Are you looking for love? Lots of people are. In fact, chronic loneliness was on the rise even before the COVID-19 pandemic, and the pandemic certainly hasn’t helped! Still, online dating is alive and well, even during a time of social distancing. It is possible to meet people even while staying at home.
If you’re new to the online dating scene, it helps to get a little tutorial before getting started. Here’s what you need to know about online dating during the pandemic.
What Does Online Dating Look Like Now?
Online dating right now looks a lot like traditional dating – except it’s all online. Online dating apps like eharmony help couples find one another through intelligent algorithms that “learn” what the user is looking for, and then suggest potential matches. After making your online profile, you can sort the matches at your leisure. These platforms tend to be very successful in their suggestions, and once a match has been made, couples often switch to other online platforms for chats, drinks, and romantic evenings.
You may also find that people who are online dating right now are more willing to really develop connections. You may find that people are more willing to talk and online date, without feeling the urgency to meet in person right away.
How (and Where) Can People Connect Virtually
Most people start their online dating experience with the online platforms, but this is only the first step of the process. As we’re currently in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, most meet-ups occur online. You might find it easy to meet new potential romantic partners, but after you connect, what do you do?
Suggesting a trip to a bar or restaurant right now isn’t necessarily the best idea. Luckily, there are plenty of online options for you to consider while getting to know someone new. It’s helpful to utilize a variety of types of dates so you don’t grow tired of any one type.
Dating platforms. Dating websites like eharmony now offer features like Video Date, which allows users to have their first date without exchanging phone numbers. If you’re just starting out with someone new, this can be a safe on-the-platform option to try out.
Video calls. A lot of people use video conferencing like FaceTime or Zoom for dating in from their homes. They make a nice dinner, open a bottle of wine, and get ready for nice conversations and maybe a tour of the house when the meal is over.
Organized online events. Sites like MeetUp make it easy for you (or your date) to find upcoming events across a variety of interests. You could also consider virtual escape rooms or organized nights are also popular ways to spend time together while not being in the same place.
Video games or online events. Gaming systems like the Nintendo Switch allow users to play video games with people from other locations.
You Found Someone You Like. What Now?
Sometimes it’s hard to tell how you would feel about dating a person in real life when you’ve only ever dated them online. One great sign that you’re on the right path is that you really, really want to meet them in a face-to-face meeting.
Don’t be afraid to have conversations about your feelings, but if you do decide to meet in person, agree to terms that you both feel comfortable with. You may need to quarantine. It also may be that the person that you’re dating may not be comfortable with an in-person meeting just yet. It’s important to respect those boundaries, as many people during the coronavirus pandemic have to consider the safety of others, not just themselves.
Unlike how you may have operated in pre-pandemic dating, you don’t have to feel pressured to plan an in-person date. Since physical dates are risky, many singles are taking the time to really vet their potential significant others by spending more virtual time with them.
All in all, online dating during the pandemic can be a great experience, and if you find the right match, you could come out of the pandemic excited to be with the person you recently met. Good luck!
About the Author: Kathryn Elwell grew up in the Midwest. She has experience in management and human resources, and has been writing on these topics and more for 12 years.