A Lockdown We Are Learning To Love

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By Lauren Taylor |

At the age of 19, I am in a happy, 2-year long relationship – yet there are people I know from school who are married or have children, while others have not yet experienced a first kiss or first date. Needless to say, the world of dating is varied and complicated. Adding a global pandemic to the mix turns romance into a virtual cacophony of chaos that many people want to avoid – but is it possible that some relationships are thriving? Could lockdown beneficial for the dating scene?

Dates with significant others have begun to feel like  scenes from 18th century novels – taking long walks while discussing everything from what the weather is doing, to deep theories about the universe. Without the distraction of a cinema screen or a loud bowling alley, we are able to open up and discover things about each other that we may not have known before. I have discovered that my boyfriend has an extensive theory on how we are all living in a simulation, which has been discussed at length.

Yogas Design/Unsplash

For those not already in relationships, many are now navigating the online dating for the first time. A YouGov survey has revealed that 7% of those who took the survey have signed up to new dating apps during lockdown. With nothing else to do, people might as well spend their time swiping on Tinder, which has resulted in Tinder recording the most swipes the app has ever seen in a single day. Some people use dating apps as something to fill the void; while for others, online dating apps have made it easier than ever before to find a potential partner.

Couples matching on Tinder or Hinge have more time to talk and get to know each other, without the looming pressure of an in-person first date. It allows them to fully invest in a conversation and decide whether the person is right for them, instead of diving into the deep end and meeting someone after so few exchanges or planning a quick hook up. The team behind Tinder are trying to make the app a place for people to hang out online, instead of a place to organise “ ‘hook-ups’ offline”.

“When you find the right person from a dating app, dates now seem to be less complicated.” | Daria Nepriakhina/Unsplash

When you find the right person from a dating app, dates now seem to be less complicated. With typical leisure and perfect date venues like cinemas or bowling alleys being closed by government guidelines, we have had to resort to long walks or coffee dates, and it’s hard to overthink taking a walk and grabbing a coffee!

But the pandemic has not made it easier for all, and in fact has made it worse for some to navigate the dating realm. After months of being locked up and isolated, it is obvious that many can feel like their social skills are lacking and are not eager to delve into the social scene anytime soon. It is also understandable that after this time being separated, an individual’s original views on socialising and dating may have changed, and they may have become more wary of meeting a stranger. You do not know who they may have come into contact with!  

But it is not all bad news – there is less pressure for those who do not want to be in relationships. Since we are stuck at home and unable to see each other, those who are not actively seeking a loved one do not have to constantly explain their life choices to expectant parents or inquisitive friends.

The physical aspect of dating has become more difficult, with 38% of 18- to 24-year-olds reporting that they’re having less sex due to government restrictions. Considering we are unable to go within 2 metres of each other, this is not a surprise. However, it brings attention to the fact that relationships are not all about sex, or touch of any kind, but about the connections that you have with one another. These connections are being strengthened through the available time we have, that we have never had before, to talk to our significant others or potential lovers.

Needless to say, in this whirlwind of online romance I am glad that I am not navigating the dating scene right now.

This article is in our Opinions section. As such the views within are those of the contributor and do not represent an editorial stance.

The views expressed in this publication are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views of Falmouth University, the University of Exeter or Falmouth & Exeter Students’ Union.