Woman reveals how she went from dating app to engaged in 2020

In 2020 Elizabeth Long made a commitment to find love, then the pandemic hit.

Finding love takes time and for those trying to find love during quarantine, it can seem almost impossible.

But one woman was able to find love and get engaged in 2020 after appearing on Good Morning America last year.

During an on-air segment on "Good Morning America" Bela Gandhi, founder of the Smart Dating Academy, was matched with Elizabeth Long -- a mom of two girls -- to help Long take a leap back into dating after losing her fiance, Michael Dolan, in 2018.

Long said she had a wake-up call one morning after finishing a mediation that allowed her to recognize she was ready to move forward in 2020 to bring love into this part of her life, and knew in her heart that Michael would have wanted her to find someone too.

Gandhi’s first piece of advice for Long was to get on dating apps like Match and Bumble. At first, Long shared she was incredibly hesitant to sign up for dating apps. But once she fully committed to the process and agreed to join them, they became a “dating lifeline” for her during quarantine and even increased the opportunity for meeting new people.

“Getting on dating apps was the most uncomfortable thing that I had to do during this process,” Long told “Good Morning America.” “What I found though was obviously had I not gone on those apps – I never would have met anyone because shortly after we were under quarantine.”

Long explained the whole world turned upside down when the pandemic hit, and that included dating – which surprisingly had a positive benefit for the new dater.

“I was nervous, I had no idea what the dating scene would look like in 2020,” Long shared. “But with COVID, it just leveled the playing field. Nobody knew how to date during a pandemic.”

So how did she do it? Long says she stayed committed to her positive mindset.

“The mindset was, I was going to have a good time, I was going to have fun. I was not going to come into this with an agenda,” Long shared. “And I was really just going to be open to whatever experience this opportunity brought me.”

She added there were also benefits about dating virtually.

“I felt like it actually slowed the dating process down dramatically,” said Long. “As afraid of the apps as I was, it turns out I loved them. I met a lot of really extraordinary people, I had a lot of great conversations…and, ultimately, I met someone really special on there.”

On Bumble, Long said she swiped right on Corey Ryan, a father of three girls.

“Immediately we connected with our sense of humor,” Long recalled. “He was an excellent communicator. Right out of the gate, he got vulnerable, started telling me about himself, he told me about his daughters, who he just adores, and started to tell me about his background and his history.”

Elizabeth explained that Corey has been a perfect fit into her family and vice versa. "He just has this amazing capacity to love," she added.

Now, after taking a leap of faith, Long hopes that her journey to finding love inspires others to do the same this year.

Ready to leap into love? Here are some of Gandhi’s top tips:

It’s all about mindset

"Her mindset was fantastic," said Gandhi of Long’s eagerness to find love again after her fiance passed away. "As scared as she was in the beginning to go online, she was ‘psychotically optimistic’ in her mindset. She said ‘I’m just going to go on these dates and am excited to make some new friends.’ Mindset and being optimistic is everything in dating. A positive (and psychotically optimistic) mindset will be an enormous factor in your dating success. You need to closely examine your beliefs about yourself, to start to reset your mindset with one that serves you better!"

Figure out which apps to be on

Gandhi recommends being on no more than two dating apps at a time.

“My general advice is for everyone to be on 1-2 apps at the same time,” she advised. “Not more than two --- because it could make you exhausted. Do research for what sites/apps are good in your city, for your age range - and try one! Have a 30 day strategy around this -- and keep it fluid so you don’t feel tied down to any one site.”

Look for any potential red flags

Gandhi noted that while some people may seem great “on paper” or great in the beginning when meeting someone for the first time, over time you may see anger or controlling tendencies in that person. When this happens, Gandhi says to cut things off.

“If you have a history of dating people with red flags, you may have a dating pattern,” said Gandhi. “Patterns, like any patterns can be hard to break. If you find yourself gravitating toward narcissistic, avoidant, controlling, non-committal types, it is time to change who you’re accepting in your dating life.”

“You can control who you’re accepting, and if someone isn’t treating you the way you should be, you can get rid of them and look for others,” Gandhi added. “A great way to prevent accepting red flags is to SLOW the dating process down -- there is no substitute for time.”

Stay in the game for the long haul

While Long was able to find love after taking Gandhi’s advice, Gandhi pointed out that it wasn’t always easy. But despite the challenges that she was faced when it came to dating in 2020, Gandhi said Long kept going through thick and thin.

“Dating is a marathon not a sprint -- and it's tempting when a disappointment occurs to just quit,” said Gandhi. “Long powered through tons of dates, never giving up, and always being grateful for the process. Sometimes it feels like the Sahara desert and you wonder if you'll ever make it through the marathon -- and other times, it can feel like, ‘It's raining men, hallelujah!’ In time, it will happen. Patience, positivity and perseverance will get you through even the driest, darkest times.”