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Dating in the Pandemic

#Choices with Momma Kyle

It’s what you all wanted!! New Year, MORE MOMMA! And just when we thought the dumpster fire that was 2020 was starting to dim, 2021 poured some gasoline on it and kicked it up a notch! But with the new year usually comes resolutions, which I don’t make because I’d rather not set myself up for failure. With the pandemic still looming, it makes it even more difficult to keep resolutions on track. I hope everyone is staying safe amidst the nonsense and wish you all the best in 2021!


Dear Kyle

My relationship of 1.5 years ended in November and I’m frustrated with my lack of rebound game, given that the pandemic circumstances don’t make dating easier but I’m also just bored AF with my life and want to live that fun single dating life having just turned 25.

My relationship helped me learn more about myself and what I like and don’t like in partners and I feel like what I want is more clear than ever to me. I hate Grindr and the other apps and prefer meeting people in person, but the pandemic has made opportunity for that difficult. For me the most special guys I’ve been with I always happened to meet while out. I love that feeling of catching eyes with a stranger where there’s a spark and things happen from fate. I find the process of meeting people on Grindr daunting. I don’t want a stranger in my home and I certainly don’t like the idea of putting myself in strangers’ homes. I like meeting people irl because you see it all in front of you and don’t need to go through the process of ‘stats, pics, preference’ etc.

Grindr isn’t working for me and Shadyside is near me but I’m worried I’ll run into my ex which will just be so awkward and going out just isn’t the same with all these restrictions where you need to be seated and stay ‘socially distanced’ and you never know peoples boundaries nowadays and it’s just frustrating. You just can’t seem to hang out and happen to meet people anymore.

Every day that’s going by with no leads on dating or flings I’m just like WTF am I gonna do with my life. I feel like times wasting and I don’t want to feel like I’m failing at rebounding after a relationship.

Desperately Seeking Rebound

Dear Desperately Seeking Rebound,

Why are you desperate? Try pushing 40 and dating in a pandemic, hun. Let me rephrase: I’m 36 and in the SAME situation, and I’m OK, and you can be too! It is great that you’ve learned so much about what you’re looking for in a partner, but what have you learned about yourself? Just you, not in relation to someone else. You see, the pandemic gives you an opportunity to really look inward and invest in yourself. So why not take the opportunity? I would suggest learning ways to adapt your preferences in terms of meeting people and dating, as it could be some time before things are back to the way they used to be.

Use the apps as a bridge to conversation, not necessarily to hook up. When having those conversations, you can find out people’s preferences during the current restrictions. Meet in public or not, give me a hug or no, etc. You just have to be patient about this. You might also have to get creative, but who knows, that could open a door to something you never knew you’d enjoy. I just think your frustration is stemming from the extra limitations you’re putting on already pandemic-limited opportunities.

Let me tell you, YOU HAVE PLENTY OF TIME!!! So relax and find your new normal. And as for your ex, we’re all little fish in this big gay pond—who cares? If it’s awkward, you haven’t moved forward from that break up, and I suggest you do before you make it your next boyfriend’s problem, too.


Hi Kyle

I’ve been with my girlfriend for 2 years. I’m 23 and she’s 26. She is my first real girlfriend after coming out at 20. I was honestly just looking to fool around but after meeting in person there was this undeniable spark. I felt like I had known her my whole life on only our first date. Everything was perfect in the beginning.

We have been having intimacy issues for about a year now. I’d say we only had sex probably about 6 times in all of 2020 – – we lived together all this year. We’ve talked about it, and honestly I just don’t think we understand each other’s needs and desires anymore. She talks about not wanting anyone else in her life and that I’m her person. I Do love her so much but honestly idk how much longer I can keep trying to convince myself that I gotta stay with her.

We have misunderstandings and arguments about once a week, I never feel like I am being heard or understood. I tend to shut down and take responsibility for any and almost every issue due to my own traumas. I just feel like I’m at my wits end but it’s also the middle of a pandemic so how am I supposed to just get up and leave without having to move back to my moms? Rent isn’t cheap. I feel stuck because I signed this lease through October 2021.

She has taught me so many life lessons and skills like becoming financially stable, learning self-accountability & encouraging me to pursue new things. When I tell you I was a mess when she met me, it is not an understatement. I feel so misunderstood and unhappy. I can’t just keep going like this right?

Misunderstood & Unhappy

Dear Misunderstood and Unhappy,

No, girl, you cannot go on like this. So I want to focus on you, not her, because that is what you have control over. First, you WERE a mess when you met her, but you ARE NOT that mess anymore. She gave you the tools, and YOU are the one that has applied them and been successful. You are now a success in your eyes, but staying that way is up to you, and you don’t have to give her credit for you maintaining that. There is no law against growing with someone and somehow growing apart. You need to come into your own with who you are now and what you want. As you move forward, you will see if she wants to encourage this or if she is looking to restrict your growth.  This should help you understand if this relationship is one where you can actually grow as an individual and as a couple.

Second, I invite you to just find a way to get some space in your relationship. You may be on top of each other (not in the good way) and it’s only furthering the frustration you have in your relationship. You use phrases like “convince myself” and “wits end”, and I want to tell you that it’s ok to end this relationship if you TRULY believe it’s what is best for you. I also want you to let go of the shame of possibly moving home. Listen, I ended a toxic relationship and spent the better part of three years living at home and with friends to help myself dig out of the mess I left myself with. There is no shame in it. Doing what’s best for you is always the right choice, no matter how it may look to others.

Finally, you did mention the ‘T’ word….TRAUMA–if it is a barrier for you in terms of communicating, I would recommend possibly looking into some of the resources listed on QBurgh. You deserve better than to blame yourself for things just because it’s what you think you deserve or what you’re used to, hun.


Kyle

I’m 25 and have been dating this 22 year old guy for a few months now. On the surface, things are going really well. We’re really attracted to each other and talk everyday. At the moment, we haven’t seen each other in 2 weeks due to coronavirus and won’t see each other for probably another month or two. That doesn’t bother me too much, I like him enough to keep things going.

However, I’ve been feeling more and more anxious about him chatting or sexting with guys on insta. I’m almost sure it’s all in my head but I can’t help it. He follows a lot of guys on insta and, before meeting me, he had a private instagram to post more ‘cheeky’ pics. I think he liked getting a lot of male attention and enjoyed the validation from it. He doesn’t have it anymore because he’s dating me but I still drive myself crazy over it for no good reason. He doesn’t tend to send nudes to me which is probably actually healthy, I completely overthink this too.

He’s done nothing to suggest I can’t trust him so why do I stress out about it so much? I know this isn’t a healthy mindset for me to have and I want to do right by him. How do I navigate this?

Becoming Toxic?

Dear Becoming Toxic,  

I want you to think about how you can connect with him intimately even though you aren’t going to be seeing each other. This can be via text, video call, etc. Hell, try having virtual dates! Order each other’s favorite take out and have it delivered to their place and eat on the phone!  I think the issue that you’re having is that you think he enjoys sexual or physical attention of any kind, and since he can’t get it from you directly, he may seek it elsewhere. If he’s given you no cause to think that way, I don’t think you should self-sabotage and let it run amok in your mind. However, you should TALK to him about how the two of you can help bridge the distance between you being caused by the pandemic.

I think if you thought of ways to keep it interesting (not necessarily ALL about NUDES), it gives you the opportunity to strengthen what the two of you may have. This also lets you know where his boundaries are as well as your own in terms of “attention from others” while you’re dating. Again, everyone’s definition of flirting and beyond in a relationship and how acceptable it is are different. At the very least, if you communicate with him and get on a level playing field in terms of what each of your expectations are during this time apart, I think you’ll be less in your head and more present in your relationship.


Ask Momma Kyle your questions

Momma won’t bite… hard.

Advice and tips from Kyle are just suggestions. If you are struggling, there is help available. Locally, the Persad Center is here to help. Please call 412-441-9786 to learn more about counseling and support.

Kyle Leotsakos
Kyle Leotsakos works in both healthcare administration and retail. He lives in the Greater Pittsburgh Area with his dog, Zeus. He is currently pursuing his graduate degree in Business. A NJ native, this is his second time living out in the Pittsburgh area, as he enjoys the mix of city and country it provides. Follow him on Instagram. Ask Kyle for advice here.