As we all adjust to the new normal of living in lockdown, life has gone on albeit very differently.
Many of us are now working from our dining room tables, doing gym classes over Zoom and have taken up new hobbies to pass the time inside – baked any bread lately?
For singles this has also meant dating in isolation, which can pose quite the challenge when physical touch is a social distancing no-no.
While all states allow couples that don’t live together to see each other, the same doesn’t apply for non-exclusive couples or those who are looking for that special someone on dating apps.
Worse still is how you break things off with someone you’re seeing when social contact is limited, which has given birth to terms like being zumped.
So here’s how the dating world has changed in lockdown – and you’re going to want to have a strong internet connection for this.
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DATING APPS GO INTERNATIONAL
With strict social distancing measures meaning we are limited to only leaving the house for essential work, shopping and exercise, your chances of meeting someone in the flesh are slim to none (and probably not a valid excuse to leave the house if you get questioned by police, let’s be honest).
This means that more of us are turning to dating apps than ever before, which have been forced to adapt quickly to life in isolation.
While Tinder can’t be used to secure a quick hook up at the moment, the dating app giant has made sure its users never run out of swipes.
In every country where social-distancing measures have been introduced, Tinder has reported a spike in new conversations and longer-lasting chats via its app.
Tinder’s Passport option, previously only available to paying Tinder Plus and Gold subscribers, is now available for free to all users.
The Passport option means you can chat and swipe to people all over the world, searching for potential pen pals in different city locations.
But there’s a catch, with other people only able to see your profile for up to a day after you’ve changed locations.
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Bumble has also made it easier to connect despite self-isolation, adding virtual dating features to its app.
The dating app already had call and video chat options and the week ending March 27, Bumble saw a 56 per cent increase in video calls, with voice and video calls lasting on average 21 minutes.
New features added since lockdown began last month include being able to record and send voice notes as well reply to specific messages within chats.
Bumble users open to dating in isolation can also add a “Virtual Dating” badge to their profiles, signalling they are keen to connect online.
According to Hinge, 70 per cent of its members are keen for what it calls a “digital date”, with the app introducing a feature that they can select to let the other person know that they’re ready to date from home.
The feature then sends a notification to the other person, with Hinge creating a number of date backgrounds that its members can use on Zoom.
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‘IT DIDN’T HELP THE INTERNET CONNECTION WASN’T GREAT’
Unfortunately with dating in isolation comes dumping in isolation – and it’s just as bleak as you would think it would be.
Unlucky in love daters have taken to social media to share how they’ve been dumped via video call apps Zoom and Houseparty, spawning the terms zumped and housepumping.
“Am I the first person who’s been dumped via Zoom?” writer Julia Moser asked earlier this month in a tweet that has since gone viral.
In a follow-up essay for Buzzfeed, Moser wrote how a man she had been dating for two months called things off by summoning her to a Zoom videoconference – yes, the same app used by many of us for work meetings.
“There is something particularly bruising about this happening in the midst of a global public health crisis. I can’t have my friends come over and bring me sheet cake and wine,” she wrote. “Crying over FaceTime to your sister isn’t the same as getting to wipe your snot on her shoulder (in real life).
“It didn’t help that the internet connection wasn’t great so we kept freezing, and I said, ‘We’re breaking up’ and we were!”
Moser’s story prompted The Guardianto come up with a new term for being dumped in lockdown: Zumping.
Do you have a dating in isolation story to share? Email firstname.lastname@example.org