Dating website sees rise in virtual dates amid coronavirus pandemic

Caroline Allen
Contributor
Virtual dates are on the up. (Getty Images)

As the UK adjusts to life in coronavirus lockdown, many of our online behaviours have had to change, too.

People on dating websites aren’t able to meet up with people they’re interested in dating at the moment, so the rise in virtual dates was an inevitability.

Dating website, Match, found that a third of singles on the app have already agreed to a virtual date amidst the lockdown.

Sticking to the government’s advice to stay home, single Brits are spending around seven hours a week using dating websites given that nobody is able to go out and meet people at the moment.

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Match found a 12% increase in the amount of direct messages sent on the app after lockdown was announced on 23 March.

With people having to avoid things like their daily commutes and going to the gym, they’re able to dedicate more time to finding love - even if it is virtually for now.

People aren’t just having a chat over video, either. They’re getting pretty inventive with their dates, many of whom have arranged a virtual movie night, takeaway night or just a drink and a catch up.

Others who have been dating for a while but haven’t met their partner’s families yet are doing family meet-ups via virtual call.

In some ways, it might take some of the pressure off that scary first meet.

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The lockdown might’ve placed restrictions on key part of our everyday lives, but the pursuit to find love isn’t one of them.

Almost half of dating app users (47%) are still looking for love during the pandemic.

Sure, it might have put a hold on meeting face-to-face for a while, but the rise in more traditional forms of dating hasn’t gone unnoticed.

Over half of people on the site said they’re spending more time getting to know people than they would usually.

This type of behaviour might go some way to stamp out some of the more negative parts of online dating, such as the incessant scrolling with no real desire to meet people.

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Match’s dating expert, Hayley Quinn, sees this shift in behaviour as a good thing: “Whilst in the past people may have found themselves not dedicating enough time to their love lives or coming to hard and fast decisions about who they want to date, we're going to witness some big changes in people's dating behaviours.

“Not being able to physically meet means that people's desire for human connection will increase. Apart from a surge in online dating, I expect to see longer courtship periods, more time invested in getting to know people and better decisions being made about potential partners!”

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