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Courtney Vinopal Courtney Vinopal. When California issued a stay-at-home order back in March to curb the spread of the coronavirus, Dana Angelo, a year-old copywriter at an ad agency in Los Angeles, found herself with more free time.
So, out of boredom, she turned to a social activity she could still do from home: She got back on the dating app, Bumble. But something surprising happened this time around: She actually met someone she genuinely likes.
After texting for a few days, she organized a virtual date via FaceTime with the match she liked, chatting over drinks for about two hours. The third time, their FaceTime date was over brunch, for about four hours. Eventually, they took the step of meeting in person with a walk in his neighborhood — albeit keeping a 6-foot distance, with her dog in between them. It has actually improved her dating life.
And most importantly, they have something to talk about.
Not everyone, though, is keen to get into online dating, even if spending more time than usual alone at home has made some otherwise happily single people reconsider their feelings about finding a long-term companion. Not to mention that the pandemic has ushered in mass unemployment, higher levels of stress, greater strain for single parents and worries about fatal risks from stepping outside your door — factors not necessarily conducive to romance.
While some have sought solace on dating apps, others are looking to online communities to connect with those who are also having a hard time, or focusing on friends and family who were already part of their life before the coronavirus.
Still, some daters looking for a relationship in the time of social isolation are finding opportunity.
The popularity of online dating has grown immensely over the last decade, and is now the most common way that couples in the U. The was even higher for same-sex couples that year, 60 percent of whom reported meeting online in Fifty years ago, a global pandemic might have hindered single people from connecting with prospects through their family, friends or faith communities. But these days, most people are connecting virtually to start anyway.
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The stay-at-home orders issued across the country have been a boon for some of the major online dating apps. Since March, the company has seen a whopping percent increase in the amount of OKCupid users going on a virtual date. The app Hornet, which caters to the gay male community, has seen a percent increase in social feed engagement since social distancing measures began in mid-March, according to CEO Christof Wittig. And the dating app Tinder reported that it saw more engagement on March 29 than on any other day in its history, with more than 3 billion users swiping to connect with people, according to an April 1 press release.
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Once dating app users have made an initial connection, the way that they are getting to know each other has changed ificantly during this period of social distancing. Most bars and restaurants, traditional first date spots, are closed down, and those who elect to meet up with a stranger could risk contracting COVID themselves, or spreading it to others. As a result, many singles have taken their meetups online, electing to go on virtual dates via Zoom or FaceTime, or through video chat features on the dating apps themselves.
Recent surveys conducted by online dating companies indicate that members are more inclined to try this now than ever before. As of the end of April 23, 51 percent of users on the dating app Coffee Meets Bagel said they planned to video chat more, and 18 percent had had at least one video call with a match.
He noted that terror management theory — which suggests that people evaluate their environments and social interactions differently when faced with their own mortality — may explain why singles have been more open to trying new things during this period. This is true for sexual relationships, in some cases. The Kinsey Institute recently conducted a study of a diverse range of adults agedand found that while Instead of putting her dating life on hold during the pandemic, she recently agreed to chat over FaceTime with a man she met online.
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Like, do I get dressed up to this? Do I put on makeup? What are we gonna talk about besides the coronavirus and being in quarantine? She added that going on a FaceTime date took off a little bit of the pressure because they were both in their home environments, and she planned to do one again with the same person.
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Although the guy she had been talking to online lives miles away, she said that distance seemed less of a deal breaker since California shut down amid the pandemic. She said she actually liked being able to meet up with an online connection in the park because it feels safer and more secure than a bar, for example.
For Justin Becker, a year-old lawyer based in Washington, D. He recently chatted over Google Hangouts with a guy he met in person before the pandemic began, but has not done so with anyone he met on a dating app. Before the novel coronavirus hit, U. But, for some, slowing down has encouraged them to open up about priorities and feelings earlier on than they would have otherwise. Connor Price, a year-old who recently moved from New York to Los Angeles to work for a music nonprofit, found that true when he started seeing a woman right around the time California shut down.
So she and Price started taking nightly walks in their neighborhoods, keeping 6 feet distance from one another. Gradually, the two have started to spend more time together, and even shared their first kiss of the pandemic while making dinner one night.
Fisher argues that the coronavirus-related shutdowns have made conditions ripe for romance like the one Price entered at the beginning of March. Of course not everyone is looking for the sort of long-term relationship Fisher spoke about, while others who were content being single before the pandemic have had a harder time dealing with being alone as they stay home and miss the normal social interactions of daily life and human touch. There are certainly singles who have sought to do this. Twenty-six-year-old Patrick Easley had been talking to a few guys on Hinge and Tinder, but lost the momentum when he moved back home to be with his mother, who is Support Provided By: Learn more.
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By — Courtney Vinopal Courtney Vinopal. Leave a comment. Share on Facebook Share on Twitter. Coronavirus has changed online dating. Dating goes virtual The popularity of online dating has grown immensely over the last decade, and is now the most common way that couples in the U. Additional Support Provided By:.