone has baggage, and you’re accountable for yours. Wait until you’ve gone out several times before gradually revealing personal details about your life and relationships.

Don’t allow your date’s baggage to become your problem. You’re seeking a potential partner, not a therapy project.

9. Find someone who shares your values in a relationship

Many people date because they’re seeking a relationship, but part of dating is discovering if the person you’re seeing wants one with you.

10. If you want lasting love, don’t settle for a “player”

Some people are dating because they are seeking no-strings-attached companionship. They only want a play pal or a friend with benefits. Most will casually mention it as you’re getting acquainted.

If you continue to see them after they’ve told you they aren’t interested in a real relationship, they will assume that you are also looking for something casual.

It helps if you see your return to dating as an adventure. You don’t know who you’ll meet, but if you embrace your new situation, it’ll definitely be entertaining and, ultimately, rewarding.


Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

Buy Phicklephilly THE BOOK now available on Amazon!

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The Tough Parts Of Being Single Nobody Talks About

I in no way want anyone to pity single individuals. I was single for a very long time myself and I did not want anybody’s pity. Furthermore, there are a lot of elements of being single that are actually really great—I even miss them sometimes, as a woman in a relationship, and remember how nice they are when my partner goes out of town for a few days. If you have a good attitude and focus on the positive, it’s easy to find the silver lining in both lifestyles—in being free as a bird, or being in a committed relationship. Now all of that being said, I also recall being single and feeling like my friends in relationships just absolutely glorified the single life. Like anything, it has its tough moments, too. Again, this isn’t about pitying single individuals. But if you do have a close friend or someone you care about who is single, maybe keep her in mind when these things come up. Just check in. Here are the tough parts of being single nobody talks about.

Affording rent alone is a nightmare

I don’t know about you, but my rent is very high. There is no way I could afford to live alone in my city—at least not if I wanted to live in a place that is safe, nice, and decently sized. If you’re single and live in a high-rent city, you either struggle to put aside any money after rent, or have to get a roommate. And that might mean doing the whole Craigslist roommate search thing. Yikes.

Living alone as a woman can be scary

Even if you know all of the ways to improve your safety as a woman living alone, that doesn’t change the fact that living with someone always makes you feel a bit more comfortable. When I did live alone, I loved the freedom until I heard a bump in the night. Then I realized how nice it would have been to have somebody else around.

Let’s not forget about the pesky delivery minimums so many food delivery services and restaurants require. They’re easy to meet when you order food with someone, but when you order alone, you’re suddenly left eating pizza or Pad Thai all week long because you had to meet that damn delivery minimum.

You just have to care for yourself when you’re sick. You don’t have somebody there, ready to bring you a glass of water or some soup any time you call. You have to drive yourself to the pharmacy, sick and feverish, to get medication—unless you want to pay PostMates to do it for you.

You feel bad that your parents worry

You know that your parents worry about you being single. They worry about you living alone. They worry about you feeling lonely. You don’t really worry about any of that that much but you feel guilty knowing they worry about it.

Traveling alone can get tedious

Traveling alone is mostly a lot of fun. You’re free to go where you want when you want. The times it gets to be not-so-great is when you’re alone in a new place where you don’t speak the language or know the customs, and have nobody to help you but yourself. Or, when you’re just dealing with super long flights, layovers, and train rides, with nobody’s shoulder to sleep on and nobody to watch your stuff when you go to the bathroom.

Going home to an empty place isn’t easy

Going home to an empty place can be nice…until it isn’t. There are some nights you wouldn’t mind coming home to somebody to talk to. You don’t necessarily want to call a friend and make plans. It would be nice if somebody was just there, and there wasn’t even the pressure to do anything entertaining.

You must have holiday plans

A couple can stay in for the holidays. They can share a bottle of champagne, make dinner, and everyone thinks it’s sweet. If you stay in alone on a major holiday, people think it’s very sad. And, you feel a bit sad, too. So you must go out even if you don’t feel like it.

In fact, you must have a lot of plans

In general, you have to keep yourself pretty busy if you don’t want to get lonely or feel sorry for yourself. You keep an active social calendar so you don’t have time to feel lonely. But, being out and about all of the time can get exhausting. Couples get to stay home and Netflix and Chill most nights and nobody thinks that’s sad.

Pet care is tougher

If you have a pet, you don’t have that built-in help of a partner. You have to befriend the neighbors and swap favors with them, giving them your spare key, or hire some dog walking service. You can’t just call your boyfriend and ask, “Will you be home tonight? Great—can you feed Fido?”

All the unwanted setups

Let’s not forget about all of the people who keep trying to set you up—with or without your consent. You can’t count the number of times you’ve gone to a dinner party and realized the hosts invited just one other single individual there, hoping you two would hit it off. So you felt pressure to talk to him all night.

You go stag to a lot of weddings

A lot of marrying couples only give out plus-ones to serious couples. That’s not you. So you have to go alone to a lot of weddings. You mostly enjoy the freedom of this, though it can be exhausting feeling like you must mingle the whole time if you don’t want to sit all by yourself looking sad.

Oh, and you pay for wedding gifts (and all gifts) alone

You don’t have someone to split wedding gifts, engagement gifts, bridal shower gifts, baby shower gifts, and gender reveal party gifts with. You’re all on your own with those, and they add up.

Any near-death experience at home

That time you’re home, all alone, enjoying your evening when you suddenly nearly choke on an olive. You are rapidly overcome with the fear that you could die in your apartment and nobody would even notice until the place began to smell.

Feeling like you’re a catch who’s wasted

Real talk, sometimes you just look in the mirror and think, “It’s a shame nobody is enjoying this. I’m a catch.” But you also haven’t found anyone worthy of you yet.


Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

Buy Phicklephilly THE BOOK now available on Amazon!

Listen to the Phicklephilly podcast LIVE on Spotify!

Instagram: @phicklephilly    Facebook: phicklephilly    Twitter: @phicklephilly

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