The challenges of dating during a global pandemic

by Karina Aguilar / Staff Reporter

There are over 1,500 dating apps or websites. Photo courtesy of Unsplash.com

While some students said that they enjoy online dating, others said that they did not think they would find successful relationships from dating apps. 

“Online dating is nice to meet random people in a relatively safe way, but some cons are that I barely get any matches and I don’t have any emotional connection with anyone on there, so I am not inclined to pursue anything,” said Michael Kirby, a senior double majoring in vocal performance and music education.

The pandemic has changed many aspects of people’s lives, including dating. Some students said that they chose to forego dating for the time being, while others chose to turn to online dating.

Match Group is a parent company for 45 different dating brands, including Tinder and Hinge. According to builtin.com, Match Group had a 15 percent increase in their new subscribers once the pandemic began. Since the traditional ways of dating were put on hold during the COVID-19 pandemic, online dating provided an alternative that still allowed for human connection.

“I started using dating apps because I wanted to be in a relationship, but I wasn’t having any luck with the current situation as I was only interacting with limited people,” said Kirby. “Dating apps are just a way for me to branch out. I am not expecting to meet the love of my life through online dating, but it has broadened my mind a bit.”

Online dating is also unique because each app is popular for different uses or specific relationship goals. Kirby said that he prefers Bumble Date because he feels like most people are actually looking for relationships. He also values Tinder for having more users, which provides more opportunities to match with people.

Using dating apps not only allows users to find exactly what they are looking for, but they also allow users to get to know their matches on a deeper level prior to rushing into things. 

“The process has changed for the better in my opinion. People are more likely to get to know each other over a few video calls before actually meeting in person,” said Gabrielle Valdes, a certified life coach and deeper dating mentor. “They get to know each other on an emotional level before rushing into anything physical. Because of this extended courting process, my clients are having important conversations upfront, which is changing their dating life for the better. It’s saving them pain and heartache in the long run!”

Another potential benefit to online dating is being able to see a person’s interests in order to estimate just how compatible they might be with you prior to engaging.

“Having the ability to already know your potential partners intentions and their interests is a big one for me,” said Chaya Davis, a junior paralegal major. “With online dating, you get some time to think about what you want to say whereas meeting someone in person, you’re put on the spot.”

While it could be beneficial to get a quick snapshot of someone’s life, some students do not feel like they have enough information to draw correct conclusions about that person. 

“It can be really superficial,” said Sophia Gallo, a junior sociology major. “There’s not a lot you really can go on except for photos and a short bio, so you kind of have no choice but to judge a book by its cover.”

Gallo also explained how matching with someone on Tinder takes away the thrill of the chase of the typical dating experience. She says that there is no build up or suspense because you already know that the person is interested in you so you don’t really get the nerves or butterflies when interacting with them. 

Some students said that they miss being able to feel the connection or chemistry they may have with someone when interacting face-to-face. 

“I like seeing someone naturally way better than online because when I see someone in person, I can feel their ‘vibe,’ but online, I can’t get any of that,” said Kirby. “But dating online is still more convenient to meet a person in quarantine than dating organically is.”

Others have said that they have not been utilizing dating apps as much during the pandemic in order to be safe. 

“I definitely use them less just cause I’m not going to meet up with people during a pandemic, and I’m not really interested in Zoom dates and stuff cause I’m not actually trying to get in a relationship out of dating apps,” said Gallo. 

Valdes explained how important it is to acknowledge what users want or what is good for them prior to participating in the dating world. 

“Dating is an active process that involves skills,” said Valdes. “That’s why it’s important to know who is good for you long-term, so that you don’t waste time and energy dating people who don’t want the same things as you.”

Regardless of if students choose to engage in online dating or stick with the traditional in-person dating, it is important to keep their standards and their heads high while only doing things that they are comfortable with.

“Dating isn’t a numbers game,” said Valdes. “If you’re dating right, you will be rejected and you will reject other people. Rejection is redirection! And it means that you stand for something, instead of trying to be someone you’re not.”



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