Dating has never been harder than it is right now . There is no meeting at bars, churches, or libraries, or even work! People are in isolation, are feeling isolated too, They are not able to chat in person with their peers, socialize, goof around, or lock eyes with another from across the room. They won’t meet on the dance floor and lift the nerves by taking jello shots, or whatever they did before social distancing was a phrase.
So how do you date during COVID ? We now live in a world where there are recommendations for no kissing, no hugging, only elbow bumping, and a 6 foot distance. Many are working from home or out of work entirely. People are not milling around at bars, or setting people up these days. The only way to hope to really date ( and I use that word loosely ) is online. You sign up for a dating site and spend your time scrolling through hundreds of profiles , looking through details of personalities hoping to get a nibble, You can choose to be picky, because after all this could be your true soul mate.
One mans profile says he is a former professional football star, now in management, he states he has a great personality, is fit, healthy, fun, and humble. That’s a definite turn off says one friend, who says you should be offering hobbies, but not necessarily personality traits on your profile. When you are getting to know someone, then you can ask the questions that lead to the personality. The “humble” at the end certainly got her laughing though. She scrolls through so many of these profiles, looking for a match. Many of these sites offer hand tailored formulas, such as eharmony, which states they find your perfect match, to websites that have only senior dating, farmers only.com, which are for, well farmers and the rural community, there are dating site specifically to the rich, LGBTQ, polyamorous, the list goes on and on. But I digress, this is specifically about dating in COVID climate.
In a survey on Bumble during COVID 19, 80% of the respondents in the US are open to meeting a match in person rather than going on a virtual date. 60% of singles said if they are forced into another lock-down, they want a quarantine buddy so they can shelter together. According to eharmony, 36% of the people surveyed agreed two months of quarantine felt like two years of being in a committed relationship. and 36% said they reached the milestone of moving in together much quickly than they would have without the lock down.
18-35 year old are the main users of dating sites with at least 50% of that group using one . These are the group that are not adverse to seeking connections outside of lock down as they are not seeing symptoms that are serious if they do contract COVID. We are social beings, and need connections and interactions. If this epidemic has taught us anything, it is that we cannot be kept down long before we crave another human beings presence. I wrote a piece not long ago about generational influence on coping skills with COVID and I think this just illustrates the continuing differences in how different generations cope with disasters. Generation Z has been hit with 911 at a impressionable age, and that alone shaped how they cope with things of magnitude and the levels of anxieties that they have. They differences from other generations are they are very open and and are willing to talk about mental health, which is a big topic with COVID and lock down. It is bound to come into the conversation at some point. while online dating. However, they do still worry , and feel they have a responsibility in this epidemic . I spoke to a group of 25 year old women who said they do online date, and use the dating app “Hinge” however they tend to gravitate towards meeting in a outdoor venue, such as a park, where they have plenty of space and open air to get to know their date. I spoke to a 27 year old gentleman that said we have to be cautious about not only ourselves, but our parents too, as his girlfriend, whom he met online, works at a car dealership, and her co-worker recently tested positive for COVID, They all got tested, and she was negative. But that could have impacted his trip to see his father, and his cousin, who has immune problems.
68% worry that they are being “Catfished” or the person’s picture is not who they really are, or the person has bad intentions. Website insist that if you follow their rules, you will have a good experience. The other worry is their personal information is being stolen, or getting their information to contact them on their personal pages. This could happen on any platform, but they have firewalls and protection to try to allay the breech as best they can. It seems older members may have more of a angst about this than the younger set.
As we look at potentially another round of isolation, more social distancing, and more imaginative work environments, we continue to have to find ways to be creative when expressing emotions and starting romantic relationships. We are all more conscience of our surroundings and our protections, in this new age, we must all weigh the pros and cons carefully and make our own decisions of how we wish to take on dating in this new world.