With the continued spread of COVID-19, it seems the world has ground to a halt, and the only thing to talk about is the coronavirus. When you speak to friends, they likely lead with how they are coping with social distancing and staying at home all the time. Honestly, can you blame them? We are in the midst of a crisis. It seems logical then that while you are talking to a potential match you met online, you should discuss the coronavirus. After all, we are facing this global pandemic together. Every one of us has a unique experience and our take on the matter and, despite claiming to be bored of talking about the coronavirus all the time, can still manage to talk about it endlessly. Don’t fall victim to that temptation. Build your relationship on a solid foundation. The most defining aspect of a crisis is that it reflects a finite moment in time, even though it may not feel like it at the moment. If I was a betting woman, basing your relationship on a crisis and then expecting it to survive once the crisis is over is probably not a good bet. Think of Keanu Reeves’ character, Jack, in “Speed.” He and Sandra Bullock’s character, Annie, are brought together on a hijacked bus. In “Speed 2: Cruise Control,” he is nowhere to be found (and not just because the script was so bad). Why? The foundation of their relationship was that they experienced a crisis together. But, once the crisis was averted, what did they have in common? What was keeping them together? Not much. It may not look like it right now, but the coronavirus pandemic will not last forever. Eventually, we will flatten the curve, and people will go about our lives. If you do begin a relationship with someone by bonding over the coronavirus, all may be well and good, as long as you remain in crisis mode, that is. But once the crisis is over, what will be left to keep you together? Are your personalities compatible? What about your interests? Your long-term goals? Get to know each other. A better way to approach online dating would be to discuss anything but the coronavirus, except for perhaps a brief initial exchange about what you have been up to while waiting it out. Moving on from it to other topics of conversation can be difficult at first, especially if your match wants to discuss it ad nauseam. But I would make the argument that the first conversations you have are the most critical to the establishment of a relationship. The success of these conversations will determine if you move forward, even if it is over FaceTime, and for how long. If you and your potential match talk about the coronavirus regularly, it will become the foundation of your relationship; it will be what bonds you together. The problem with doing so is everybody is going through the same crisis, meaning you could establish a relationship with pretty much anybody. And you are not anybody. There’s plenty of fish in the sea, but only a few matches suitable for your long-term goals. Even in these tough times, you should be going for quality, not quantity. Focus on the future. When social distancing ends, and you do decide to meet in person, discussions about coronavirus will only take you so far, and likely not far. Then what? You have nothing keeping you together, and if you haven’t gotten to know each other’s likes and dislikes and what you both stand for, at least a little, you may very well find you have nothing in common. After which you — and your match — will be nowhere to be found. Instead, conduct yourself online as if there is no virus; it only exists to prevent you from meeting up, for the time being, and nothing more. Discuss your long-term goals (about dating and in general) and get to know each other’s core personality traits and interests, as you would normally. Give these conversations a chance to grow, along with the possibility of enjoying a healthy relationship beyond the virus. We have all heard how risky it can be to discuss religion, money, and politics with people we don’t know well, including a dating prospect, because we can sound offputting. For now, you should add coronavirus to the list, but not so much because you don’t want to offend someone (although you could), but more so because you don’t want to establish your relationship on it, only to have it collapse later. As we all know, a good relationship is only as strong as its foundation, and with all of our cooperation, we will kick this virus to the curb. So stay safe, healthy, and focused on your future — one with love, not coronavirus, in it. Reprinted by Permission from Innovative-Match, a full-service relationship coaching firm. (www.innovative-match.com) Do you have a question as it pertains to dating during or post breakup or divorce? Ask us HERE.