In the age of social distancing, it's become harder to find a romantic partner. Even those who make a match online may struggle to safely and comfortably move their connection into real life.
According to a recent survey from date planning website WooDate, a majority of respondents said their dating lives have worsened since the onset of COVID-19. The survey, which aimed to determine how dating has been affected by the pandemic, also found that planning a date has become more challenging, but those who are seeking a match are still willing to put in the effort.
Dating hasn't gotten easier
The pandemic has made it harder for people to make new social connections. Between quarantining, social distancing and mask mandates, those looking to find a new match face numerous roadblocks.
During the pandemic, many have looked to their smartphones for a solution to social isolation. In a previous 2021 survey from automated marketing platform Klaviyo, 59% of people said their phones have been their lifeline during the pandemic, while that same number said that their phone helped alleviate isolation and loneliness. But even as dating apps rise in popularity, and finding a potential match can be as simple as swiping your screen, hopefuls are still encountering challenges.
Here's how respondents say their dating lives have been affected by the pandemic:
- 55% report that their dating lives have worsened since before the pandemic
- Of that group, 55% say their dating lives have not improved during the pandemic, while 12% feel their dating lives haven't changed and 33% feel they’ve gotten better
Another 64% say they now find it harder to plan dates, with some reporting difficulty in finding a place to meet that's operational and has up-to-date business hours posted online.
It's worth noting that not all survey respondents are single, and some may even be reporting on dates with a long-term partner, which could explain why certain respondents said their dating lives improved. While the majority of respondents identified as single (46%), the rest of them are married (34%), living with a partner (17%) or unspecified (3%).
Hopefuls aren't giving up
Despite what could be interpreted as pessimism, people haven't stopped dating all together. All of the respondents who were selected to participate in the WooDate survey had planned at least one date in the past month. And while they report having 29% fewer dates, they're still averaging about three dates per month.
When asked to reflect on their recent dates, some respondents even indicated excitement about the opportunity to be out and about — here's what they say:
- 32% are more willing to try new experiences, as well as new foods
- 24% want to make up for lost time by going out as often as possible
- 23% are willing to spend more when they go on dates
But are these individuals still using safety precautions against COVID-19 while dating? As of January 2022, at least eight states have reinstated mask mandates, even for those who’ve been vaccinated. The survey doesn't clarify if people are wearing masks or taking other specific measures, but 24% of single respondents say they’re now taking more time getting to know their dates before meeting up, and 19% say they take the extra step of asking their dates if they’re vaccinated.
Methodology: The survey was conducted online using the Pollfish platform from Dec. 14-21, 2021. Respondents consisted of 1,000 U.S. adults ages 18 and older from 10 cities: Austin, Texas; Boston; Chicago; Dallas; Denver; Los Angeles; San Diego; San Francisco; San Jose, Calif. and Seattle. All participants have planned at least one date in the past month.