MOSCOW (UrduPoint News / Sputnik – 28th May, 2020) Long talks online, long walks at a reasonable distance and taking things slow before a first kiss – the coronavirus pandemic indeed changes online dating habits and courtship process in some positive ways, experts told Sputnik, adding that rediscovered modes of dating may give us a chance to select a more appropriate mate.
As public health authorities across the globe issue restrictions in personal contact to contain the spread of coronavirus, dating apps like Badoo, Tinder, Match and others have seen a huge increase in the number of messages and the length of user conversations being sent between users.
The apps are also adapting to the new reality and are transforming the platforms into places where one can hang out online since many users, unable to go into an actual date due to quarantine, prefer to videochat. Bumble dating app has launched an in-app “video call function” while Hinge introduced a “Date from Home” menu which appears in each conversation with matches, asking if they’re ready for a video or phone call.
Tinder has recently announced the launch of the Global Mode that will allow their profiles to show up around the world, regardless of where they live. The company said it was rolling out the first steps in the feature starting in late May, yet admitted “it will take some time before it is available to our broad membership.”
“Our Gen Z members have been telling us for some time they want to meet people across the globe, and our new world order, paired with our distinctive global scale, solidifies that demand. We already had plans to open geographic filters, and now we’ve accelerated them,” a statement from a Tinder spokesman, obtained by Sputnik, said.
Meanwhile, the Match online dating service said that its recent research had revealed that single people are now dedicating about seven hours a week to online dating, and almost a third of them agree to a virtual date.
“In response to this, we are planning to launch a new video chat feature to make it easier for our members to connect with each other, at no additional cost,” a Match spokesperson said in an email sent to Sputnik.
DATING BEHAVIOR CHANGING FOR BETTER
Yet not only the online platforms are adapting to the new reality. The users of the dating apps seem to be more ready to be committed in the search of relations, according to the survey released on Wednesday by London-based dating service Badoo.
At least 76 percent of the respondents said that they now want to get to know a match better before even considering a meeting, while 68 percent said they became more honest with people “about who they are and what they’re looking for since lockdown began.” The survey was conducted among 569 Badoo users based in the UK.
“We are really encouraged to hear that so many of our Badoo users have had a positive experience dating over the past nine weeks, and that dating behaviours are starting to change in a good way – such as wanting to spend more time getting to know the other person before meeting up and giving more matches a chance, which is leading to more meaningful conversations online,” Natasha Briefel, UK Marketing Director of Badoo, said.
Meanwhile, some 73 percent of the Badoo users say they will be happy to meet their dates in real life when the lockdown measures are lifted.
“As we start to slowly come out of lockdown, we anticipate that the traditional rules of dating will change, as we all embrace being able to meet face to face again with potential partners – and not just through a screen!” Briefel concluded.
Before the coronavirus pandemic, many people abused online dating platforms and swiped too much while seeking for a perfect match. Now they started to think about their relations in a more serious way, Charly Lester, dating expert for The Inner Circle, social networking dating app, told Sputnik.
“If you live alone, you are suddenly a lot more aware of it, and this is causing people to look for more serious relationships online,” she said.
Since personal contacts are mainly banned amid the lockdown and quarantine measures, even a one-night stand is putting one at risk, according to the expert.
“For the first time in years, people are thinking a lot more carefully about who they go on a first date with – and those dates are taking more traditional forms – like walking in a park,” she said.
Lester told Sputnik that in early May when looser social distancing regulations were announced across a number of countries, The Inner Circle saw a 15 percent increase in the suggestion of a “walking date.
“Over all, mentions of ‘walks’ have risen by 23% since the start of April – showing how that is becoming the ‘new normal’ for a first date. Covid is also going to mean that most people wait a lot longer before getting physical with a potential partner, so I believe there will be some return to old fashioned ways,” she said.
According to the expert, due to the current pandemic people will focus more on their compatibility and getting to know each other.
However, she believes that the huge role in relations will still be given to physical attraction.
“So while a Zoom call can replace a first date in so much as telling you whether there are any obvious red flags, until you meet someone in real life (even at a social distance) I don’t think you are able to tell if you are really attracted to them,” she said.
However, after the pandemic, meeting with someone in the real world would become harder, according to Charly Lester.
“The cliched idea of meeting your future partner in the cereal aisle of the supermarket isn’t so easy when they have a mask on, are 2 metres [6.5 feet] away from you, and are rushing to get out of the supermarket because it’s the least safe place they have been all week!” she said.
Meanwhile, Dr. Maryanne Fisher, from the Department of Psychology at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, Canada, told Sputnik that many people will become more aware of the need to be selective in potential mates.
“When you are talking to a prospective mate, you learn a great deal about them if they say, ‘Hey, don’t worry about the restrictions, let’s meet anyways!’ This tells you that they aren’t rule abiding, have less concern about health than others may, and so on,” she explained.
She cited several interview data that said that people are forming more meaningful interactions and become creative in their online dates.
“So, yes, I think there is a shift towards more long-term, emotionally committed dating,” she concluded.
Meanwhile Fisher hopes that the pandemic will bring the benefits of romantic love the old fashioned way.
“I’m truly hoping that the creativeness people have shown to date virtually – whether it be by going to a virtual museum or cooking a meal together by Skype will transfer to creative dating in real life,” she said.
She also believes that the pandemic will see shifts in people’s behavior.
“I think some people have grown much more comfortable with virtual meetings and will be more likely to reach out to friends and family who aren’t close by to have a virtual drink with them, for example, than they did previously,” she concluded.
Meanwhile, with so many people stuck restless in their homes, two roommates from New York – Thi Lam and Rance Nix – have decided to spark love and provide entertainment and some love with their own version of “Love is Blind” show which is called “Love Is Quarantine.”
Initially, they got their mutual friends to put their Names and phone numbers on a Google sheet and to set them up on blind telephone dates. They also started an Instagram page and asked the participants to record their experience after their dates.
“In the beginning, we only had guys sign up but within the hour after begging our friends to share the link we had about two dozen names on the Google Sheet. At that point Rance set up the dates then texted each couple directly to pick up the phone and have a conversation. That was the start of the dates!” Thi and Rance told Sputnik.
That was in mid-March. Now, at the end of May, the Instagram page of the matchmakers has over 19,000 subscribers and over 500 posts with people.
“Initially our goal was to put our friends on blind telephone dates, get them to fall in love, and get some content. Quite frankly, we didn’t expect our endeavor to grow the way that it did. However, through Love is Quarantine, we’ve been able to spread love and joy to thousands of people and we are grateful for the opportunity,” they admitted.
No one can predict the future of the matches. They just bond in their own way. For example, one man sent a fresh loaf of his match’s favorite bread, while another couple is devoting Friday for watching movies together on FaceTime, they recalled.
“We may keep doing it until we’re out of quarantine or we may take a final bow and have a series finale! Post quarantine, we definitely want to invite all the contestants and loyal followers to NYC for an in person reunion,” the friends say.