Has the pandemic changed the dating game?
As we inch towards 2022 one can relate to being on the cusp of two timelines – one where social distancing was imperative and the other where socializing is back to normal. With the post-pandemic world getting on its foot, a lot has changed; not like Thanos’ post-snap world from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but things have changed. But has it altered the dating game at all?
Grab the moment
Aili Seghetti, a dating coach from Mumbai, believes the lockdown has made people more adventurous. “Since the thought of uncertainty and death has crept in, it has pushed people to be adventurous and grab the moment. I get a lot of girls who are open to going out on dates which was not the case earlier,” she adds. Samarpita Samaddar, India Communications Director, Bumble shares, “The time spent in lockdowns has allowed people to focus on what they are truly looking for while dating, giving them a renewed sense of clarity and confidence in taking control of their dating lives as they meet new people.” Samaddar also shares stats, and adds, “74% of single Indians surveyed feel there is a decline in negative behaviour in dating such as ghosting, breadcrumbing, catfishing, among others.”
The lockdown also gave a lot of time for individuals to do some self-introspection. “Post pandemic people are more vocal of being bi-curious now. I get a lot of enquiries about it,” says Seghetti, further adding, “Also, sales for sex toys have increased a lot since lockdown left individuals with not many options.” In a city like Pune which has a majority of its crowd comprising students, the lockdown has got some pivotal changes. “Due to the lockdown students had to move to their home town which led to couples being in a long-distance relationship. I’ve several friends who opted for an open relationship arrangement, something they would have never even thought of getting into. Also, three-ways and swinging is quite a hit nowadays,” says Kabir Khurana who is an RJ in Pune.
While for other couples, the post-pandemic world has introduced them to the concept of staycation. Jyoti Pandey, a PR professional, got hitched just before the lockdown. “We had to explore other options. Since it was also dangerous to party with random strangers in a club, we started doing staycation often. Mostly it’s me and my husband or a bunch of our friends who go for weekend getaways. And now we are hooked to it, as it’s safe and more comfortable,” Pandey shares.
For singles, the post-pandemic dating world can be a little daunting. “We are now dependent on dating apps,” says Dr Rutuj Mali who often shuttles between Mumbai – Pune. “Earlier one could go out and meet women organically, however, in my experience; the confidence has taken a hit. We were so comfortable being behind the screens, that now I get scared to even say a ‘Hello’ to a random girl,” he adds. Dating coach Pratik Jain feels, “The ones who were socially anxious are more anxious now. However, the bigger question is, has the pandemic changed the world? I don’t think so. It may have brought a few minute changes but nothing drastic.” The awareness is just not limited to oneself. Daters are more aware in terms of understanding toxic relationships and conscious of the virus. According to a study done by Bumble, 38% of daters surveyed would not go on a date or have sex with someone who hasn’t received the COVID vaccine.