Online dating may actually be better because of Coronavirus12.07.2022
My best friend and I went on a date a few days before the coronavirus epidemic swept through New York City. Hinge had introduced her to a man she liked and they planned to go out for pinball at a bar. This was the standard first date stuff. As she was about to leave, she got a series of disturbing texts. His coworker might have tested positive for coronavirus in his office. He said that he was looking forward to spending time with her tonight, and she agreed to meet him.
It was a strange, sweet evening. They exchanged Purell for a goodnight kiss, gave each other an elbow bump and cleaned the pinball machine with Clorox wipes. The city closed down bars and restaurants the day after, ending traditional first dates. My friend is still wondering if she should have asked for a raincheck.
Fast forward to April, and almost half the world has moved indoors for indefinite periods of semi-solitary confinement. You might think that this is a bad time to meet someone new. But people are finding creative ways to adapt to distance. Virtual hangouts have become the new home parties and Seamless can be used to send a romantic meal to your partner. The app launched “Date From Home” last month to allow users to notify matches when they are available for a digital date’ to chat face to face.
Although we may be separated by 6 feet or hundreds of kilometers, in a sense, we are more connected than ever.
What does this social phenomenon have to do with romance in the future? How can we take care of ourselves and each other in a healthy manner? And how can we keep our minds sane? These are the questions we asked dating and psychology experts. For their insights and to learn how covid-19 readers navigate love, read on.
To swipe or not swipe? These are the pros and cons to looking for love during a pandemic
A single life can be very liberating, especially for those who live alone. It doesn’t matter if the dishwasher isn’t loaded correctly, the soap isn’t filled, or you hog the TV all day. Some solo-dwellers, like Jessica Adams, are becoming more concerned about the effects of isolation on their romantic lives. Adams says, “I have always avoided dating apps as I prefer meeting in person. But now, they’re my only option.” “A part of me believes that swiping can boost my morale but it could also be pointless after some time.” Many singles face the same problem as social distancing. Is it worth trying to find love online with all the other things going on?
Susan Winter, a relationship expert and best-selling author, says that it depends on whether you are looking for connection out of fear of being alone. For some, loneliness can lead to a desire to find a partner. Do you think it is possible to want a partner too much? If the answer is yes then you should take this opportunity to be alone. It’s rare that we have this chance to look at ourselves. Find out what you fear about being alone, and then overcome it. You’ll be able to overcome your self-quarantine and have self-trust that will help you in future relationships.
This could be a great opportunity to find the person you are looking for and to meet new people if you are motivated. Winter says that this is a great time to make real connections, as you cannot jump into sexualizing a relationship. Once restrictions are lifted, it is important to get to know one another now in order for your relationships to be stronger.
Jasmyn Ellis, a Bumble user, says that she has felt a “seismic change” in online dating ever since the coronavirus began to spread. “I have noticed that I am making deeper connections online and that I’ve met more people I like. It’s possible that I feel more comfortable with people I meet on Bumble, or if I am feeling the pressure to meet in person.”
You can stay positive and in control of your relationship life by taking charge of it. Mildred Borras, a New York City-based psychologist says: “Stay focused on what you can control and don’t make any negative predictions about the future of your relationship — romantic or not.”
Apps for dating are seeing an increase in activity and making meaningful connections
If social distancing can reveal anything about us, it’s our need to connect. The evidence is being shown on dating apps in real time. Vice president of strategy at Bumble Priti Joshi reports that there was an 84% increase of in-app voice and video calls between March 9th and 23rd, the period when social distancing rules were in effect. Joshi believes that this increase in communication is a sign that users are looking for new ways to connect with each other.
Joshi says, “I think this shift in our lives has really put the spotlight on tools that help us feel connected to other digitally.” Joshi states that Bumble is witnessing more than one-fourth of chats transform into something meaningful — such as an inapp call or videochat — and she believes this is a sign that people are using their time alone to get to know one another on a deeper level than before COVID-19.
Similar apps report an increase in activity. OkCupid reported a global increase in matches of 10%, and a 30% increase on messages since March 11th. According to OkCupid, women are engaging more and making 40% more introductions than ever before. Hinge’s recent study also found that 70% of users are open to digital dating. If you are up for a virtual date with one of your matches then the odds are in favor.
Coronavirus is changing the way singles communicate on the apps
You’ve matched! Now what? It’s a delicate art to chat on the app. It starts with a compliment, a joke, or a pick-up line. If the conversation continues past that hurdle, there is a lot of banter which either leads to a date, or radio silence. That’s the way it was before the coronavirus changed things. Chats are now more frequent and last longer. So what are people discussing?
According to many users, conversations are varied but COVID-19 remains a central topic of discussion. Haleigh Bernbaum, a Hinge user, finds creative ways to bring up COVID-19 early and expand into other topics such as entertainment or career. Bernbaum said that she was currently trying to strike a healthy balance between Netflix production and productivity. Bernbaum says, “It’s an easy way to deal with the situation without getting personal right away. And it gives us the opportunity to talk about something normal.”
Rebecca Brown started a Bumble account recently to learn more about singles who are dealing with isolation. Brown says that most conversations begin with discussing how we are keeping busy during quarantine. But she also notes that it is difficult to talk about work when you get a reply like “I’m not working”.
Brown also noticed a wide range in the level of coronavirus precaution among her matches. Some people are scared to leave the house, while others feel it’s okay to invite friends over for a front porch party. In both cases, it can be helpful to see how potential partners respond in crisis situations when choosing which partner to pursue.
You can be creative with virtual dates
Let’s say you meet someone and decide that you want to connect online. How do you make video chats more fun so they feel like real dates? Singles are becoming more creative as the lonely weeks go on. Alisha Collins met someone on OkCupid in February. They went on a few dates before the pandemic. They now have a place to shelter and they make plans for video chats and “together” movies while sending messages back and forth. Collins says, “It’s not as fun as hanging out in person but it keeps the spark alive.”
For the conversation, it is a great time to ask questions about your date, their passions, goals and dreams. “Be sure to touch on both sides of the getting-to-know-each-other process. Winter recommends that you address both the larger issues and the smaller details. You can collaborate on projects, swap playlists and take a virtual tour of a national park or museum. Or you can make the same meal in both your own kitchens. There are so many creative possibilities, which is actually quite fun.
Are you nervous about your first video chat? Bumble VP suggests that you charge your phone and find the right lighting. Wear whatever makes you feel comfortable, even if it’s sweatpants and slippers. They won’t know.