The Pursuit of Connection through Online Dating during a Global Pandemic

The impact of the global pandemic on singles looking to date, virtual dating and the new rules of dating in pandemic times.

In the unprecedented times that we find ourselves in, that being the era of the global COVID-19 pandemic coupled with mandated lockdowns, plans and goals are being put on hold. In the same breath, going on dates has become a thing of the past.

Finding love in Singapore seems hard enough — as if singles need a global killer virus right now to increase the struggle!

Fortunately, all is not lost in the land of love and connection for those singles. The virtual dating world is providing a nuanced opportunity to connect, as dating agencies and dating apps are embracing the possibilities.


Virtual Dating for Singapore Singles

Dating agencies and dating apps have pivoted to allow their communities of singles to reap the benefits of their services. What this means is entering the realm of virtual dating. And it looks promising.

Singapore singles have said that being forced in the ‘here and now’, at home, is encouraging deeper emotional connections to be formed through more extended conversations, over shallower physical connections. With no chance of ‘hooking-up’ – that is all that can happen!

So what are the options for singles looking to mingle online?

Home-grown dating agencies, Kopi-Date and Lunch Actually have you hooked up (virtually). As dating agencies that organise offline meet-ups, they have turned to partner virtual chat platforms (such as Whereby) to facilitate a similar but virtual dating experience for their community of singles that are online.

Kopi-Date stands out amongst other services because of its thoughtful dating starter packs. These are physical kits that are sent out to singles with several items and suggestions to smoothen the online dating process. In it includes interesting facts about the other person; ice breaker suggestions; technical tips about setting up a call and coffee or tea to get you energised!Cute!

Kopi-date, with 1,000 users, has experienced a 30% increase in virtual dating since government lockdown started. Lunch Date has experienced doubling in virtual dates since March. This does prove that a global killer virus will not stop singles from getting their shimmy on, on a Friday or Saturday night date!

If forking out money for dating agencies is not in your spending capacity, online dating apps provide another avenue to virtual date. And the best thing about it is that it is free.

Dating apps in Singapore, such as the popularised Bumble, have recorded increased matching and conversations during the lockdown. Singles are also making use of the virtual call feature on Bumble. Why not test out your luck!

It looks like the virtual dating trend is a global one too. In countries like the UK, Tinder has seen a 12% increase in conversations between mid-February and the end of March 2020 while Inner Circle recorded a 15% increase in matches and higher numbers of conversations on their platform.

One thing is for sure if you are looking to invest time in your dating life, and your opportunity to find a serious partner, online consultations and support is still available as before. Despite having to cancel group events such as GaiGai’s ‘Valentines’ Day Singles Cruise’, dating agencies have reported that their coaching and consultations are still ongoing because of the availability of online consultations.

It looks like the pandemic is not stopping people from seeking connection. The experience is encouraging a stronger bond between us, and this applies to the online dating community too.

Can we become accustomed to ‘iso-dating’? And how is this changing the rules of dating?


Rewriting the Rules of Dating

For anyone that has dated, you know that many things can go right and wrong on a date. Some would say there are rules to dating. To name a couple, don’t get drunk on the first date, don’t mention your ex, go to a public place, dress for the occasion and the list goes on.

Well, some factors have certainly changed during these virtual experiences, that require singles to be a bit more creative.

The first and most obvious change is the location of the date and the atmosphere. Instead of making the first bit of conversation in a coffee shop, park or pub, online meetings take place over a glass of wine or a cup of coffee, through a screen, probably at your home. There is no background noise to distract lulls in conversation, or scenery to comment on. To add to this, there are more conditions to control: the lighting, the background, the internet connection. Hoping there aren’t any connectivity issues!

Secondly, some things are a little more complicated. Like with every date, if the date goes badly, it’s pretty clear what won’t happen next. But users have expressed that when a date goes well, the next steps can be unsettling.

Pre-pandemic times, the excitement of dating comes with the wonder, hope and mystery of how the next date will go. What will we talk about? Where will we go? Are they even into me romantically or do they just want to be friends?

In pandemic times, creating tension and mystery is a little harder to achieve. There won’t be any touching, you’ll meet in the same location, and the only conversation will take place between yourself and another person you have never even met before.

When do you ask for another date and how can you get closer without even physically meeting! It appears that dating has become a bit more complicated without the reassurance of a ‘vibe’ or a physical connection, that only meeting in person can provide.

When the post-online date chase takes place over WhatsApp, Skype or Zoom, and there is no other form of real-world validation, other than, are they still talking to me, the early days of dating during pandemic times can be filled with mental anguish.

With fewer distractions during a lockdown, and more time to ruminate and overthink the existence of an actual attraction, the prospect of online dating is somewhat stressful. Not to mention, the possibility of encountering those pesky users that are only looking to ‘quarantine and chill’.

For all those that have persisted with the online dates during the pandemic, there is hope that they will be rewarded soon when it is safe to come out of lockdown and meet face to face safely.

What the COVID-19 pandemic means for the future of dating companies is somewhat unclear, but at least we can confirm that people won’t stop looking for love…*relieved sigh*.


About WriteHaus Asia

WriteHaus Asia is a Singapore based branding and content agency.  Founded in 2016, we believe in accelerating brands through content, video/photography, digital media and branding.

For more information on what we do, please visit www.writehausasia.com

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