Reserved dating across the states

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In a year when sharing space and air with people is potentially dangerous, one would think that dating would be particularly dismal, perhaps even put on hold. Singles in America surveyed 5, Americans and found that 58 percent of people who use dating apps say they have shifted toward more intentional dating since the pandemic. Of those surveyed, 69 percent are being more honest with potential partners and 63 percent are spending more time getting to know them. The dating site OkCupid, where I am a scientific adviser, also noticed a 20 percent decline in users seeking a hookup.

These s are optimistic news for people looking for a relationship, given that research finds that couples who spend time getting to know each other before having sex have happier relationships later on. Prioritizing emotional connection allows romantic relationships to ignite via a slow simmer, rather than to burn out quickly. Jeffrey Hallthe director of the Relationships and Technology Lab at the University of Kansas, is not surprised by these promising trends.

My friend Eric Nentrup, of Indiana, told me that he realized how busy he had been keeping himself before the pandemic, and decided to spend the summer thinking about his life. Read: How not to tank your relationship in quarantine. Even before the pandemic, kindness was the top trait that men and women wanted in a romantic partner. And the importance of kindness seems magnified now, in how people portray themselves and in what they are looking for in a partner. Sometimes the clues are less obvious, such as one man who wore an American Red Cross shirt, but sometimes people directly mention their favorite charitable causes.

I asked Melissa Hobley, the global chief marketing officer at OkCupid, whether my impressions match their data. She found that from the spring into the fall, the presence of terms such as caringcompassionateand empathetic increased 3 percent on OkCupid profiles, along with a 5 percent increase in mentions of volunteer. More dramatic, mentions of donate and donating increased 29 percent from April to June, and another 10 percent from October to November. People may be prioritizing giving because of the pandemic or the national reckoning on racism, but being charitable also may have a nice side effect when it comes to dating.

Since the pandemic began, singles have also been more likely to branch out from their usual type of partner. A friend from Washington, D. But people have notably been less open in one area: In this time of polarizationpeople are less willing to date someone with different political views. Even when people live close to each other, many are delaying meeting in person and adding an extra step—virtual dates.

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In May, OkCupid reported a percent increase in virtual dating. Many dating apps are facilitating this step by creating video functions or offering badges for people to indicate their openness to it.

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The Bumble CEO even published a letter encouraging people to take their dates virtual. This step can be easy—a half-hour FaceTime call—and relatively low-stakes, because no one is commuting or spending money. Some people have videochats, or virtual dinners or drinks.

Others play a game online. Some even watch movies together online, while at their separate homes. And doing an activity together, even virtually, can help people get to know each other and increase feelings of connectionwhich many of us crave in a time of social distancing.

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Many feel romantic chemistry while videochatting. Some people have even reported falling in love over videochat.

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Read: What if friendship, not marriage, was at the center of life? Because meeting in person can be dangerous now, potential couples must be more deliberate about taking the next steps in their relationship. On Bumble, people can choose their dating preferences: virtual, socially distanced with mask, or socially distanced.

I know people who have decided to go for a masked walk, staying six feet apart, or who go on a masked bike ride together. As the relationship gets more serious, things get a little more complicated. At what point, for example, do you feel safe taking off your mask? After a few positive socially distant dates, my D. Do I ask him if he wants to, like, breathe the same air as me? They are now in a happy, committed relationship.

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Although COVID has slowed down the physical-intimacy stages of relationships, and allowed people to get to know each other more, it may have accelerated the timeline to commitment. People in relationships are squeezing in hours together that would have stretched out across many more months in normal, busier times.

Julie Fratantoni, of Dallas, is now considering marriage with her boyfriend, whom she met in July. This has been an incredibly difficult year for so many people, but when it comes to dating, I have been surprisingly optimistic—even in my own life. More people are looking for serious relationships, are doing the work to prepare themselves, are valuing emotional connection and kindness, and have the time to get to know each other deeply.

These are all promising for long-lasting romantic relationships. Popular Latest. The Atlantic Crossword. In Subscribe.

Reserved dating across the states

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