Slow It Down: How 2020 Changed the Way We Date

Small talk during the pandemic has kind of come to a standstill. There’s only so much a “what’s up?” text can do to get the conversation when we’ve all been stuck inside, and after a five-minute exchange of nonsensical words, we start to anticipate some mental stimulation.  Although we may have not expected it, the pandemic may have helped us realize that connecting with someone on a deeper level is much more valuable than casual speed-dating after all. 

COVID-19 forced us to take things slow and develop a romance with someone over time before we get too close for comfort, and technology made this even more accessible. Here are a few changes 2020 brought to the dating world:

People are more open to video chatting

Woman with curly hair waving and saying hi to someone through her laptop. Photo by Yan from Pexels

Instead of swiping right for a brief conversation of cheesy pick-up lines and monosyllabic replies, people are getting to know their potential partners via FaceTime or Zoom. While a casual outing may be the ideal way to get to know someone, COVID-19 has made it easier for us to set boundaries for dating in our comfort zone.  By video chatting first, we still get a feel for one’s personality and our attraction to them, but we can be more selective with whom we wish to take a risk and spend our time. It might feel impersonal at first, but there are fewer places to meet new people anyway, and video chatting can be the start of a more intentional and authentic relationship.

Related: How Should We Be Dating During the Pandemic?

There is more time for honest conversation

The Notebook New Line Cinema

No more chit-chat and small talk! There are far more meaningful conversations to be had. Many of us are no longer in a rush to get out the door in the morning, which means the hours of our day are much less restricted. We have more time to dive into conversations about our hopes, fears and innermost thoughts with a potential partner, things we would normally put off with one-time, in-person flings. These conversations allow us to build bonds gradually instead of developing fleeting feelings. Even if COVID-19 delayed the physical progress of a promising long-term relationship, it has allowed us to engage in deeper conversations and perhaps break the cycle of hookups followed by breakups.

Dating does not necessarily lead to marriage

people exchanging a paper heart Photo by Kelly Sikkema from Unsplash

Let’s face it: dating during the pandemic has us feeling lonely. Most hours of the day are dedicated to yearning, and there’s nothing wrong with that! But remember that relationships don’t need to end in marriage to still be meaningful. There is nothing wrong with hoping that your relationship ends in wedding bells, but dating to marry shouldn’t be the only reason you’re dating. If you only keep matching to find “the one,” you may overlook who the person behind the profile really is and end up painting them to be something that you wish they were instead. Not every swipe will end in a relationship, but they can still teach you more about yourself. The getting-to-know-you phase should be fun, after all! Enjoy the pre-stages of a potential romance because in the end, you are on your own timeline and so are your potential partners.

It may seem harder to keep a relationship moving forward during a pandemic due to the lack of in-person experiences and intimacy you get to share with your partner. However,  it has helped to instill a new mindset in us: that we shouldn’t be so quick to let go of potential relationships if we aren’t moving fast. Sure, not everyone feels comfortable planning in-person dates at a restaurant or a museum, and video dates may get monotonous since we’re all in a constant Groundhog Day time loop, but perhaps a period of isolation and loneliness can help us further understand the desire to be in a committed, long-term relationship after all. And maybe we’ll form deeper and more intimate connections because of it.