Love under Lockdown: Going Virtual

Online dating has boomed since the UK locked down in March. During the coronavirus pandemic, more people are looking online to find love.

Almost all of people’s interactions with other human beings were quickly cut off when the world locked down in March. While social interaction is slowly being introduced again, it just isn’t the same. Social interaction isn’t only about seeing friends, going to the pub, going out for meals…

Colleagues at work provided that social interaction almost daily, sports clubs, religious communities and much more all provided a form of connection. The lockdown has shown how much we rely on daily social interaction and often from places we wouldn’t necessarily consider to be where we might get our main socialisation from! It has led to a lot of people feeling isolated and in many cases, lonely. It has caused the break-up of relationships and marriages but also the desire for new relationships.

Match.com owns well-known dating apps like Tinder and Hinge. From February to April messages being sent across their platforms increased by around 30%. This increase is mainly because people can’t go out and meet people, but the isolation and stress of a global pandemic could be pushing people to want a connection with someone else.

In hard times, people can feel vulnerable, and they tend to look for support in another person; at the moment, many of us seem to be finding that in a potential partner. However, this leads to the question of whether people are dating a person because they genuinely have a connection (which in many cases this is true) or whether they are looking for something to fill the void that corona has created in their lives.

Some psychologists have suggested that the excitement of not being able to meet up/ the risks associated with meeting and having to stick to these strange rules could be imbueing online dating with a new excitement in lockdown.

Whether this is true or not, dating apps are responding by introducing new aspects to their platforms and creating new ways for people to communicate. Bumble and Hinge have introduced video calling. But it has had mixed reviews from singletons. According to Match.com, 58% of singletons said fear of being awkward was a reason they did not want to video call. However, 52% of singletons said that, after coronavirus subsides, they would still use video dates.

It seems that, as with so many other things, coronavirus could be changing the way we date for good.

Photo courtesy of Giorgio Trovato

Categories: Article, Opinion

Mary Litchfield

Archaeologist and Journalist with a passion for history and travel.

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