With coronavirus quarantine about to enter its third month for many, in-person dating is beginning to feel like something you read about in history books. Of course, being confined to your house (and the occasional walk outside) means plenty of time for browsing dating profiles on your computer or swiping on your phone, despite being unsure when you may actually be able to meet someone face-to-face.
Even traditional daters are beginning to wonder if they should download an app or subscribe to a site to see who’s out there — and there’s no better time. In fact, Market Watch reports that Match and Bumble are seeing a boost in the number of messages exchanged as well as a growing interest in built-in video call tools, meaning users don’t have to give out personal information to see each other.
Some may even argue that dating online is easier than dating face-to-face. More than half of Americans (54%) believe that relationships that start with a swipe or like are just as successful as those that begin in person, according to a Pew Research Center survey from October 2019. In addition, 57% of Americans felt they have an overall positive experience with dating platforms.
Dating profiles can really give a great snapshot of a person before you even meet them through answering questions, filling out bios, and posting photos. The majority of online daters surveyed answered that it was “somewhat easy” or “very easy” to find potentially compatible partners, people they were physically attracted to, shared interests with, and wanted the same kind of relationship.
And while people looking at your profile can seem intimidating, 32% say online dating sites or apps made them feel more confident while just 25% say it left them feeling more insecure.
Despite being able to find people of interest, Americans reported they were left feeling more frustrated (45%) than hopeful (28%) when it came to online dating. Perhaps the reason for people feeling frustrated was that they weren’t able to take the next step with those they deemed compatible matches.
Men are more likely than women to feel this away, the survey shows. Fifty-seven percent of men who have dated online in the past five years said they felt like they didn’t receive enough messages, compared to 24% of women. (In fact, 30% of women said they received too many messages, compared to just 6% of men.)
Safety is a factor to consider in online dating. While 46% of Americans surveyed reported that they felt dating sites and apps were not too safe or not safe at all, with younger women being more likely to feel uneasy, those who have used online dating are much more likely to find apps and sites safe compared to those who have never used them (71% versus 47%). Simple tips like meeting for the first time in a public place and telling a friend where you’re going are likely to help you feel in control and safe while meeting new people.
Being in quarantine doesn’t mean your dating life needs to be put on hold. Thanks to technology, a connection can come from a text conversation, email exchange, phone call or video chat just the way it happens when you run into an attractive stranger at the bar. And with so many having positive experiences in the digital dating pool, why not take a dive?
Erika Ettin is the founder of A Little Nudge, where she helps others navigate the often intimidating world of online dating.