What Happens to Dating During a Pandemic

Already today, the covid-19 pandemic and quarantine measures have greatly changed the relationship between people. Meeting friends or family is now possible only online, and the circle of constant live communication is limited to those with whom a person isolated himself in the same apartment.

It is logical that the changes also affected the dating sphere. In many countries today there are restrictions on movement and interaction between people: somewhere you can go only to the nearest store or pharmacy, somewhere you cannot gather in a group of more than two people, or it is not recommended to communicate with those with whom you do not live in the same house.

Don’t be alone

For those who are already in relationships (it does not matter whether they are permanent or not), the regime of self-isolation pushes to take action and not always easy decisions. Someone is separated by a distance (even within the same city), while someone, on the contrary, takes actions that, in calmer conditions, would require at least several more months – for example, to move together.

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It also happens that a couple begins to live together at the very beginning of a relationship – for example, because someone has no way to return home due to closed borders.

Online format

There are no opportunities to meet in a bar or at a party when all public spaces are closed – and the correspondence can develop into a date in person at best in a few weeks when the restrictions are lifted. Unsurprisingly, with the onset of the pandemic, many familiar interaction formats began to move online.

For example, the American dating application Coffee Meets Bagel began to hold online meetings for ten to fifteen people, which are regulated by a moderator working for the company. If the participant liked someone from those present at the meeting, he can write about this to the moderator – if the sympathy is mutual, they are helped to contact each other directly. In Facebook groups, blind dates are arranged: those who wish to apply through an online form, and then the algorithm randomly composes pairs – they meet in the zoom.

All over the world

Dating apps like Tinder, Bumble, and Feeld have become more active in helping users connect in isolation and empowering them. For example, Tinder made Passport a free feature for all users, which allows you to match people regardless of geolocation. It is logical, considering that in the coming months there is no difference with whom to sex – with those who live on another continent, or with neighbors in the area. Feeld, which focuses on inclusiveness and non-monogamous relationships, has launched three virtual “locations” in which users can meet someone from other countries. Some apps have begun to help users feel as if they are communicating life: for example, Bumble, where the first step for communication must be made by a female user, has focused on video chats and calls.

New perspectives

It is, of course, premature to draw far-reaching conclusions that the pandemic will change the way we date and build relationships – in a few months we may return to the usual practices and rhythm of life. However, it is easy to imagine that many will find a way to apply the experience gained during the pandemic. For example, remote communication, as in the case of the labor market, may increase.

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Quarantine is a difficult time for relationships: it is not for nothing that the media began to publish en masse instructions on how not to divorce, staying at home without getting out, and the schedule of cases of domestic violence has crept up. It is really hard to be locked up with a partner for an indefinite period, no matter how much you love each other, so now it is especially important to listen to other people’s needs, and speak directly about your own, without forcing your life partner to guess. Try not to scold yourself for breakdowns and use the isolation time to get to know each other better and learn how to harmoniously resolve conflicts: a secret resentment against a partner who did not wash the dishes or speaks on Skype without headphones can spoil the atmosphere in the house, but about cool confidential sex there can be no question. Remember that all family members are especially vulnerable in isolation and discuss your emotions and anxieties.

Anastasia Fetter

Anastasia Fetter