Love in the Time of Corona: The New Normal of Dating and Relationships

15 August, 2020
How can you find love at a time like this? With social distancing and restrictions on physical contact still in place, will we have to find new ways to seduce a new partner and create more meaningful romantic connections? Whatever happens over the coming months, one thing is glaringly obvious: love always finds a way.
 

We imagine that love in the time of corona might look a bit like something out of an Arthur C. Clarke novel. You meet someone special, and after a few drinks, a few laughs, and a few flirty comments, comes the first kiss… Only now, you might just find your kiss hampered by a face mask, or even postponed for a few weeks while you wait for your test results to come back to prove you’re both virus-free.

Just thinking about this is enough to send shivers down our spines. And yet, it’s already the reality for many people. Events seem to be moving at a much faster pace than experts could have ever predicted, and if there’s one thing that never stops, it’s our need to find love and create new connections. No matter what’s going on around us, human beings always find new ways to overcome whatever obstacles the world throws at us.

One example is the brand new project, Love is Quarantine. Set up by two roommates from Brooklyn, the platform was designed to help single people caught up in the lockdown to find a partner from a distance and in the privacy of their own homes. One thing this project has made clear is that, since the pandemic began, people have felt a greater need to start new romantic relationships.

Loneliness and too much time alone with our own thoughts have meant that more people than ever are turning to online platforms in the hope of meeting someone new, a soulmate to support us through these difficult times, and to help us greet each new day with hope, excitement, and enthusiasm.

 
Online dating and coronavirus.

Love in the time of corona: how to find new love in the coming days and months

Love, dating, and relationships have drastically changed since the pandemic began. We’re having to take well-known dating formulae and adapt them to the new world order. Unsurprisingly, new technology continues to be our most valuable ally when it comes to meeting, contacting, speaking, seducing, and sharing with new people.

However, many of us are now having to postpone the moment when we meet our new romantic interest face to face for the first time. The six-feet social distancing rule and constant hand sanitizing don’t help: it isn’t romantic and robs us of a lot of the freedom we enjoyed up until now.

There’s something very strange about this whole situation. In a way, love in the time of corona takes us back to the relationship norms of the past. We’re transported back to a time when lovers would send letters to one another, creating little moments of intimacy that allowed them to get to know each other. It could be months before the couple would finally meet in person. However, this long courtship period meant they’d already laid the foundations for a relationship built on mutual feelings of attraction and affection.

 

While nineteenth-century lovers had to wait days for that next letter to arrive in their mailbox, we have a bit more luck. Technology has made communication almost instantaneous, and all we need to do is wait for a notification on our cellphones.

Building relationships during lockdown

Online dating apps are seeing a huge increase in usage at the moment. In many cases, user activity has actually doubled. But is this purely the result of boredom? The answer is no. In fact, from a psychological point of view, this phenomenon is much more profound than it might seem.

Many people live alone, with loneliness rates increasing every year. And it’s not just a problem that affects older people. Younger generations and millennials also suffer from loneliness, and during the weeks and months of lockdown, many have felt the need to find new someone to talk to or start a relationship with.

  • If you’re looking for more information on how to build relationships during the coronavirus pandemic, Liesel L. Sharabi and Tiffany A. Dykstra-DeVette have written a study which you might find useful. According to them, you should always start by looking for common ground, such as shared hobbies and passions.
  • Nowadays, the most common topic of conversation is coronavirus. We talk about how we’re dealing with everyday life, about our thoughts, fears, needs, and all the things we want to do when lockdown is over… This kind of topic will allow you to build bridges that help you connect emotionally, and provide some much-needed catharsis.
 
Dating apps.

Love in the time of corona: does a longer courtship period equal a better relationship?

Love in the time of corona is putting a stop to brief flings and short-term relationships. One night stands are quickly becoming less and less common. The fear of catching coronavirus is creating barriers between us, leading many to shy away from spontaneous physical contact. People no longer feel entirely comfortable touching one another unless they can wash their hands with hand sanitizer straightaway.

While we don’t know how long this situation will last, what’s clear is that the need to fall in love and find a partner hasn’t been dampened by the pandemic. Instead, this need has only grown, forcing people to look for new ways and opportunities to meet that special someone.

Something we’re also seeing is that the courtship period is becoming longer and longer. We’re taking the time to talk, write and connect with each other in a more meaningful, intimate way, and sharing more about our lives.

Today, we get dressed up and meet people through a screen. Video calls have become the new cafes, restaurants, and bars. But while it’s true that the world isn’t quite the same as it once was, for the moment, it’s all we have. We need to adapt, be creative and ingenious, and prepared to put plenty of work into our new relationships so that, when the time finally comes, we can meet face to face.

 
  • Sharabi, Liesel L., and Tiffany A. Dykstra-DeVette. 2019. “From First Email to First Date: Strategies for Initiating Relationships in Online Dating.” Journal of Social and Personal Relationships 36 (11–12): 3389–3407. doi:10.1177/0265407518822780.