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The pandemic is a lonely time, especially for singles who live on their own. With many restrictions that were only very recently lifted against those fully vaccinated, there was no way to meet new people in person, let alone go dating. Feelings of isolation can lead to mental health issues. It is normal for people to try to find solace through human connections.
Meeting and Dating People Online
More people than ever began to reach out online, mostly on dating apps and matchmaking services. The former uses algorithms to match people based on their data, while the latter has professional matchmakers and coaches who make matches. According to The Drum, at the start of the pandemic, more than eight in 10 singles went online dating.
A survey from Morning Consult among 4,400 American adults from February 4 to 7, 2021, shows that the number of people who tried online dating increased from 29 per cent in 2018 to 36 per cent in 2021. The number of people who said they increased their usage of dating apps rose from 53 per cent in April 2020 to 71 per cent in February 2021. Respondents had a net positive sentiment towards online dating, with millennials having the highest net positive attitude. This stems from the fact that millennials also reported the highest percentage of positive experiences in online dating.
Through online dating, more than one in ten met a partner in 2021, mostly among millennials and Gen Z. Across all generations, more than four in ten believe that these relationships can succeed just as much as those that began offline. Also, more than four in ten respondents know someone who met their partner on a dating service, and more than three in ten know of someone who married the partner they met on such a service.
New Behaviour in Online Dating
People are already familiar with ghosting or abruptly cutting off communication with someone without any explanation. This has been happening long before the pandemic. There are new types of behaviour that have cropped up in online dating, though, with some of them related to the pandemic. Plenty of Fish surveyed 2,000 American users aged 18 to 74 in October 2020 and found these.
Fauci-ing means refusing to date someone who does not take COVID-19 seriously and disregards health and safety measures. It comes, of course, from denying the advice of Dr. Fauci. Maskerading refers to someone pretending to follow pandemic health and safety rules and being found out. For instance, a photo comes out on social media showing this unvaccinated person mingling in a crowd without a mask.
Apocalypsing means getting too serious too early while dating as if there is not enough time left in the world. This is most common among Gen Z. Folklore-ing is the opposite, getting carried away with the idea of a fairytale romance and waiting for it while neglecting what is before them. Millennials admit to doing this.
Hey & Pray means spamming all matches on dating apps with just an impersonal “Hey” and expecting a response. Some 60 per cent of millennials stated that they experience this all the time. Stalk-blocking means setting all social media accounts to private to avoid stalking. About a fourth of millennials have done this. Waldo-ing means not posting one’s solo photo on social and posting only group shots instead. As a result, people are not sure how the person looks.
Zoomlander-ing is what self-obsessed people do. On a zoom date, they spend more time admiring their own image instead of looking at the person they are conversing with. A third of millennials and Gen Z adults have experienced this. Endgame-ing is worse. It is accidentally sending a not-safe-for-work photo or video to someone they are dating. End of dates.
Bradying means ending a relationship against the opinion of family and friends. A fourth of singles have faced this difficulty. Sanitizing means erasing all traces of an ex-partner from one’s social media accounts. Nearly half of women know of someone who has done this.
The Bright Side
The pandemic has also caused people to pause and reflect on their dating attitudes. According to Match’s 2020 Singles in America survey among 5,000 Americans in August, 53 per cent prioritized searching for a relationship compared to pre-pandemic times, and 58 per cent became more mindful and intentional when dating.
Half, led by Gen Z, engaged in meaningful conversations before dating in person. More than six in 10 spent more time getting to know each other and became more honest toward potential partners. More than half widened their search range and re-evaluated their basis for choosing partners, focusing less on physical attraction.
People also considered second chances. Although more than a fourth of singles had breakups due to lockdowns, a fourth experienced the possibility of reuniting with an ex. More than one in 10 revived a past relationship under lockdown.
With fully vaccinated people now able to meet in person without masks and physical distancing, there will be more opportunities for relationships to blossom, not just online.