Surprising ways lockdown has changed dating
The pandemic life has been tough on relationships and families but especially on those looking for love.
For some single people, the prospect of dating and intimacy - while social distancing to avoid a potentially life-threatening respiratory illness - feels impossible.
As the coronavirus slows things down, with a return to more traditional wooing and getting to know someone before things get serious.
Video chats are in, small talk is out and many singles don't have to fret about who picks up the bill.
Online dating apps have seen significant spike in use. Tinder found the daily active users and daily swipes reached all-time highs in the depths of the crisis, with daily average swipes increasing by 37 per cent in April compared to February. Online conversations also increased by 16 per cent and were 12 per cent longer.
Other virtual dating platforms have quickly pivoted to help quarantined singles. Traditional dating apps like Hinge and Bumble have added video components that present more like parties or networking events.
Extending the "getting to know you" process is a long-term pay-off to this current lockdown and may have changed dating culture for good.
University students Riva Lauren Jones, 23, and Jack Rogers, 23, matched on Bumble in March just as lockdowns started to come into play.
The couple - who have been dating for three months - believe the experience of virtual dating has "fast tracked" their relationship.
They did a series of virtual dates and when restrictions eased, they met in Brisbane botanical gardens.
"The virtual dates allowed us to build rapport before ever even meeting, all from the comfort of our beds and adhering to social distancing rules," Ms Jones said.
"We delved straight into the deep stuff like politics, religion, values, hopes and dreams. All the things they say not to talk about on the first date.
"It offered us a way to socialise and form meaningful bonds, saving us from bingeing Netflix all day and hoarding toilet paper."
Bumble saw a 76 per cent increase of in-app video calls since the 'virtual dating' badge was released in April. The badge enables Bumble users to highlight on their profile if they were open to virtual dating.
It also found 86 per cent of Australian users want to slow it down and get to know their matches on a deeper and more personal level, while more than half have reported a desire to find a meaningful connection, so that they have a partner if social distancing returns.
With coronavirus lockdowns, many single people are likely to share far more meaningful thoughts of fear and hope - and get to know vital things about a potential partner fast.
Experts say that this self-disclosure - the process of revealing one's innermost feelings, attitudes and experiences - spurs intimacy, love and commitment.
"It allows people to reveal themselves a little more slowly, creating less anxiety," relationship expert Melissa Ferrari said. "The less anxious we are, the more we can glean information about the other person, rather than being focused on our own actions and behaviour.
"The upside is that the more you can discover about someone you are interested in, the more likely you are to make a better decision around their compatibility for you."
Originally published as Surprising ways lockdown has changed dating