How The Pandemic Could Change Dating Forever

Robert Crohan/Staff Writer

Americans have spent the past few months adjusting to the “new normal,” waiting to go back to the way things were before the pandemic. But will they?

One of our pastimes that has moved online for the time being is dating. Indeed, such an idea was unthinkable even a decade ago, but we—excluding the bravest—are forbidden from going to dinner, a walk in the park, or hugging and kissing. The reaction to this will inevitably be split, between those already using dating apps that enjoy it, those using them who do not and those who have not given them a try yet.

I currently use dating apps and have had a mixed to negative experience with them. I can see myself using them indefinitely, but as a social person I prefer person-to-person interaction. My assumption has been that I can have the apps as a backup, but now I am slightly uncomfortable with the possibility of doing all of my dating on them.

This comes as more and more people give up in-person dating and as online dating grows in popularity. In 2019, a study found that nearly 40% of US couples now meet online first, and I know a number of people at FIU who are dating online. An event forcing us to embrace technology like never before could rapidly accelerate this trend.

If online dating is here to stay even after the pandemic, it could definitely help hook up people who do not normally or cannot go out, and those who may get too much anxiety in-person, or have disabilities. It could allow people to save money that would be spent on food or tickets, and limiting the environment can allow us to focus on the other person more easily. In addition, instead of being limited to who is in South Florida at the time, we could more easily meet potential lovers from all over the world.

However, it could prove challenging for others who do not use much technology or especially need in-person interaction. Indeed, many can agree that some of the magic of meeting that special someone randomly in a café or on vacation will be lost if we prioritize dating online. After all, what will couples have to look back on and remember? The experience of being stuck inside forever?

Additionally, what might campus life be like, if we even go back anytime soon? Existing couples who may live far away from each other might not get to share their favorite hobbies for a long time. Those who were looking forward to meeting new people through clubs, sports and events could have a harder time doing so. And it would be uncomfortable for many who meet someone interesting in a Zoom meeting to get in touch with them after, “sliding into the DMs,” if you will.

But there remains a great chance that none of this will be the case. We could emerge from our caves craving human interaction more than ever, eager to get to those parties, clubs, on-campus events and conventions ready to find someone amazing and fall in love. 

Either way, the pandemic will undoubtedly leave its mark on the world of romance, for better or worse.

Featured image by Jernej Furman on Flickr.

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