Love in a time of coronavirus needn’t go on hold, thanks to these great digital dating innovations.

The COVID-19 lockdown has created a vast chasm in the world of dating and relationships. With that one announcement came a huge and immediate decision for couples: to lockdown together or not to lockdown together and potentially face months apart? Throw into the mix homeworking, home schooling and the threat of a global pandemic and you have quite the relationship maelstrom.

So, how has the dating landscape changed and adapted since 23 March? Chance meetings on a night out are out, as is the possibility of meeting through mutual friends during the usual summer wedding season. Even holiday romances are off the agenda for this season. But never fear – along with food deliveries and exercise classes, it seems Cupid has gone digital, too. Here’s a round-up of what the big online dating sites are doing to keep love-seekers safe and connected on lockdown, plus some ideas on how to spend your virtual date nights.

Tinder


Tinder saw its biggest-ever day of swipes (more than three billion globally) on March 29, the week the UK went into lockdown. Whilst impromptu hook-ups may be out for a while, for Tinder users the dating app has opened up its passport feature as a free perk to allow users to access profiles all over the world. After all, location is pretty much immaterial when it comes to date nights right now.

Date in a Dash


Date in a Dash, the matching service based in the capital is now hosting its Speed Dating Nights virtually. Sign up and meet between fifteen and twenty-five singletons in one night from your sofa in quick-fire four-minute dates, all via Zoom. It runs nights for different age ranges and LGBTQ+ events, too. There are social quiz nights online, as well as a ‘dating in the dark’ special for a true blind date experience.

Bumble


Bumble eliminates predatory dating behaviours online by putting women in the driving seat; any potential matches and chats must be instigated by the female user (in same-sex pairings either user can make the first move). Use of its in-app video feature has rocketed by twenty-one per cent since the COVID-19 outbreak as those looking for love seek some human interaction with potential dates.

Hinge


Hinge, ‘the app designed to be deleted’ – or so the tagline goes, so confident is the company in its matching abilities – has launched a brand new ‘Date From Home’ button on its app interface, which users can tap when they’re ready for a video date. Their potential partner won’t see their ‘ready to video date’ button until they press it too, meaning there’s no pressure to go live and matches will only be able to stream their dates once both parties are ready.

The Intro


New to the dating scene, The Intro is a popular new app with young professionals in the capital that cuts out the pre-amble of back and forth online banter and immediately sets up a first date if two people match. Pre-lockdown this would have been in a mutually convenient bar or pub but The Intro is now scheduling video dates for its members instead.

Virtual Date Night Ideas


Whilst pre-COVID-19 dating may have been about hook ups and physical attraction, trends have shown that the focus of dating on lockdown is about companionship and compatibility, especially for those isolating alone. Here are a few ideas to make those first dates online fun, interactive and just a little bit romantic…

1. Zoom dinner dates with synchronised menus, playlists and wine pairing can create a sense of togetherness and shared experience. Rather than taking a date out for dinner, a new trend has emerged for one partner to order and have takeaway delivered to the other; or for couple to do a live cook-off, where they both buy the same ingredients and cook alongside each other before sitting down to a dinner date.

2. Watching a film together in sync using the new free Chrome extension might be missing the chill element of Netflix and chill. It does, however, allow you to link your choice of viewing and give you something to chat about in real-time.

3. Going to a gallery is a classic first date and many COVID-19 daters aren’t dropping the trend, instead choosing to do a virtual tour online together of some of the world’s top galleries from their sofas. High tech, and high-brow.

4. Quiz nights have become a big hit amongst larger groups and can be just as fun a deux. Come up with a personalised quiz round to learn more about each other, quickly.

5. Signing up to a new online experience together is another way to get to know a new partner during lockdown times, an online cookery course, virtual book club… the options are endless. Happy lockdown dating.

By Lydia Mansi
May 2020

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Lydia Mansi

Lifestyle Editor

Lydia is an all-round lifestyle guru, tireless champion of women in business and our resident expert on beauty.

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