Virtual dating is having a moment, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic – since April, there’s been a surge in searches and sign-ups for the biggest dating apps – from Tinder to Match.com – which have risen to the demand by launching new integrated video calling features for virtual dates.
Cosmopolitan ran a story on virtual dating success stories and the changing dating scene for women during lockdown, whilst the BBC carries the story of a physiotherapist who works in a coronavirus hospital ward and gained a girlfriend via Zoom.
So, with the government restrictions easing, will we lose interest in virtual dating? Perhaps. But there are many reasons this might not be the case.
Here’s why you might want to opt for a virtual date, even in a post-lockdown world.
1. It’s more affordable
Public transport in London is the most expensive in the world, according to a Deutsche Bank report.
Of course, virtual dating might cost something – the cost of signing up for a paid app, for instance, or investing in a good camera and ring light for those who want to go the extra mile – but it’s likely still cheaper than a real-life date.
Perhaps you’re dating someone outside of the city and you want to know if it’s worth a long train journey for that second date. A virtual first date is the perfect way to find out!
2. No need to travel
London travel in particular can be stressful, unpredictable, expensive and not as accessible as it could be. A virtual date is great if you struggle with travel for any reason.
You also don’t have to worry about how you’ll get home afterwards – just shut your laptop and you’re already there!
3. More women are signing up
Sharmistha Dubey, CEO of the Match group (which owns dating apps Hinge, Tinder, Match.com and OK Cupid) mentions that women in particular are feeling more empowered by virtual dating, where before there were more men than women signing up. Since February, females under 30 have been responsible for a huge increase in the average number of daily swipes on Tinder.
This means a more balanced ratio of genders, so there will likely be more matches for everyone.
4. It’s great for young professionals
People aged 24 – 35 have the least amount of free time among all age groups in the UK, according to a survey by the Office of National Statistics.
Plenty of Londoners find it difficult to balance the demands of a career and dating life. This often means making compromises and sometimes means new relationships fizzling out before they can gain momentum.
If you and/or your partner are snowed under with work, university or other obligations, virtual dating can be a great way to tide yourselves over until you can meet again. Sure, a long video chat isn’t as good as spending time together in reality, but it can help keep the spark alive until that time comes.