Love in Lockdown: How the COVID-19 Pandemic Changed the World of Dating | Ents & Arts News
“Being single during this pandemic was downright terrible.”
That was the tweet from Dr. Gagan Bhatnagar six days before Christmas. In the evening, the opportunity to get together with family and friends for the festive time was canceled for many in the UK.
The 36-year-old doctor, who was “at rock bottom” and feeling isolated in his London apartment, continued, “Please take[[[[COVID-19]]Seriously, but with God it was hard when you just have no one to share time with. “
Gagan’s post hit a nerve – he’s been liked nearly 50,000 times and seen by 4.8 million people.
Hundreds of messages were received, not only from the young, free and single, but also from people in their 60s and 70s.
It was next to impossible for singles to get close to a potential partner via the ban.
Intimacy is difficult outdoors from two meters away and, at worst, illegal as indoor mixing with other households is prohibited unless one lives alone or meets the other criteria for a limited support bubble.
However, that didn’t stop the use of dating apps that skyrocketed during this time the pandemic.
In April 2020, the number of messages on Tinder had increased by 52% globally since the beginning of March.
Almost half (44%) of UK Hinge users have had a video date since the new feature launched this summer.
It has also changed the way the dates themselves are set up, and the dates on Bumble can now choose how they want to meet – virtual, socially distant, or masked.
Sky News spoke to three different dates about their experience trying to find love during lockdown.
Dr. Gagan Bhatagnar, 36
“You can only see so much from a video date,” Gagan told Sky News.
“That sense of chemistry is really hard to develop on a screen. And it makes you feel more disconnected.”
He estimates that half of his hiking appointments have been canceled due to the weather.
“It’s the rain in the middle of the day – or the fact that there weren’t any public toilets anywhere.
“There is an assessment: ‘Do I like her enough to even meet her?’ Because that in itself is a risk. “
But Gagan doesn’t complain: “I have to be very clear that I agree to lockdown measures.
“I think … policy makers have certainly overlooked it [single] Folks, and that’s understandable. “
Anastasia McLean, Jan.
Anastasia McLean has found it hard to meet people since moving to the UK this summer.
She tells Sky News that the walking dates only go so far: “You can only talk so much … then what do you do next? Oh, let’s do another walking date!”
“I totally get it, but I can’t wrap my brain around the fact that [for] My friends who are in relationships, it is legal for them to be intimate and have sex where it is illegal for me to do so. “
Anastasia says her need for physical contact and hypersexuality stems in part from a bipolar disorder, which she openly discusses online on her podcast, The Bipolar Diaries.
But with that wish now comes guilt.
“I feel the guilt that I risk other people’s lives when I go on a date [with] how fast it spreads … but then I also long for that affection and feel really guilty that I long for that affection. “
It’s hard to tell if the data is sticking to the rules, says Dr. Eleanor Draeger, spokesperson for the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Health Care, as there is little data on how much sex people have.
However, one indicator is positive STI results. According to Public Health England, the number of gonorrhea diagnoses fell 58% between January and May 2020.
Some jurisdictions did it differently. The Netherlands encouraged single men and women to choose a sex partner.
Melbourne allowed overnight stays for two people in an “intimate personal relationship” in August.
Dr. Draeger says that it is too early to say which countries got it right.
Sheenagh De Silva
Sheenagh tells Sky News that she is optimistic about finding love in Lockdown, which has given her more time and motivation to “get into the dating apps and see for the first time”.
In a snowy park in London, Sheenagh explains that in normal life she has a hard time keeping up with what is happening because she spends time on her job and her close network of friends.
“In normal life, if you want to go on dates, even if you hang out with someone for an hour, your evening is pretty much over. Now if you video call someone, spend an hour with them, you can still have an evening. “
And it seems that the pandemic is affecting the relationship goals of the data.
In a survey, 46% of Bumble users said they were looking for something serious after experiencing the loneliness of lockdown.
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When asked how the pandemic affected their relationship goals, more than half (52%) of the hinge community said they were ready for a long-term, serious relationship.
And while lockdown has gotten a grip on many other forms of social gathering, the data is more aware than ever that time is of the essence.
Sheenagh explains, “I know I’m not the most sociable … which is probably not the best energy for meeting and getting to know people. But as I get older I feel a little like every year I lose more precious. “