2020 has forced everyone to accept the new normal, in one way or another. But all the hours spent alone, whether in an attempt to finish a 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle or binge The Queen’s Gambit in record time, has made some even more ready for love — or a quarantine buddy, at the very least. Therein lies the problem: Dating is complicated when social distancing is the new norm. Meeting up at a movie theater, restaurant, or — hate to say it — a bar is next-to-impossible, and even a simple walk in the park comes with some, er, awkward moments (think: greeting each other with face masks and hand sanitizer at the ready). That means people are approaching dating in new, engaging, and even unconventional ways.
Match.com, the popular dating app and website, surveyed 5,000 singles in its 10th annual Singles in America survey, finding that there have been “unprecedented changes in dating this year.” The survey covered everything: the types of relationships people are seeking, conversations they’re having, and levels of intimacy during these quarantined times.
More than anything, the survey shows that younger people are waiting to commit to serious relationships — and it’s unclear if that’s pandemic related or just a fact of life. Because singles have more time on their hands, they take the time to research, figure out exactly what they want, and slowly find the love they’re looking for. The stats back up these findings: 58% of singles (both men and women) have shifted toward more intentional dating in the wake of the pandemic.
That being said, active daters focus less on looks and more on a sense of honesty and transparency. In fact, 63 percent of active app daters are spending more time getting to know potential partners, whether that’s through FaceTime dates or regular messaging. Since meeting up isn’t necessarily a safe option, sex is basically off-limits — 71 percent of singles in the survey said they didn’t have sex with anyone during the pandemic. But if they were one of the lucky ones, they didn’t travel too far to get it on: 41 percent of singles who had sex during the pandemic had it with someone they were already in lockdown with.
Going forward, singles will be more inclined to turn someone down if they don’t keep their mask on or align with their political views. To weed out any potential no-nos, they’ll turn to video dates: a.k.a. the new normal that singles can really get behind.