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Dating During COVID: What’s Changed And What’s Stayed The Same

couple laughing while on walk in park in Autumn

Dating during COVID was, during the first half of the pandemic, an oxymoron. When the pandemic began and the world was flung unsuspectingly into quarantines and lockdowns, romance wasn’t the first thing on most people’s minds.

Before long, however, restlessness grew among the single folks of the world. When weeks indoors became months, the world’s single population found themselves cruelly deprived of romance – and necessity is the mother of invention.

From nowhere, new forms of dating emerged. Suddenly, the go-to dating app meet-ups became socially distanced strolls in the park, chats through cracked open windows, or glasses of wine sipped in front of webcams. Dating during COVID had arrived.

How did dating during COVID change things?

Perhaps the most powerful change that occurred during the start of the pandemic was the realization among would-be daters that even if you were to match with somebody on a dating app, there was no guarantee you would see them in person for a very long time. 

This uncertainty and distance by itself could, in the right circumstances, be quite romantic; if one of you had been out to sea seeking adventure and fortune, for example. If you’re both slumped in your respective living rooms wearing oversized pajamas, however, things become a little less swashbuckling. To keep things sexy, people had to get creative.

Let’s take a look at what’s changed and what’s stayed the same about dating as a result of COVID.

Dating apps have shot up in popularity

Every year, more and more people take the plunge into online dating. When everybody was trying to figure out how to continue dating during COVID, we saw huge spikes in downloads

It seems people weren’t put off by the fact that they couldn’t meet and date in person and were simply happy to swipe, match and chat from their homes. Feelings of loneliness arising during the pandemic, particularly among young people, are reported to be the cause of the surge in downloads. As a result, many dating apps altered their apps to allow daters extra ways of flirting and bonding. 

Video chat has been introduced on dating apps

Some dating apps have had video calling as an option long before dating during COVID started making the news. Others evolved quickly and adapted to new ways of connecting.

Apps like Zoosk introduced a live streaming platform, with a survey revealing a majority (57%) of members will adopt a mixture of video and in-person dating going forward. 71% also said that they’ve gone on to meet their video date in person after connecting virtually. With this, video dating found its time to shine.

Virtual dates can take you around the world

Since the first few months of the pandemic, video dating has been refined to an art. Today, not only can you use video calls on your first date, but you can also take virtual tours of cities around the world, the best museums and galleries, and much more.

Anything is possible, from cooking classes to walking tours of famous locations, platforms like Zoosk Great Dates have started to offer instant online adventures to really spice up the virtual first date experience. Take your date on a virtual wine tour in Naples or explore the ancient architecture of Athens. These interactive experiences are a great way to break the ice with someone new and keep the convo flowing.

Apps have introduced ‘vaccinated’ stamps

There are some issues that are important to daters, and along with a potential partner’s politics, religion, and general outlook on life, it seems singles are seeking out people who match their own views on vaccinations.

On many dating apps today, alongside your height, job title, and details like whether or not you smoke, you can now add a section to detail whether you’ve had your COVID vaccination.

Alternative dates are in vogue

Sitting in a bar all evening is so 2019. The emergence of COVID brought with it an altogether new style of dating: slightly awkward, kind-of sweet socially distanced walks. During those long months where bars and cafes were closed and the only thing to do was head outside, singles around the world grew accustomed to meeting up during daylight hours, without the social lubrication of a couple of drinks, to stroll around parks and city blocks together.

Today, with the worst of the pandemic (hopefully) behind us, it looks as if ruddy-cheeked, innocent ambling is here to stay as a first-date option.

After a very long wait, normality is on the horizon

That is to say… some normality. As bars, restaurants, parks, and cafes around the world begin to open up once again, it’s becoming an increasingly common sight to see first-date couples chatting animatedly over drinks once again.

However, while the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns were certainly a spanner in the works (understatement of the year), perhaps some lasting good has been done for the world of dating.

In the same way that working from home has improved the work-life balance for many employees around the world, the necessary advancement of dating apps has brought about more choice than ever for single people looking for love.

We learned a lot from our relationships during coronavirus. It may have been a confusing and disorientating experience in the early months, but hopefully, in the future, singles searching for that special someone will have a smoother dating experience than ever before.

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