CLEVELAND, Ohio — For couples in the early phases of their relationships, COVID-19 prompted many to speed up the dating process. Just ask Chagrin Falls couple Samantha Leta and Luke Losik.
“We had our first date on President’s Day, and we moved in together on Sept. 15,” says Leta. Now they’re looking forward to their first holiday season together.
The term “turbo relationship” was coined during the pandemic to describe couples who are moving at a faster than normal pace in their relationship. A recent survey in the United Kingdom found that more than a third of people who recently moved in together felt like they had been living together for years.
For many singles, the pandemic took the dating scene from bars, or restaurants and into the privacy of the people’s home. As a result, couples are beginning to form more authentic and personal conversations earlier in their dating relationship.
After both being unsatisfied with the dating scene, Leta and Losik enlisted the help of It’s Just Lunch Cleveland, a local matchmaking and dating service.
“We decided we still liked each other and wanted to see where this could go,” says Leta.
When the pandemic set it, they began rotating movie nights, cooking and walking their dogs in the park.
It’s Just Lunch matchmaker Ashley Bakewell says “turbo relationships” have become common during the pandemic.
After taking a step back initially due to COVID-19, Bakewell says IJL Cleveland made the jump to connect their clients in creative ways like virtual dating. “It’s very similar to meeting in-person but it’s in the convenience of their own home,” says Bakewell.
Singles are having more conversations about family, health, and their beliefs — even off-limit topics like politics and religion are coming up.
Bakewell usually suggests her clients steer clear of this kind of conversation upfront, but with COVID-19 turning the world upside down, maybe these intimate conversations early on aren’t so taboo anymore. She sees more people enlisting the help of matchmakers and online dating continuing to rise.
“I think a lot of it has to do with different conversations that clients and single people are having on dates, they’re diving into the core and the essence of who the person really is,” says Bakewell. “I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing, love isn’t canceled during the pandemic, and I think it’s really important for everybody to know.”