As the majority of social distancing measures remain in place in an effort to curb the spread of coronavirus, dating apps have reported an increase in messages sent and matches made.
After all, for single people quarantining at home, lockdown may seem like the perfect opportunity to finally dedicate time to finding a significant other – or at least dating.
However, while dating apps may provide companionship and comfort – through virtual relationships built during this period – relationship experts warn that not everyone should be using the platforms amid the pandemic.
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According to Dr Jennifer B Rhodes, a licensed clinical psychologist, dating/relationship coach and founder of Rapport Relationships, the only people that should be using dating apps right now are those who are in a good place mentally and emotionally, and who were in a good place before the pandemic began.
Speaking to The Independent, Rhodes said: “If you have been actively working on yourself and you’re in a good place, and you go on Bumble or Tinder and you meet someone, you’re going to treat Zoom as a coffee date.”
But, if you’re swiping out of “boredom rather than the mindful intent of developing a relationship,” the behaviour is likely an avoidance tactic.
Explaining that it’s “normal human nature to become avoidant,” Rhodes said: “Right now most of us are fearful, and to cope we usually distract ourselves. So it’s using online dating so you don’t think about how scared you are.”
According to Rhodes, this is especially true if you were “super stressed” before the pandemic began, in which case this time should be dedicated to focusing on self-care.
“If you were super stressed, this is not the time to be online dating. You should be taking care of yourself and this is a time to rest,” Rhodes said.
She recommends using this time to find out what actually makes you happy.
“And then you are in a good place to date after,” Rhodes added.
Rachel A Sussman, LCSW, a licensed psychotherapist, relationship expert, and founder of Sussman Counselling, agreed.
“For singles, it’s complicated,” she told us, explaining that “if an individual has had dating fatigue or dating burnout,” quarantine should be used to recharge and not think about dating.
“If you were sick of dating, this is a good time to focus on yourself,” she said.
However, she stressed that those who do take a break during this time to prioritise themselves should “get back out there post-corona”.
While quarantine may not be the best time for some people to online date, Rhodes acknowledged that for those who are “doing it mindfully,” it’s a “great time because you can explore”.