Puckering-Up in the Pandemic

Has dating really changed, or do we just think it has?

Throughout lockdown, human connection has been at an all-time low as we’ve now made our lives more digital as we haven’t been able to go out or leave our homes. So how have people been finding their new beaus? Surely lockdown would’ve prevented new relationships blossoming, no?

For some, single life during a pandemic just did not cut it and so rules have been broken, social distancing has been not even thought of and ‘what rhymes with hugging?’, yeah that’s been going on too. It’s not just hook-ups though, many relationships have bloomed due to lockdown with people moving in with one another, starting their new lives quarantining together.

Many of the rules of dating have been flipped around and turned on its head. Originally, moving in with one another had been a huge step in a relationship but in a pandemic, it was more of a will we wont we? Can couples bare being apart from each other for more than a couple months or is that too much? If they couldn’t, moving in with each other for a while was the option.

Dating has changed massively over the past year. Many dating apps now have a virtual date option, where you “meet” the person you’ve been talking too so you can catch their vibe without having to awkwardly leave a bad date early. Bumble even introduced benches with seats six feet apart for those who wanted an ‘offline date’. Although many of the benches placed by Bumble haven’t been in the UK, it’s reassuring to know that people in other places of the world are still finding love in this tough time.

I spoke to some people who have experienced dating during the past 3 lockdowns and they all said a mixture of things about dating in a pandemic. One said that they didn’t feel the need to have virtual dates, and all their dates were in-person. Others said they waited 3 months before meeting someone they’d met through dating apps. Despite all the excitement about virtual dates with apps such as Tinder and Bumble really pushing the idea, many people I spoke to said that they didn’t even participate in a virtual date. One guy said he’d been on 3 virtual dates but to no avail as he still found just messaging someone only feeling like half the story.

I spoke to one woman who said that her and her partner got together during the second lockdown and it was easy because neither of them were working so they spent most days talking to each other on the phone. They did meet on a dating app, but no virtual date was needed because they hit it off straight away. So maybe lockdown is creating a more meaningful connection between people? It might be that the pandemic has made people pickier when it comes to dating and who they spend their time with.

Written by Zinnia Bridgman