The Girlfriend Corner with Sabrina Espere


( ENSPIRE She Did That ) An Advice Column Dedicated to Pushing and Elevating Women of All Ages

Hi there Ladies! This is your ENSPIRE Magazine “Women’s Empowerment Coach”, Sabrina Espere. This week’s advice column is going to be a little different.

Many of you have said that you enjoyed the last column and found it quite inspiring. Some sent in questions on a much more personal tip – dealing with the ups and downs of virtual dating, “forced celibacy”, and even sour breakups, in the midst of COVID-19. I was screaming at my computer because I totally get it! Let’s talk!

Dating During COVID-19: Q&A

I am a single, black female in my early 30’s. Not to say that I had such a “wonderful” dating life before COVID, but now, I really don’t have a decent dating life! I have thought about trying online dating sites, but I am tired of the “pretenders”. Are there “rules” for online dating? How can it work for me?

I will always encourage safety during the times that we are in – above all else. So with that in mind, why not try online dating. In trying online dating, I always suggest the “MCVF” method, which stands for Message, Call, Video Chat, and Fun.

Online dating prior to or during COVID should be approached with caution (heck, dating, in general, should be approached with caution…lol). When it comes to online dating, because a person can alter their look, lifestyle, and can even choose an entirely different identity, you should follow your gut feeling and set standards.

According to, the biggest tip in online dating is the avoidance of revealing too much of yourself too soon as well as divulging private information. If you go into this understanding that there are scam artists out there, then you should be okay.

Here is my “MCVF” method for online dating.

MESSAGE: Send a message or reply to a message. Ask questions. Where do you live? How many children? What are you looking for? What are you interested in? If the vibe is right with you, after about 3 to 5 times of good messaging (meaning “conversations”), then exchange numbers. If you are not the online site messaging type, then think about giving your number with a disclaimer, “I am rarely on this thing and would like to get your messages. Here is my number so we can text.” Let it naturally work up to the phone conversation point.

PHONE: Now that you have exchanged phone numbers, just be cool. Don’t worry about when they are going to call, just go with the flow. If they don’t, then on to the next one! This is the “prospecting” stage.

When you finally speak, be yourself in the conversation and listen! A person will tell you so much about themselves in the first couple of minutes of a phone conversation if you just pay attention. Access how you feel with the conversation. Feeling good? Then let’s go to the next step…video chatting.

VIDEO CHAT: So, you have been exchanging photos, social media handles, and great late-night convo, right? Well, maybe it is time for my favorite…video chat. This to me is a proving ground. You get to see the person in real-time. Though you are not personally in each other’s space, the space of the “video chat world” isn’t so bad. You will get to see your match speak; their smile or frown; their eyes and a lot more than what you would get from a photo. You will get to compare their photos to their real-time video self in hopes they are who they say they are.

Since COVID-19, video chatting has reinvented itself. The creative juices have flowed with ideas such as virtual dates. From movie sharing, virtual cooking classes, and even virtual wine tasting, the creative options have really increased due to COVID-19. Many have saved their first “video chat” moment for a first “virtual date”, making it a little bit more “special”. Some have even agreed to dress up or down, depending on their mood. Just have fun with it!

What if they don’t want to video chat? Well, in this day in age, you should probably make this a must. It is for your safety. So many women date online and begin to fall in love without at least a video chat. They become attracted and aroused by the conversation, so much that they will be okay with not video chatting. The video chat will show you that the person who whispers sweet nothings in your “phone ear” or serenades you late at night is indeed who they say they are. Remember, scam artists, are real!

FUN: If I could give any advice about dating online, it would be to have fun. I am a big advocate that you can find love pretty much anywhere, however, in this case, just take it slow and keep things light. Times have changed and we all have to think outside the box as well as be flexible with life. If COVID-19 didn’t teach us anything, it should’ve taught us that life is what you make it. Why go through depressions or insecurities in dating? We should want that part of our life to be less stressful. We need to make wise choices in every arena of life. This will help ensure that our lives are not so taxed by superficial bs. Remember, we only have one life to live.

My Girlfriend and I decided to move in together during the shutdown to save on bills and to not be alone. Everything was “cute” the first month. The second month of the shutdown, I began to notice a lot of her bad habits and a lot of my ways began to get on her last nerves (i.e. wanting the apartment cleaned a certain way; being particular about my kitchen; and my non-smoking rule). By the third month of the shutdown, we were really at odds and the “love affair” literally flew out the window. Needless to say, we broke up and went back to single living. Now, I miss her and can’t stop thinking about what I could’ve done differently in the situation. Please help me get her back.

What you went through seemed to be a part of the “2020 theme song”. Many couples who were not living together prior to the Pandemic, took that leap of faith and decided to co-exist. Whether the reason was to save money or to crush lonely, fearful feelings, they took their relationship to a new level during the craziest, horrific time in the world -in many, many years.

The saying is true. You really don’t know someone until you live with them, no matter how long you have known them or how much time you spend with them. Living together is not easy. It takes respect, understanding, and working together. If you want your Girlfriend back, just say so. Be honest with her and admit that the two of you didn’t know each other, as well as you, thought and a lot was uncovered when you moved in together. Be honest with each other by sitting down and talking about why you fell in love in the first place and if your relationship can handle living together or not. Be honest if you went overboard and could’ve communicated better. Be honest about everything. Put your cards on the table.

The Pandemic is stressful! Let’s call a spade a spade! But how you handle the spade will determine if your life will be stressful or not. The spade is looking at what things really are and not creating a creative truth. Maybe you weren’t ready to move in together and should’ve remained in separate homes or maybe you should’ve put down your differences to make it work in all aspects. Maybe through this “test run” of living together, the two of you should’ve seen the need for patience and clearer communication.

Finding a balance in a relationship is understanding and being honest with what works. What works for another couple may not work for you two. You must find what works for you. Don’t allow the stress of the Pandemic force stress into a relationship that you actually want to be in.