From Matchmaker Services to Bumble: How Are People Dating During the Pandemic?

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Dating during the pandemic has been a very touch-and-go situation — well, minus the touching, in most cases. For couples who were together pre-pandemic, quarantining together has offered a make-it-or-break-it scenario; break-ups have left some folks a bit stranded, missing essential support systems during a very unconventional time. Others have taken long-distance dating to the next level. Some couples have even forged ahead with Zoom weddings.

For singles, or newly single folks, dating during the COVID-19 pandemic can present a whole host of issues. During non-COVID times, fall marks the start of "cuffing season," which is defined by Merriam-Webster as "a period of time where single people begin looking for short term partnerships to pass the colder months of the year." This year, it’s not only about weathering the cold months; it’s about staving off loneliness, satiating touch starvation and, for some, not letting the pandemic interrupt their search for a partner.

According to a survey conducted by Stanford University in 2019, 39% of straight couples and 65% of gay and lesbian couples met online in 2017. Of course, that was before 2020. Now, dating during the pandemic can seem A) unnecessarily risky, and B) like a lot of effort. After all, we’re all living with an extraordinary amount of stress — emotional, economic and otherwise. Nonetheless, Match Group, the parent company of popular dating apps like Match, OKCupid, Tinder, Hinge and more, has seen a reported "15% increase in new subscribers" during 2020. Needless to say, dating and matchmaking apps are here to stay, regardless of COVID-19.