“I am only looking to get married now. I’ve wasted enough time playing the dating game,” says Sahil. He’s deleted all his dating apps and says he’s sure of what he wants. He’s asked his parents to help introduce him to eligible women. He’s even created a profile on a matrimonial website, something he’d sworn he would never do.
About 70% of the people I have coached since the lockdown began echo similar sentiments. They’re seeking a life partner, ASAP. Even though we have more time now, almost no one wants to ‘explore’ and ‘see where things go’. They want to establish the intent of long-term commitment upfront. As the world gets ready to welcome a new normal, a few other relationship trends have also emerged…
A decline in hook-ups: In the good old days, you could swipe, chat, meet over a drink and get lucky. At a time where people are scared to meet their loved ones and friends, getting intimate with a stranger is too risky. Not being able to meet and date offline, because of Covid-19, has helped shift the focus back to serious relationships. This is a direct by-product of social distancing.
More meaningful connections: Anaya is fatigued with being online for hours every day, and yet the urge to be with someone draws her to various apps. She’s noticed a definite shift in her attitude, though. If a guy tries to be witty, she feels literally enraged. Pointless small talk has become equally annoying. She feels herself becoming ruder, her fuse getting shorter, and has become hesitant to chat with new people. What she desires is something beyond the superficial. This makes sense. In times of stress and uncertainty, we are programmed to seek meaningful connections and shun superficial ones. Idle chitchat feels like a waste of time and energy. It’s an almost evolutionary response.
Greater permanence: Many of us have large chunks of time freed up and this has allowed for true introspection. For many, slowing down has led to a realisation that what they really want is a solid, enduring relationship — with one person. This is altering how people interact on online platforms, with more effort invested in fewer interactions, and a tendency to be less flippant and less judgmental.
The fundamental shift has been that romantic interactions in the new normal are more thoughtful. It’s a very different approach from the endless swiping. Covid-19 is a major catalyst, and whether its effects endure or not, it has already created one of the most rapid shifts in romantic behaviour since the advent of online dating.
Simran Mangharam is a dating coach and founder of floh.in, a real-world community for singles seeking a meaningful relationship