We, human beings, are social creatures. We all yearn for bonds and connections with someone else. One of these significant connections that people seek perpetually is love. We crave that specific interaction that would sometimes bring sparks to our life. People are obsessed with the idea of love, the idea of having someone who values you and cherishes you for life, and the idea of loving a person who loves you in a tantamount manner. This also explains why love is celebrated and praised in every aspect of our lives and every cultural context. We express love through movies, books, poetry, dreams, and a lot of other means. It is part of our humanity, an intrinsic element that we can't just deny from ourselves. That's why despite there is a pandemic, life continues, and dating continues.
However, where can we find love when we all have to stay at home all the time?
Online dating is no longer new; since the prevalence of online dating apps, people have been using online dating to meet people. Online dating is also sometimes notoriously criticized for being superficial and only for people looking for hookups. Even since the pandemic, online dating has remained almost the only option to connect with new people. People started to get more used to the idea of finding love through social media and several online dating apps. Video chats or messaging platforms are used to enliven the spirit of dating within the course of healing amidst COVID-19. Rimma Kats (September 2020) quoted Vincent Yip, saying, "People still want to find love and connection during these trying times. Since people can't meet in person, many have adapted to finding someone online." Because the dating course had gone virtual, the number of smart-phone dating app users in the US alone will reach 26.6 million this year. That's an 18.4% increase from 2019 (Kats, 2020). People now are more cautious about meeting up in person due to the safety measures imposed to fight against the Coronavirus. Virtual dating seems to be the safest way to date someone without contracting any disease from each other.
Interestingly, since the pandemic, we have witnessed some positive changes to the online dating scene.
First of all, people take more time to connect with someone and prefer not just to limit their conversation to the weather or someone's favorite food; instead, they explore each others' dreams, desires, and fears. We're no longer into that small talk type of dating. The connection that people seek now is deeper. Meredith Macleod (August 2020) quoted Laura Billota, saying, "I think many people are taking the time to connect. They're getting to know people on a deeper level and not jumping around from person to person. Maybe you might be more likely to connect with people emotionally before moving into the physical."
This is pretty much understandable. Since we can't go out and meet up in public, having a one-night tryst is a big no. "Lockdowns and social distancing measures have all but put hook up culture to bed, paving the way for more meaningful emotional connections to form," as Ransley (2020) added. Ever since the pandemic, most countries have imposed a lockdown for a certain period, people have been staying inside their homes most of the time, and fewer people have been going out. Many people confessed that this has been taking a significant toll on their physiological health. People are experiencing loneliness and are seeking understanding, empathy, and support.
Simultaneously, Covid 19 also stirred up and brought many political and social turmoils all around the world to the spotlight. People worldwide started to gain more awareness of the problems we are battling in different countries. "And there are plenty of big social issues, a global health crisis and racial injustice among them, that make for big opportunities for meaningful conversations that might not always be a fixture of typical getting-to-know-you dates," Macleod (2020) said. These issues help people understand the challenges humanity faces, and knowing what others think about those issues helps see if they have the same views and beliefs as you and if someone is ultimately a good match for you.
Despite all the convenience and appeal of meeting people virtually and border-less through the internet, Online dating remains a double-edged sword. The risk of being ghosted is looming as large as the practice of online dating gradually prevails. We all probably had the experience of being ghosted, which can be very painful and traumatic. Social media and online dating seem to create an illusion that we are connected to the entire world and that our option is endless. Therefore, people feel less the need to explain why they are not interested anymore thoroughly. People can become more indifferent toward someone's feelings from the other side of the screen. "The COVID-19 pandemic is having a two-fold impact on Australians romantic relationships, prompting a rise in deeper, more emotional connections as well creating more opportunity for 'ghosting,' with potentially harmful impacts," said Ellen Ransley (August 2020). We are now more vulnerable than ever because of the way we converse. This means we can get hurt very quickly in the dating process.
However, not all people are out there to hurt you. What if someone is also in the same pursuit of finding true love, and you don't know it? One day, you might get to meet someone who connects with you to the extent that you realize this person is who you've been looking for in your whole life. And because of that thought, online dating might still be worth the shot despite all the risks.
Ahsan, S., June 2020, Here's How People Are Dating Right Now, Retrieved from https://www.flare.com/sex-and-relationships/dating-during-coronavirus-covid-19-stories/
Dockterman, E., April 2020, The Coronavirus Is Changing How We Date. Experts Think the Shifts May Be Permanent, Retrieved from https://time.com/5819187/dating-coronavirus/
Jensen, E., August 2020, 'People are not taking 2020 off from dating': Singles cautiously connect amid unrelenting pandemic, Retrieved from https://www.usatoday.com/story/life/2020/08/26/covid-19-dating-relationships-coronavirus-pandemic/5544153002/.
Kats, R., September 2020, Love in the time of the Coronavirus: how dating is becoming more virtual amid the pandemic, Retrieved from https://www.businessinsider.com/dating-apps-growing-becoming-more-virtual-amid-pandemic-2020-9.
Macleod, M., August 2020, Small talk is out, old-fashioned courting is in: The pandemic has shifted the dating game, Retrieved from https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/coronavirus/small-talk-is-out-old-fashioned-courting-is-in-the-pandemic-has-shifted-the-dating-game-1.5083026
Ransley, E., August 2020, 'People looking for more serious relationships - not just physical,' says dating experthttps://www.themercury.com.au/breaking-news/why-covid19-has-created-a-doubleedged-sword-for-relationships-and-dating/news-story/f6b0133ecc3f48f9ae7cfa63929ab19b.