The last year of lockdowns, social distancing, and restrictions has impacted almost every area of our lives. From the way we work to the way we celebrated (or not) Christmas.
One area that has certainly felt the effects is the world of dating.
Those who were already in a relationship but not yet living together had to make some quick and big decisions; move in together or spend months on video dating each other? Some pretty big questions needed to be asked of those living apart. Namely, should we be in a bubble together and essentially not see our families?
Many of those who had been in long-term relationships and were already living together found that being locked down together was too much to handle. They now find themselves single for the first time in a while, with a whole new dating scene about to unfold.
Finally, some were single and happily (or not) enjoying dating before the pandemic hit. Suddenly, they found that they were unable to do so any longer.
If you gave dating in lockdown a go, we share some thoughts and ideas below on what others may have experienced, and how you might navigate this, post-lockdown:
A Return to Normal?
During the pandemic, and as the restrictions start to ease again, daters might notice a few differences in how they, and others, operate. A quick poll on social media showed that 67% of respondents felt that dating after lockdown would return to normal. 33% felt that Covid has changed the dating game.
Firstly, it has been impressive how creative daters have become through the lockdowns. Traditional dating venues have been shut down and creative new ideas have become the norm. From Bridgerton-style walks around the park and picnics in the sun, to video chats with a glass of wine or “Netflix and Chat”. I.E. watching a movie at the same time as your date and messaging throughout from the comfort of your own home. Plus many more.
More Serious Relationships After Lockdown?
The same social media poll revealed that 61% of respondents felt that people will be looking for more serious relationships post-Covid.
Founder of dating app “The Inner Circle” noted that dating after lockdown is likely to feel a little more formal. People may feel reluctant to go in for a hug or kiss on the cheek upon first meeting. Furthermore, he believes that the “exclusivity” conversation is likely to happen sooner than it used to, as we all now have a heightened awareness of our biological safety.
Lockdown has given most of us more time to think about what we want out of life. There may be less game playing and more forthcoming conversation in the world of dating after lockdown. However, not all of those who have had more time and space to think have concluded that they want a serious relationship. They might simply have concluded that they want to enjoy dating for a while longer before getting serious.
Some, including journalist Hollie Richardson, have found that they’ve enjoyed more dating action in 2020 than in any previous year. Hollie stated that the pandemic confronted her with the fact that life was short and so she wanted to get out there and meet new people. She also shared her desire to take advantage of the few freedoms we still had left.
An Associate Director at Bumble, a popular dating app, has said that the lockdowns have seen the reduction in dating anxiety. The restrictions took away a lot of the dating pressures. Those who chose to stick to video dating could get to know someone without even getting out of their pyjama bottoms!
Dating Apps After Lockdown
The dating apps responded to the lockdowns in new and creative ways. For example, Bumble allowed users to filter their potential matches based on how they wanted to date; “virtual-only”, “socially distances” or “socially distanced with a mask”. They also reported an uptick in the number of users opting to make use of their video dating option.
Many of the dating apps have noticed that some daters are vetting their possible matches based on whether they have been vaccinated or would get vaccinated when offered. For example, Tinder, Bumble, and OkCupid noted a major increase in how many times users mention the words “vaccine” or “vaccinated” in their bios. This suggests that it appears to be a “selling point”! In fact, Tinder stated that mentions of the word “vaccine” soared by 258% between September and December 2020. An interesting trend to see how this affects dating after lockdown.
Trends in Dating After Lockdown
If you have been dating, or known anyone who has been dating, in the last decade, you might be aware of terms such as “ghosting”. However, 2020 brought about all new dating trends, with even more expected to emerge in 2021.
“Apocalypsing” was a dating trend that came t light in 2020; the year where we all behaved (and felt) that we were living through the end of times. We stockpiled toilet paper and felt unprecedented government restrictions. Apocalypsing comes with some frantic, and often problematic behaviours. It has been defined as treating every relationship like it’s your last and getting very serious with someone that you just started dating.
“Breadcrumbing” is another dating trend that became more and more common through 2020, and is the little “crumbs” of affection or attention that your crush/date drops every so often. Just when you might think they have disappeared off the face of the planet. However, they are unlikely to pursue a relationship, just keep you hooked on the thread.
Here are some of the dating trends that are expected to emerge in 2021, according to Stylist magazine:
This is all about knowing what you want and not messing around. Over 38% of Bumble users said that they feel more confident in saying what is and isn’t right for them in their dating life. These are the people who have no more time for ghosters and breadcrumbers!
2. New Dawn Daters
Recently ended a long-term relationship and find yourself facing this confusing new world of dating? Then you are a New Dawn Dater. 1 in 5 Bumble users in the UK said that they recently joined the app after ending a committed relationship because of the pandemic.
Astrolove is referring to the phenomenon of searching for love based on star sign compatibility. Dating apps have seen more than 1 million people in the UK add their zodiac sign to their dating profile in the last 6 months.
4. Slow Dating
This one is exactly what it says on the tin. People are taking the time to get to know each other and build a connection before deciding if they want to pursue a relationship or even meet in person. The lockdowns have caused people to get to know themselves better and whittle down what they want in a relationship. So, daters are more willing to spend time getting to know someone via video calls and messaging before investing in a real-life date.
Bumble’s survey found that there has been a 48% increase in people wanting to date locally. They also reported that this is likely due to a 46% increase in anxiety levels as a result of the pandemic. People want to stay in an area that they know and feel comfortable in.
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