Has COVID-19 Really Changed Dating?

Is it possible that online dating apps are the new way to develop intimate relationships? This last month my friends and I signed up on online dating apps for fun to connect with other people. This past year has been really hard because of COVID-19 as I have had to quarantine at home, and have had less human interaction with other people. Today we see how individuals connect virtually all the time and make connections on their phones. Online dating has become much more popular in the last year, and understanding the positive and negative effects that may come with doing it, is something to be aware of.

http://www.sfu.ca/olc/blog/life-experience/online-dating-and-keeping-safe

I want to first start by explaining online dating and the types of apps that are used today. Online dating allows individuals to find and introduce themselves to people they make connections with over the internet, with the goal of developing a serious relationship, maybe romantically. Online dating apps have given people the opportunity to develop intimate relationships with individuals from all over the world. Today we find apps for all kinds of people. There are dating apps with different scenes, such as those looking for a hookup, serious relationships, lesbians, gays, bisexual, or queer women, conversations, marriage seekers, someone who has money to spend, and so much more. There are many different apps that have given people the ability to do what they like and meet the people they want.

As people have been socially distancing the past year, we see that a lot of individuals don’t actually feel disconnected from the world. This is because the number of users using apps such as Tinder, Hinge, and Bumblee has risen across the country. Having someone to talk to during this time of isolation is so important and it seems that a lot of people feel that way. Daters looking for a relationship in time of social isolation have the opportunity to develop a meaningful relationship with people because of the amount of time they get to know each other. A researcher named Walther shows that online relationships can be as intimate as face-to-face relationships. He argues that “ online talk actually surpasses the quality of relational communication that’s available when parties communicate face-to-face” (Griffin et al, 2019, p. 122). There are definitely benefits from talking to people online over face-to-face as they are able to make more connections. Today, single people are choosing to go on virtual dates via Facetime, Zoom, or some form of video chat. An app called Match conducted a study where they “found 6 percent of singles were using a video platform to meet a potential date before the COVID-19 pandemic, 69% percent of singles said they’d be open to chatting over video with someone they met on a dating app during quarantine” (Vinopal, 2020). This data shows one example of many apps and how socially acceptable it is to go on a date over zoom and get to know each other better before meeting face-to-face. It is evident that online chatting and zoom calls have allowed people to develop more meaningful relationships.

As we can see that online dating is giving people positive experiences over negative, it is still important to consider the downsides. One thing that online daters do very often when going on dating apps is looking for turn-offs from the other person. A reason this happens is that online dating exposes people to lots of different prospective partners (Campbell, 2019). People have the opportunity to be picky because they have so many different options that they can move onto the next person. The second thing to think about is when you meet someone in person you get to have a conversation and get to know them better before going out with them. When online dating you have the risk of being deceived and lied to. A person can easily lie about their gender, sexual orientation, physical makeup, or personality. A study showed that 90% of online daters have been deceptive (Epstein, 2009). When people adopt a fake identity or change their stories about themselves, it is considered to be catfishing. The people that catfish are not looking for an honest and serious relationship offline because it is all revolved around lies. A study (Mosley et al., 2020) suggests that both men and women perpetuate catfishing (Frye, 2021). As seen, online daters have a risk of being lied to if they are not careful and aware of red flags when interacting with others.

https://21bis.be/2019/12/catfishing-an-almost-forgotten-online-danger/

I am sure that there are so many different experiences and stories when it comes to online dating during the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether it is positive or negative, we all get an experience from using these apps and have a reason to go on it. We may just go on the app to meet people for fun or to look for something more serious. For whatever reason it is, we all have the choice to do whatever we want to do with our lives and choose if we want to be careful with the people we talk to online.

https://www.gettyimages.com/photos/cartoon-finger-pointing

Brown, A. (2021, April 09). Coronavirus is changing online DATING PERMANENTLY. Retrieved April 28, 2021, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/abrambrown/2020/04/05/coronavirus-is-changingonline-dating-permanently/?sh=7af62a173b22

Campbell, K. (2019, November 07). The downsides of online dating. Retrieved April 28, 2021, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/more-chemistry/201911/the-downsides-online-dating

Griffin, E. A., Ledbetter, A., & Sparks, G. G. (2019). A first look at communication theory. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.

Vinopal, C. (2020, May 15). Coronavirus has changed online DATING. Here’s why some say that’s a good thing. Retrieved April 28, 2021, from https://www.pbs.org/newshour/nation/coronavirus-has-changed-online-dating-heres-why-some-say-thats-a-good-thing

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Arianna Delmoral

Student-Athlete at the University of Minnesota majoring Business and Marketing Education