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Life With Covid-19: Online Dating


Online dating? Tinder? OkCupid?

If you don’t know what those are, honey where have you been?

Dating apps have been around since the 1990s, when Match.com first came on the scene. But it was during the mid-2000s where apps like Tinder, Bumble and OkCupid started getting more popular that dating apps truly became commonly accepted.

Even so, there has always been a certain stigma surrounding the usage of dating apps, due to concerns regarding safety as well as one’s reputation and image.

Dating apps carry the connotation that its users are ‘leftovers’ or unwanted ‘losers’, people who could not find significant others the ‘normal’ way. Hence they have to utilise alternative methods to find a partner outside of the analogue way of meeting someone through work, school, or mutual connections; users are also sometimes seen as ‘desperate’

However, all that has changed with the advent of our dear friend Covid-19.

Putting a bunch of youngsters under quarantine is bound to result in some odd consequences, and an increased usage of dating apps just happens to be one of them.

So let this dajiejie tell you more about the tale of dating in these unprecedented times.

Bored? Just swipe.

Many of us fell into a case of serious boredom during the peak of the pandemic, where we were forced to stay cooped up at home with nothing but our devices to connect us to the outside world.

And so, during our lovingly termed ‘circuit-breaker’ from April to June 2020, many people turned to dating apps for the thrill of meeting someone new, even if it was virtual. Social media held nothing new for most people, other than the constant stream of dalgona-making videos, fitspo Instagram stories, complaints and whatnot.

How else is one supposed to stave off the ever-encroaching boredom?

While dating apps in Singapore have a bad reputation of being solely reserved for hookups or short-term relationships, apps like Bumble actually do give their users options as to what type of connection they’d like to be making through the app - romantic, friendly (BFF), or business.

It wasn’t uncommon to hear people mention in conversation that they were going to meet someone new through Zoom or video-call, whether for a romantic date or for other online activities.

Many a new relationship, new friend, new gaming buddy or even movie buddy were found during this period of time; all because we were too bored.

Of course, something that started due to boredom might not bode well for sustainable relationships, since the novelty of it all will wear off eventually. People might just want to constantly feel that sense of newness, which results in a lower capacity to commit. Hence, the convenience of dating apps might just be a double-edged sword.

New bad habits

With this newly popularised habit of online dating, the dating pool for most people has widened significantly. Previously, one would tend to organically meet people in real-life and then spend some time hemming and hawing before being able to ask someone out on a date. Now, the process has been cut down into the simple act of sliding into someone’s DMs (direct-messages).

Unfortunately, this ease of use has also resulted in the constant mantra of “there are better people out there”, “I could do better” or even “they could do better”.

With these thoughts, people who frequent dating apps have come to form unhealthy dating practices.

Instead of the age-old practice of courting and dating only one person, some people like to engage in what the Chinese term as “fishing”, where the fisherman in question holds onto many ‘fish’ at one time and doesn’t relinquish any of them.

In these situations, the fisherman and their fish are simply “talking” or “dating” without being in the serious label of being “in a relationship”.

It is likely that online dating has lowered the effort needed for one to procure a ‘date’ or a romantic partner so much that the effort required to actually maintain a relationship is tossed to the side, forgotten.

Instead, people focus on ‘having game’ and being able to ‘score’ many people in a short amount of time. Once the thrill of the honeymoon period is over, and reality hits, they end the relationship and move on to the next person in their roster.

Of course, online dating isn’t all bad.

Fruits borne from online dating

Online dating has required many couples to think outside the box of textbook courtship rituals - no longer are you able to simply bring someone out for a candlelit dinner.

Our Lord & Saviour Grabfood

Now, many couples rely on Grabfood to show their partner affection, whether through surprise Mr. Coconut orders or care packages when they’re ill.

Food-delivery apps have truly been the bread and butter of many busy couples during the lockdown period and even now post-lockdown. Without being able to meet in-person to exchange little gifts and tokens, GrabFood is an easy and convenient way to express care and concern for your significant other.

As such, even among friends, it popularised the habit of ordering GrabFood during birthdays, special events, or simply to show love and affection.

Whether this is a good thing or not remains to be seen, but it certainly is an interesting new ‘love language’.

Join the Zoom Meeting

Of course, how can we forget our beloved Zoom?

Previously, people used video calls to connect with their loved ones who are living overseas, or just people who couldn’t meet in real life often. But now, conference calls are an acceptable alternative to in-person meetings simply due to the sheer convenience of it all.

Even project meetings are done through Zoom these days, saving us the awkward small talk with our groupmates. Oops.

Without being able to meet in-person, couples could only resort to online dates where they Zoom-ed or FaceTime-d their partner while eating food that they had ordered for each other.

Couples with busy schedules also use video-calling to check up on each other, to spend some quality time with each other whenever they can. While such an option was available to them and of course in use prior to the pandemic, the increased widespread use of video-calling has made it a lot more common for people to just pick up their phone for a quick video call.

Ultimately, Covid-19 has left its footprint on every corner of the world, on every aspect of life. The dating world is simply one of them. Whether for better or for worse, it is simply what it is. Change.

If you want to head onto dating apps to spice up your love life, the only advice I can offer is to be safe and have fun!



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