If you think that the pandemic has slowed the establishment of new love, think again. Tinder saw the highest number of swipes in the dating app’s history on March 29. That date is, interestingly, around two weeks after the country began to shut down. It’s almost as if Americans thought, “I’ll be stuck at home. No better time than the present to research some potential matches!” The online dating industry as a whole saw more than a 13 percent increase during the pandemic. A respiratory virus sweeping the nation can’t stop lovebirds from finding each other. So we know that singles were actively looking for love or simple connections during lockdown, but what happens when you find someone in the time of social distancing?
You might recall that at the very beginning of the pandemic, people were claiming “quarantine buddies.” Single individuals and those who live alone predicted a long stretch of time when meeting up with anyone outside your home would be off-limits, so they paired up with a friend to quarantine with to fight the loneliness. Spending time, in person, with anybody outside your household was very taboo. Of course, that puts quite the damper on dating. We’re fortunate that the vaccines are rolling out now, but it can still be a while until those who aren’t on priority lists receive theirs. So on that note, here is how to stay safe when dating someone new until you can get vaccinated.
Enjoy the getting-to-know-you phase
Instead of asking, “How do we do things the way we normally would, but during Covid?” maybe lean into doing things differently. There might be a benefit to it. When there isn’t a global pandemic, you can basically hook up with someone as soon as you both consent to it. And while you may tell yourself you’ll wait longer this time, the right combination of cocktails, music, and mood lighting may sway your decision. Then what happens? You feel attached, without knowing the person too well. This isn’t a sexist thing: this is a science thing. When we orgasm (which, hopefully, your partner ensures you do), our bodies release oxytocin, which can make us feel bonded to the person who gave us that orgasm. Then, things can get confusing. Chemistry gets mistaken for compatibility, though the two don’t always go together. Maybe use this time as an excuse to get to know someone through virtual dates and phone calls before even considering getting into bed with them.