For many Pittsburghers, the coronavirus pandemic has ended their dreams of cute dating in bars and at concerts and pushed their love lives online. When your dating pool is confined to your smartphone, it can be difficult to feel truly connected.
We asked two local couples how they went from online dating to âI want itâ.
Ben Musial and Chelsea Schaffer say you should ‘be yourself’ but ‘be fearless’ too. After slipping directly onto each other’s Tinder profiles, the couple’s first date was at Bigham Tavern.
“Ben sent me a message first,” said Chelsea. âWhat I liked most about him was that he got right to the point and immediately invited me for a drink. And he called me âChelsâ, which is always an extra point in my book. “
After their first dates, they took care of college and walked away from each other. Three months later, Ben approached Chelsea again and invited her to a concert at the Rex Theater. She ended up accepting his invitation after her roommates encouraged her to give it another chance.
“And I’m so glad they encouraged me to do it,” she said, “because going to this concert I got to see Ben as her most comfortable person.”
She met several of Ben’s friends that night, which made them both more comfortable.
âEveryone on the show knew him and loved him,â she says. “I was like, there’s really something here.”
Three and a half years later, Ben proposed to Chelsea on Mount Washington. They were married on November 20, 2020 at the Monaco Hotel, Downtown.
Chelsea and Ben think it’s important to schedule dates in places where you and your potential partner feel relaxed.
“I would encourage everyone to meet people where they are,” Chelsea said. âMeeting people in their comfort zone, in their element, because that’s where you’re ultimately going to get to know someone. “
Tim Dodson and Katelyn Petraglia met on the Coffee Meets Bagel dating app in 2017. Tim first texted Katelyn and broke the ice by asking about his brother, whom he knew from a Common friend.
Tim believes that one of the most important aspects of dating online is being confident enough to take the first step and invite someone out.
âYou know, texting and meeting someone is always different,â he says. âBut you never know who you’ll meet on the other end of the phone. “
For their first date, Tim asked Katelyn to attend a football game at the University of Pittsburgh. They dated for two years before he proposed on November 6, 2019. Their wedding took place at the Heinz Memorial Chapel on June 5 of this year.
Katelyn knows that many more people are meeting their partners online now due to the pandemic and has called it the âmodern love storyâ.
âSome people always post their best photos,â she says, âand sometimes they’re not overly honest in their profile. My advice is just to be honest with yourself. That’s really how you find true love, it’s by being honest.
Like Katelyn, Chelsea knows that online dating is more common than ever. She hopes others in Pittsburgher can embrace the change.
âThe dating landscape has changed so much,â she says. âWhen Ben and I first met on Tinder, we were almost embarrassed to tell people that, and now I don’t think there is any shame in meeting your partner. â¦ In the end, I found myself, and there is no right or wrong way to go about it.