We won’t be kissing on the first date anymore.
Since the beginning of coronavirus quarantine lockdown, we’ve all been fantasizing about what we will do once restrictions are lifted. The last couple of months have conditioned us into sticking to our tight inner circle, staying as far away from strangers as is physically safe.
After such a long time of self-isolation and social distancing, how will we feel comfortable with dating and pursuing romantic connections with strangers? How can we meet people in a world with maximum capacity rules and a mandatory 6 feet of distance at all times?
How will coronavirus change dating as we know it?
Our world has been forever changed by this pandemic, so it’s somewhat inevitable that our dating patterns will, too. And we shouldn’t expect dating after coronavirus to be an easy feat.
Dr, Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases and a key member of the White House’s coronavirus task force, has already said, “I don’t think we should ever shake hands ever again.”
So, how can we expect to resume casual hookups if we won’t even make physical contact with strangers?
Physical touch is an important part of the dating process, as we use it to establish chemistry and to flirt. Emerging from isolation, our entire generation will think twice before they hug strangers to greet them, let alone kiss on a first date.
Removing physical contact from our everyday interactions will alter the way we form romantic connections.
The desire to connect is one of our basic human instincts, and it seems unlikely that this will be entirely repressed by fears of the virus or by government restrictions. We will naturally want to resume our romantic pursuits once we can safely leave our homes.
According to Helen Fisher, a biological anthropologist at the Kinsey Institute, “Thirst and hunger aren’t going to die, and neither are feelings of love and attachment that allow you to pass your DNA to the next generation.”
Tracy Crossley, a behavioral relationship expert, is less optimistic. Crossley predicts that more people will want to remain single after coronavirus, as it will be a while before they feel comfortable around strangers again. She expects that fear will play a role, leaving people to find other ways to be social that don’t involve dating.
Though isolation has made us fearful of human interaction, it has also been an important period of self-reflection and has forced many of us to reorder our priorities.
When we emerge into this new, more cautious world, we are likely to approach dating differently.
Perhaps this change will come in the form of more solid emotional connections. With physical contact as a last resort, we might have to turn to some good old-fashioned conversation to make meaningful bonds before risking our health by coming into contact with a stranger.
Already, online dating activity has soared in the wake of this global pandemic. Bumble, a dating app, reported an 84 percent increase in the use of their voice and video call feature. This spike shows that, despite the pandemic, humans have a desire to connect and form new relationships.
These calls, on average, lasted up to 30 minutes which “only further validates that when physical connection is limited humans will seek out other means to interact and engage,” said a Bumble representative.
The singletons adapting to this new social distance dating will come out of quarantine with a new appreciation for communication, above all.
Taking this time to go deeper with a romantic partner means meaningless flings could be on hold indefinitely. Daters will be much more selective about who they are willing to meet.
If each new person is another gateway to catching coronavirus, we might find ourselves putting a vetting process in place to decrease our risk of exposure. This might seem like the spontaneity of dating will be lost, but one look at the news shows that dating with caution is reasonable if it means preventing illness.
Alice Kelly is a writer with a passion for lifestyle, entertainment and trending topics.
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