A couple who met in February and made their relationship ‘official’ via Zoom a week into lockdown claim their video calls have helped bring them closer quicker than dating in real life.
Sarah Greatrex and Tom Edwards, both 29, matched on Tinder and went on eight dates before the UK went into lockdown on March 23.
Six days later Tom, who lives in Leicester, asked Sarah, from Loughborough, to be his girlfriend during a virtual date night, reports the BBC.
Physiotherapist Tom, who has worked on a coronavirus hospital ward for the majority of the pandemic, said speaking over Zoom means they have to entertain each other.
Sarah Greatrex and Tom Edwards, both 29, matched on Tinder and went on eight dates before the UK went into lockdown on March 23. Pictured on a recent socially distanced date
‘You can’t sit there and watch a film and have a hug. You’re just talking to each other,’ he told the publication.
‘I think if you can do that for eight weeks in a row, it makes you stronger.’
While it’s ‘not the same as meeting up in person’, Tom added that they have made ‘the best out of a bad situation’.
The couple get dressed up for their Sunday date nights, cook the same meal as each other and sit down with a glass of wine and a candle.
Tom, who lives in Leicester, asked Sarah, from Loughborough, to be his girlfriend during a virtual date night
They’ve also tried playing games – taking part in an online Monopoly double date with Tom’s housemate and his girlfriend, and attempting charades.
Sarah also joins Tom’s family virtual quiz by speaking to him on the phone during it, though she is yet to officially meet them; Tom refuses to let that happen via Zoom as he is keen for it to be in person.
Since the lockdown in the UK has been eased, Sarah and Thomas have been enjoying picnics together (pictured)
Sarah added that they hadn’t planned for lockdown or considered the consequences, but they both suspected they could ‘adapt’.
She told the BBC: ‘It’s been so strange to say to friends that I’ve got a boyfriend now.
‘They’re like, “What? But you’re in your house on your own – how does that work?”‘
Since the lockdown in the UK has been eased, enabling people from different households to meet up in public provided they maintain a two metre distance, Sarah and Thomas have been enjoying picnics together.
They have followed the government guidance to the letter, with Sarah even refusing to let Thomas touch her food. The pair bring their own in boxes and drink individual mini bottles of fizz.
Tom is already planning for when lockdown ends, and has a ‘freedom list’ on his phone for date ideas.
Last week it was reported Tinder is set to make online dating amid the coronavirus lockdown more personal.
The dating site is adding a video-chatting feature to its popular app by the end of June, allowing those in isolation to virtually meet one-on-one.
The feature was announced during the Match Group’s – Tinder’s parent company – first quarter earnings call and this is the largest addition to the platform since launching in 2012.
Along with the video chatting service, Tinder also shared that it has seen a surge in usage during the pandemic – with women users swiping 37 per cent more each day than before.
Sarah admitted they hadn’t planned for lockdown or considered the consequences, but they both suspected they could ‘adapt’
Meanwhile dating app Bumble, which is known for letting putting ‘women first’, estimates that 52 per cent of its UK users will seek a steady partner post-social distancing.
The survey results suggest 55 per cent of UK Bumble users are also seeking more meaningful relationships online after experiencing loneliness during lockdown.
‘Pre-dating’ video chats – a feature launched last year that lets users meet online before an in-person date – has also seen more than a 40 per cent rise in lockdown.