Online dating is tricky, but during a pandemic, it’s an entirely different ballgame. The usual thrill of first dates is now replaced with a new value pack of unknowns: Is our destination going to have good social distancing guidelines? Will my date wear their mask? Will they keep their (social) distance?
And the 2020 all-time favorite, what if my date has “you know what?”
If you’re still looking for love during what feels like the end of the world, take a look at some of the biggest trends we’ve seen in online dating during recent months and the best ways to stay safe.
Why online dating?
Despite what some may think, the internet is a pretty popular and effective way to meet people. As of late 2019, 30% of American adults admitted to use of a dating app, and 60% of those reported an overall positive experience. 12% of those experiences resulted in a marriage or relationship, according to the Pew Research Center.
Now that many interactions, including work and school, have moved online, new users are setting up profiles on dating sites and apps to meet new people and fill all their newfound free time.
“It’s an excellent time for singles to date. People have time. They’re not getting dressed up to go to work. And most importantly, they have something to talk about,” Chief Scientific Advisor to Match.com and senior research fellow at the Kinsey Institute, Helen Fisher told PBS.
According to Google Trends, most dating apps saw a boost in user interest during the beginning stages of quarantine in the U.S. (mid-March to late April) and again during the summer months. Now, 53% of adults report that they’ve participated in online dating. Major players include Match, eharmony, Hinge, Bumble and Tinder.