COVID & Dating

Oil and water. Taylor Swift and Jake Gyllenhaal. COVID and dating. Yep, some things just don’t mix well together.The pandemic has challenged us all in one way or another (hello, mask acne) but our single peeps in particular are really feeling it.

Research tells us that lockdowns caused a spike in loneliness in a lot of Aussies, but it was our single pringles who were most severely impacted. Even now we seem to be over the worst of it, it’s still taking a toll on those of us without a partner.

As if navigating the dating world wasn’t hard enough, now we’re getting out of lockdown and trying to remember how to act in public with the added layer of complexity that is COVID and vaccinations.

We explore how COVID has changed the way we date and offer some advice for our single guys, gals, and non-binary pals looking for lurve in a post-pandemic world.

How has COVID changed dating?

A long, long time ago in a COVID-free world where face masks were rarely seen outside the operating room and ‘checking in’ was reserved for bragging about your travel destinations on Facebook, dating involved dressing up for drinks, coffee, a movie; all the things we took for granted.

When Miss Rona was at her peak, we were confined to socially distant walks in the park and a whole lot of awkward virtual dates and FaceTiming as we pretended to know how to cook. Lockdowns and a lack of in-person quality time made it hard to really get to know someone. But, I mean, at least we didn’t have to shave our legs.

But even now as restrictions ease, vaccine rates climb, and we emerge from our dark lockdown caves to frantically book in our beauty appointments, the domino effects of COVID are still impacting the way we date.

We’re worried about our health

We don’t care what Ben Lee says – there’s no bigger turn-off than risking your physical health. The focus used to be on catching an STI, but now it’s on getting the ‘rona.

You might think twice about hugging your date hello. You might be wondering whether they wash their hands for the full recommended 20 seconds. You might feel an urge to bolt if they happen to cough, even if it’s just to clear their throat.
Miss Rona has made us more conscious about hygiene and physical health on our dates than ever before, and it’s normal to feel a bit antsy right now.

We’re more intentional with our time

COVID has been a bit of a life-changing, perspective-shifting experience for some. It’s kind of forced us to reconsider our priorities and what we want in life.
This means we’re a bit clearer on our values and what we’re looking for in a partner. This also means we CBF wasting time on people who don’t fit that brief. Thank u, next.

We’re still dating virtually

It’s no surprise dating apps exploded in popularity during the pandemic. Lockdowns forced us to get online to find a potential partner. But it seems this trend has continued, even when we have the option of meeting face to face.
We’re still seeing the value in really getting to know someone without the added distraction of physical touch. Virtual dates aren’t just for long-distance lovers! Get yourself a good Wi-Fi and get online.

Vaccines and Dating

If COVID and vaccines have added another layer of complexity to your dating life, you’re not alone.Your vax status may have an impact on your eligibility as a dating candidate as ‘vaccine badges’ are added to online dating apps.

Popular overseas, vaccine badges are rolling out locally on online dating platforms like Bumble and Tinder (*applause*). Move over cute dog and Master’s degree – the vaccine badge is another lil flex to add to your attribution list to woo potential partners.

According to Tinder, this feature is a response to a 220% increase in the word “vaccine” in member bios since the start of 2021. While these badges technically can’t officially verify your vaccination status, it’s a step in the right direction to see who’s vaccinated and who isn’t (and who shares your values and who doesn’t).

If having a ‘hot vax summer’ wasn’t incentive enough to get the jab, this might be what it takes!

Tips for Dating During COVID

If Jen and Ben can find love again in 2021, so can we. We hope these tips help you navigate singledom during this weird time.

Set some ground rules for your in-person interaction. Freaking out about sanitiser and social distancing? Let them know! Agree on some rules before meeting in person to avoid any discomfort or awkwardness. For example, you might want to make sure you’re both symptom-free before meeting, and meet up in an appropriate space to maintain social distancing.

Be clear about what you want. As we said above, COVID has made a lot of people more intentional about their time. When you put yourself out there, make sure you’re honest about what you’re looking for and what you expect. This will avoid wasting your time and theirs.

Ask the hard-hitting questions. Small talk? We don’t know her. It’s time to step it up and ask key questions early on to determine whether they’re a good fit or not. Don’t be afraid to tackle those big topics like politics, religion, social issues, and long-term life goals. Oh, and cats vs. dogs – duh!

Dating is a big part of life for our lovely singles out there. But when all else fails, don’t forget to keep in touch with all the friends and family who love you. They won’t expect you to shave your legs.