Dating During the Pandemic: Can Online Relationships Replace In-Person Connections?

By  //  June 22, 2021

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The pandemic has been particularly hard for singles, as meeting places  – social clubs, bars, nightclubs, and so on – have been forced to close. More and more people are being drawn to the convenience and security of matching websites.

Interesting questions arise. Will people revert to ‘traditional’ offline dating once social distancing eases? Or will those who have succumbed to the allure of digital dating continue taking advantage of resources such as Cupid? Ultimately, will online relationships ever replace the real thing?

Why people have been inspired to go online

Long before the pandemic, the numbers signing up to free dating sites in the USA were increasing, year upon year. There are so many reasons why people opt for this activity, but the most obvious ones are convenience, and the ability to find compatible individuals.

Where the latter point is concerned, a lot of site members love the fact they can check out the backgrounds of prospective partners, looking into their hobbies and interests, and assessing whether or not they would appear to be appropriate. This factor has become even more acute during the pandemic, as people take particular interest in aspects such as any likely exposure to Covid through location, employment, or family.

Finding compatible partners

Joining a dating site can put newcomers in touch with a range of potential partners before they have even got as far as sifting through anyone else’s details. Algorithms can ingather the responses to various questions asked during the application, particularly location, then flag up those other site users who might be the likeliest matches.

But, like the previous point, the pandemic may have encouraged more people to go online, but just because the software has indicated someone might be suitable in terms of shared tastes will still leave question marks. For instance, no algorithm will indicate whether a person has been safely inoculated from Covid.

Developing chemistry with flirty messages

Online relationships can flourish because the secure communication platform offered by dating outlets is relaxing and conducive to open and honest conversations. Unlike socializing in real-world scenarios, like crowded bars where there are frequently unwanted distractions (such as other annoying singles encroaching on your space!) you can take time getting to know each other.

As you become encouraged to flirt and get into more deep discussions, this will allow a rapport to develop much more quickly than any offline situation. But virtual communication can only take this bond so far. Sooner or later you’ll have to decide to suggest a Covid-friendly location for your first get-together.

Transforming online into offline connections

Dating sites might have soared in popularity during the pandemic, but the issue remains – these resources are only really meant to be a platform for introductions. Once the respective singles have spent time getting familiar with a kindred spirit, the time will come to transpose their emails, texts, phone calls, or web chats into a face-to-face situation.

The location for this in-person connection will need to be carefully planned, with a variety of criteria to consider. Where does this venue sit with the current lockdown guidance? How safe will it be to meet here? What security measures will be in place? 

Online v offline: who is the categorical winner?

Regardless of the pandemic, there are two fundamental aspects of dating. The online environment is the most flexible and adaptable in terms of meeting new contacts. But relationships can only go so far when they are nurtured like zoom conferences. True emotional connectivity is still much better achieved when the respective parties meet ‘in the flesh.’ The main difference now is that due attention must be paid to restrictions.