The future of dating: Can we expect a surge as restrictions continue to ease?
21.05.2020

The future of dating: Can we expect a surge as restrictions continue to ease?

Words by EMILY-LAYNE KAPETANOVIC

What’s next for dating?

Even though you might be in isolation, it doesn’t mean you need to be completely isolated from the dating world. In the past, dating has proven that it can adapt to changing circumstances, from the rise of the internet to even a global pandemic. Considering the current situation, those two go hand-in-hand.

Maybe you’ve heard the stories of couples moving in together after only a handful of dates when the restrictions first rolled in. But for the rest of singles, they’ve been left navigating the unfamiliar waters of strictly online dating.

Perhaps it’s the lack of stimulation and social interaction, but statistics show that dating applications and websites have had an unprecedented surge in usage.

Dating app Tinder disclosed that messages increased by 20 per cent with conversations 25 per cent longer from February to late March. On Sunday March 29, it recorded three billion swipes worldwide – the most the app has ever recorded in a single day. Additionally, a representative from popular dating app Bumble told the ABC that there had been a global increase of approximately 23 per cent in messages and 31 per cent from in-app video calls since mid-March to early April when the stat was released.

Dating website RSVP witnessed an increase in members on the site as well as messages, 45 per cent higher in late April than in March when we first entered lockdown. Its online activity was also 10 per cent higher than the pre-lockdown period, which includes Valentine’s Day – one of the busiest periods on dating sites.

Maybe isolation has come as a welcomed revelation to people that, in fact, it is time to get out there and start looking for a partner. But how will these numbers acclimate once we move into stage two and even one of the lockdown restriction plan?

If the activity continues to rise on dating sites, it’s likely that there will be a massive increase in Zoom and social distanced coffee dates as people lineup meeting after meeting with their matches.

After being cooped up inside, it wouldn’t be surprising if people take on more outdoor and active date ideas, for example, a picnic in the park, walks or maybe even hiking.

Once cafes and restaurants begin to offer dine-in services from June 1, chances are there’ll be a massive surge in off-the-web dates as people rush to meet up with their matches in person. This will also happen with cinemas, galleries and amusement parks intended to open up in stage two, but only in limited capacities with a 20-patron maximum. A Gold Class movie date perhaps?

Stage three suggests that bars and nightclubs are expected to reopen. This could potentially see more people meeting in person rather than online as previously observed.

This move to in-person dating and increased social interaction may also see a drop in dating website and application usage. This may be because people have had the time to talk to other singles while in isolation and are more likely to get to know the people that they have already interacted with.

With singles locked away and more enthusiastic to communicate than ever before, it will be interesting to see how things trend as restrictions ease. There’s still a ways to go and pubs, cafes, restaurants and other date hubs are still closed so might be safe to keep things virtual for now.

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