What is Slow Dating and Should You Try It?

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COVID-19 has impacted all aspects of modern life, especially relationships. Lockdown and other restrictions have meant that mixing, mingling, and in some cases, even meeting up with new people is more difficult. The result is an Austenesque approach to finding love; penning long letters (read: texts) from afar before heading on walking dates together. In other words, a new dating trend has emerged: slow dating.

What Is Slow Dating?

Slow dating means a person spends more time getting to know a potential partner and works to create a deep connection before taking things to the next level. 

There’s been a shift in the prevailing attitude toward dating. According to Bumble, 38% of users on the dating app said that lockdown made them want something more serious when it came to a relationship. What’s more, 55% of modern-day daters are now waiting longer to meet their matches in real life. And because of this, it's no wonder this style of dating has become popular over the last year.

But is slow dating right for you? Ahead, Dr. Christopher Jones, PsyD, explains both the reason behind the ever-rising popularity and advantages of this emerging relationship trend.

Meet the Expert

Dr. Christopher Jones, PsyD, is a sex therapist and creator of the podcast Confessions of a Sex Therapist.

Why Is Slow Dating Popular?

Per Dr. Jones, this unprecedented period of time has seen many people reassessing their relationship goals. He tells Brides, “I have heard from so many people that they are tired of being alone and I think the isolation of lockdown has really forced a lot of people to recognize that. Before the pandemic, many people lived busy lives with lots of social activities that made serious relationships not a priority. However, when you strip away all of those variables the focus and need changes."

It’s not simply about the loss of everyday interaction, though. Going through a pandemic when you’re single can feel truly isolating. “I believe there is a psychological aspect to it and it is very simple: no one wants to go through a difficult event alone. So it makes sense that people are wanting more serious relationships during this time.”

Is Slow Dating Right for Me?

Thinking slow dating could be for you? While amenities are gradually starting to open up across the United States, it’ll likely be a long haul before normality resumes. That means that taking things slow is convenient. Besides, as Dr. Jones puts it, choosing to take a beat before jumping into a relationship could help it last longer.  

“I typically recommend a slower pace in relationships in general, it allows you to really get to know your partner on an intimate level—and I don’t mean sex," he clarifies. "It is important to recognize that during the initial phases of a relationship things are typically based on attraction that can be so intense that it blurs your judgement on actually getting to know the person: their likes, dislikes, habits, and other behaviors."

So when we take things a bit slower it allows us to make informed and practical choices that increase the longevity of a relationship.

This, Dr. Jones says, is the reason why we've all heard the phrase "the honeymoon is over." He explains, "Our intimacy levels and needs change and at some point, you will need to pay attention to the characteristics of your partner that you may have overlooked due to attraction. So when we take things a bit slower it allows us to make informed and practical choices that increase the longevity of a relationship.”

When to Get Intimate

When it comes to the perfect time to get intimate with a partner in a slow relationship, there is no right answer. Deciding when to take this step with a new partner is an entirely personal choice.

“I think this is based upon each individual’s personal worldview,” offers Dr. Jones. “I don’t think it is helpful or productive to tell someone when they should or shouldn’t have autonomy over their sexuality. In some people’s worldview, they may feel it's best to wait a certain period of time, or even until after marriage, to be intimate with a partner...[others may] desire to have sex with their partner earlier as a way to connect."

Virtual Dating Advice 

If you’re trying slow dating and getting to know someone new, chances are you’ll need to get creative. Since you likely won’t meet in real life right away, consider ways that you can connect online and build a bond.

“I recommend a number of things such as dates over FaceTime or Zoom,” suggests Dr. Jones. “Maybe spend time cooking and having dinner together virtually. Or even watching a movie virtually. The benefit is that you can really get to know a person on a deep emotional level when you are not physically together.”

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