Every year the dating world gets more complicated, and throwing a pandemic into the mix did nothing to help. Those who were already in a relationship often had to either test the waters in lockdown or embrace long-distance dating despite living in the same area code. But, there were three options for those who were single: either adopt a fully online dating experience (hello zoom sex), risk your health for a sneaky link, or abstain entirely.
Now that lockdown is over, and people are getting their jabs, more of us are beginning to brave the live-action dating world once again. But just as it has changed our day-to-day lives, COVID has also left its mark on the dating world - possibly for the better.
People are more intentional with dating
Multiple dating apps such as Hinge and Match found that the pandemic has spurred people to become more intentional and mindful when making connections. This isn’t surprising, as lockdowns have forced many of us to take time for ourselves and reflect on our dating app usage as well as what we actually want to get out of this seemingly endless swiping.
When in-person dating could very well put our health at risk, people have also been more mindful when considering going on dates. Now, dates are much more likely to get to know each other virtually before deciding to get within a two-metre distance.
Video dating may be sticking around
Let’s face it if you’re not so sure about getting to know someone, going on virtual dates is an easy, low-effort and often cost-effective way to screen them. A Tinder Future of Dating report also revealed that a full ‘40 per cent of Gen Z Tinder members say they will continue to go on digital dates, even as date spots re-open.’
Daters will become more transparent with their boundaries
The coronavirus pandemic created an environment where people could openly discuss both physical and mental boundaries. Not only did we need to be clear on our desire for people to social distance or wear masks, but living in lockdowns also prompted conversations about mental health boundaries and creating a healthy work/life balance. And, according to Tinder, boundary setting will live on in the post-lockdown dating world:
Tinder members used their bios to make their expectations clear: the phrase ‘wear a mask’ went up 100X over the course of the pandemic, ‘boundaries’ is being used more than ever (up 19%), and the term ‘consent’ rose 11%.
YPulse’s Dating in a Post-COVID World study also revealed that 17% of singles had conversations with their matches about safety before meeting up, and 16% even discussed consent before physically touching their date. This is a trend we can definitely get behind.
First dates will be more about fun activities
Now that we can break the ice and get to know each other via virtual dating, there’s not as much need to meet up at a bar or restaurant on the first date. Instead, people will be opting for more fun, creative and personal first dates that help us bond on a deeper level.
People will be less committal
Some people won’t be happy about this one, but the pandemic has bred the desire to date around rather than commit. Couple almost a year without much physical contact and the harsh realities of revenge dating, and it’s no surprise that people aren’t in any rush to settle down. Tinder has revealed that mentions of phrases like ‘see where things go’ in bios have risen 19% since the start of the pandemic, while ‘open to’ increased by 17%. Those who mentioned they were looking for ‘no particular type of relationship’ also rose by almost 50%. So, why not go with the flow? Take your matches on a few virtual dates before deciding if you want to proceed.
Daters will become more authentic
Coronavirus lockdowns have been the world’s greatest humbler. All this time to ourselves has allowed more vulnerability in addressing how we look and feel. Tinder revealed that mentions of anxiety in bios grew 31% since the start of the pandemic, while the popularity of the word ‘normalise’ grew by a whopping 15 times. Clearly, daters now want to communicate who they are and what they’re about right from the jump.
Proximity is key
Those who were stuck in a long-distance relationship over lockdown or couldn’t see their partner due to social distancing rules probably wouldn’t want to risk doing it again. While some couples may literally go the distance, the pandemic has reminded us all that it’s nice to date someone who lives nearby.