When the coronavirus pandemic first hit and we were forced into quarantine and social distancing, singles worried that dating was no longer an option. Without bars, restaurants and movie theaters operating at normal capacity, what were their options for meeting someone special while we are all stuck at home?

But according to Jantae Rashaun, relationship expert and author of Dating Standards that Speak, being limited to how we interact with potential love interests has its benefits. “This pandemic presents an opportunity for men and women to get back to the basics of dating – getting to know each other before physical connection.”

Limited Distractions

Of course, many have directed their attention to social media and dating apps to fill in the gaps. But gone are the distractions of busy day to day life and the short attention span associated with single nightlife. With that comes a more laid-back mindset and patience to put in the effort required to establish a solid foundation in a relationship. “There’s no better time to get to know someone on an intellectual level than during this pandemic. So much can be hidden behind text messages and computer screens, but real, authentic conversation can bring truths to the surface over time,” says Jantae.

Ditch the Texting Phase

So many men have been relying on text messages and DMs to work their way into your hearts, but now is the time to make them step up to the plate and call. Chances are, he’s spending majority of his time at home, which means there’s no excuse for texting to be the primary source of communication. So, resist the urge to respond to his “Good morning, beautiful” text with a kissy face emoji and get back to the basics. “If texting is his preferred method of communication, especially during these times, you should really evaluate why.” explains Jantae, “He should desire to hear your voice, that’s how real connection is established.” In other words, ditch the impersonal texting phase of dating, pick up the phone, and engage in deep, meaningful conversations.

Spot Red Flags Early

Studies show that relationships that begin with sex are less likely to last long-term. Now that people are less likely (at least they should be) to go out on dates with someone they’ve just met, the doors are open to getting to know someone before becoming physically involved. “Taking the time to learn who someone is at the core, their background, belief system, and future goals, is key to determining romantic compatibility.” says Jantae, “It’s no secret that sex can lead to clouded judgement and overlooked red flags. The more we know before we’re attached, the easier to walk away, if necessary.”