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Post-COVID Dating

Has the world of dating changed forever?

Follow our journey as we project what we think will happen to dating when normal life returns!

What does the future hold for online dating?

In the UK, the road map out of lockdown has been announced, our lives are going to change again, finally. We want to find what will happen to the future of online dating. When/if the pandemic ends, where does this put the dating scene? Are people keen to get out and date again? Is hot girl summer set to return bigger and better than ever and push the dating scene onto the backburner? What can we learn from past events like this in history to predict what will happen to the future of dating? 

 How will we adjust back to ‘normality’? Can you even remember what ‘normality’ feels like? In this report, we will explore post-COVID dating. We will make predictions based on past trends, exploring the roaring 20’s which followed WWI and the baby boom which followed WWII to make educated projections. We will also take into account the opinions of experts in this field. 

Dating Experts


What do love experts think will happen to the future of dating?

Dating Apps are here to stay.

"We've all missed dating in real life, but even if lockdown ends, I think dating app usage will keep growing. Dating apps have become the dominant way we meet people, and so the excitement of actually being able to go on a real date should drive people to sign up in anticipation of an end to lockdown. I also hope people will explore avenues to meet someone IRL with more interest: speed dating may have felt cringe-worthy, and approaching someone IRL terrifying, before lockdown but now it may be just the tonic people are looking for after months spent looking at the same 4 walls. I also believe commitment is going to have a real comeback. Lockdown made us all reflect on what we're missing out on in our lives, and many people will want to make up for this lost year of dating and will be more galvanised than ever before to find a partner. Lockdown took the fun out of being single, and whilst some people will be looking forward to casual dates, others will feel like they now really see the value in what a relationship could bring to their lives."

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Making up for lost time.

Post-COVID dating apps will likely see a substantial increase as people are eager to get back to dating. However, people will still likely be cautious and want to chat before meeting up and meet up in safe ways. This could be an advantage because people are getting to know each other and establishing a foundation before relationships get serious or physical. People will probably want to explore and get to know lots of people before settling down. This will probably be dependent on age, though, with those who are older more eager to settle down. People should make sure not to let the impulse to 'make up for lost time' lead them into relationships or situations that aren't really working out for them.

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Self-Awareness takes priority.

According to Bumble (and others), there has been a spike in online dating during the pandemic. Even though the best we could have was a virtual meet or a walk, people clearly felt the isolation and the yearning for a partner during the various lockdowns. Many of those virtual relationships fizzled out quite quickly because with the best will in the world it becomes frustrating – in every sense of the word – to not be able to meet someone in person. I think online dating will see a huge boost in June. There are those who have felt lonely, those who feel that meeting someone significant after a period of time when they effectively couldn’t have become a personal priority and those who couldn’t sustain an existing relationship during the pandemic, for whatever reason. And there are those who ache for intimacy and a hug, those who are reaching their late 30’s who want children and have ‘lost’ a year and simply those who realise that being busy at work is not a reason not to find a fulfilling relationship. It will cross all age ranges, genders and sexual orientations. I believe there will be a deluge of singles, recognising that when dating can go back to ‘normal’, they want to be first in line and online. What I feel will change is people’s preferences – in the last 12 months, we have learned a lot of self-awareness. Those that wanted an enduring relationship now may want something more casual, and vice versa. I also think options will be opened up again – when our freedom is back, we’ll want to cover all bases, so I’d like to think there will be a little more appreciation of meeting people in real-time too.

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What does the future of online dating look like?

We spoke to dating experts.

We evaluated guess-timations, alongside our own expert opinions.

We looked at historical events.

Considering periods of time where they experienced a huge societal change.

We collected public opinion.

We are statistically driven and the data collected is crucial to the projection.

Potential Outcomes

How Our World Changed Forever

Dating was near to impossible throughout COVID-19. One of the only ways to meet people was online. In general, people were not always in the mood to date, being surrounded by disease, death and financial instability does have its impacts.

In recent years, dating app have seen a huge rise in users. According to a Stanford University Study, 39% of heterosexual couples and about 65% of gay couples met online in 2017. This continued throughout the pandemic however, will it continue post-COVID? At the beginning of the pandemic, the general opinion was the dating landscape had changed forever, it slowed down the pace making it harder to form a romantic relationship. Singles began to worry about the domino effect it would have on their lives, derailing the hopes for marriage and a family. Can the worries stop now with the end in sight? All sense of time may have been forgotten during our months of binge-watching Netflix and Zoom calls, but for older daters, the clock has never ticked louder. People in their late thirties and forties may feel they’ve been robbed of precious time to find a partner.

Whilst there has not been a total world shut-down in my lifetime, to make projections we can look to previous events in history that had similar impacts on the average every-day human life. There are glaring obvious differences today, with technology and online dating being a huge factor, but the similarities of financial instability and restrictions on ‘normal’ life throughout these events in history allow us to draw comparisons. 

Historical Trends As A Reference Point

The first historic event we will discuss is the roaring Twenties. The Roaring twenties denotes the decade of the 1920s in Western society, a period of economic prosperity in the US and Europe. Following WWI and the 1918 influenza which ultimately killed millions of people, a manic flight into sociability was seen. The 1918 virus killed more people than the deadliest war humanity had hitherto experienced, but it did not reduce humanity’s determination to socialise.

Throughout history, humanity has experienced pestilence. Whilst acknowledging these bouts of infectious disease have had all kinds of long-lasting consequences, they never stopped people from seeking out one another’s company. Pandemics do end, and once they do, commonly seen is a period in which people seek out extensive social interaction. Dr Nicholas Christakis, Yale professor and social epidemiologist, predicts there will be a second ‘roaring 20s’.

Our Findings

We used our users and the general public to collect this data.

The data we have collected enabled us to understand people's opinions when it comes to dating post-COVID. People, understandably, have their reservations. They may feel anxious, unsafe or simply out of practice. 

72% of people said they had used dating apps or website to some extent throughout the pandemic, after all, it was the only way to meet someone! Gone were the days of locking eyes with someone across the bar (sad face). Opposing this, of those interviewed, 28% said they were not using any form of online dating during the pandemic. Of that 28%, many said they would consider using online dating after lockdown! With this data, we want to make sure that everyone has all the tools they need to succeed in the online dating world. 

People using dating apps in 2020 in % out of those surveyed

General Opinions On The future Of Online Dating

Dating has been online for a long time and I don’t think that is going to change. I think video dates will stay too because it is such a low-pressure first date. Nobody wastes money and you can just talk to see if you want to meet up. I find the video date to be super fun.

I believe that people are going to have to make far more of an effort getting to know each other online. For now, the idea of a casual hookup is absurd, because if you take this seriously then you kind of have to isolate yourself after and weighing up the risks accordingly.
I think tons of dating is done virtually as it stands, and that might expand if things continue.
The future of love depends on our actions today, and so I applaud you for asking this question right now. We can't address something unless we talk about it, and this virus will fully exploit any holes we leave open.

I was dating long distance, so it was mostly online, but broke up for unrelated reasons. I think online dating will only increase. It's the easiest way to meet people who actually WANT to date, rather than trying your luck with any random person in the pub. Personally, I am not looking forward to potentially being hit on by random people when lockdown ends if I go out, but doubt it will happen much.

Online dating didn’t start with lockdown, it will last for decades. So, nothing special will happen, online dating will still stay as an option for people who want a big choice and like this option.

Love brings more opportunity for self-growth than any other life experience. Covid brings challenges that we’ve never had to address before...and hopefully never again in our lifetimes. Builds a good foundation by getting through the hard stuff first.

You, Me & The Vaccine

In January, Tinder, Bumble and OkCupid highlighted a new trend nobody would have expected to become popular. More and more people were adding funny, interesting details to their dating bios about being vaccinated and being willing to get the jab once it will be available for everyone. Tinder noticed a 238 percent increase in vaccine and Covid-19 mentions in people’s bios between November 2020 and February 2021. Its users were quite imaginative - a guy from the UK called himself the ‘antibody boy’; a girl from NY wrote ‘I have antibodies for Covid-19 but I’m still afraid of catching feelings’ and a man from D.C. reassured all the women around that although fully vaccinated, he’s still wearing a mask and washing his hands. Thanks for your dedication, soldier! 

Roger That Understand GIF by memecandy - Find & Share on GIPHY

 

So, What Does The Future Hold For Online Dating?

When the shops reopen, people will still shop online. Similarly, when bars reopen, people will still date online! Online dating is here to stay, and the apps could see a continued increase in their user base. Dating apps show you single people in your local area who are looking for a romantic relationship, whether it be casual or long-term. Joining dating sites is going to be a much easier and safer way to find your date. 

As countries begin to relax quarantine guidelines, we think the rules for dating during a pandemic will stick. Video dating will become a permanent feature of dating apps as it allows you to get a better feel for the person you are talking too. 

Pre-pandemic, dating in cities like London was really expensive. Virtual hangouts are saving singles in the capital hundreds of pounds, a trend that will likely continue as unemployment levels rise. 

COVID-19 has also given way to a lengthy courtship process. People focus more on building a deeper connection with their partner and building a better understanding of what they want. 

Staying safe is a main concern that we might all be socially conditioned to think twice before risking a kiss or even a hug with a relative stranger. Perhaps it is for the best!