RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Even in the best of times dating can be...complicated. Now as we approach yet another Valentine's Day in the midst of a global pandemic, people are finding it even more challenging to navigate those early relationship dos and don'ts.
"With the pandemic and everything that happened around the pandemic it's really shifted people to be much more intentional about how they are approaching dating," says Raleigh-based relationship expert Elizabeth Overstreet. "All that down time gave people a lot of time to think about their relationships, so they're being much more focused toward quality relationships."
Overstreet is the author of "Love You and He will Too: The Smart Woman's Roadmap for Happy, Healthy Relationships." She says if it's a concern for you, don't be shy about asking a prospective date's vaccination status right off the bat.
"Before when we dated, we had time before we got to that next level of intimacy to think about these types of things that make us vulnerable. But being in a pandemic, this is our 'new now.' It's more in our face and people are concerned about your health status, so it's totally acceptable to ask people up front about their vaccination status."
In fact, she says you might want to consider making that first "date" an on-screen one.
"I think you can use technology to your advantage. FaceTime or Zoom is a great way to still get a sense of tonality -- because you can't get that through texting someone, right? And (see) their body language and how your chemistry matches up. So I think that's a great start if you are apprehensive about meeting people in person right away."
We've seen all kinds of debates, arguments, and even fistfights over facemasks. But Overstreet says a difference of opinion on masking doesn't necessarily have to be a deal breaker.
"We have to be careful about relationship deal breakers," she says. "For most people in long-term relationships we know sometimes things we thought we might not compromise on we end up compromising on. So I think this is a great way to see how people respond when you bring up this conversation as far as talking to them about facemasks and how they feel about it."
And, she says it's a good way to understand how they're handling the whole Covid-19 situation.
"If they are someone who doesn't believe in vaccination because maybe that's their belief system, you can talk to them about it and approach it from, 'OK, are you wearing a mask, though?' And this will give you a sense of how they are balancing it out, if there's a balanced view. And that's a good indicator before going into the relationship with them."