Pandemic Passion: How dating has changed since COVID

(Tess Peters/The Vista)

The COVID crisis began nearly four years ago and it changed not only the way we think, but the way we date. 

Do you remember when you downloaded Tinder for the first time? With Valentine’s Day on the way, apps like Tinder, Bumble, Hinge and more were on the rise well before the pandemic started, however, these apps exploded into popularity once Americans were forced into staying at home. Hinge grew over 50% in installs and Tinder experienced 42% more matches per member in 2020. On average, Tinder experiences a 2.2% uptick in app downloads in the week leading up to Valentine’s Day. 

“To some, this sort of withdrawal is an integral part of growth, a pathway to a more enriching life,” according to a study from the Department of Applied Psychology at the University of Toronto.

Americans have been focusing on their own health and wellbeing more than ever as a result of the pandemic. The self-improvement industry is worth over $41 billion and is expected to double by 2032. After millions spent 2020 reflecting in isolation, more people now know what they’re looking for in a partner, leading to lessened risks of sexual violence, according to Linda Blum, a professor of sociology at Northeastern University. 

In-person dating is undergoing a heavy resurgence since statewide pandemic protocols pretty much ended in 2021. But online dating definitely has not ended and will continue to evolve along with the rest of the Internet. As app competitors try to capitalize on the increasingly ‘more-Meta’ world we live in, Tinder has 80 million users and their growth is continuing strong. 

“I don’t think online dating is going anywhere anytime soon,” said student Adrian Escobar. “Meeting people online is a thing that naturally happens nowadays. People can do whatever they want after they meet, it’s their business.” 

Despite the large growth of dating sites, many people are still skeptical about online dating and the dangers it may bring. 

“Luckily, my boyfriend and I met in person at West Hall,” said student Diya Shukla. “I would never go on a Tinder date in private. What if someone wants to catfish me? Or worse, kidnap or kill me.” 

Although dating sites and apps may seem scary, are they all that different from traditional social media platforms? Instagram for example, shares the same function as Tinder when it comes to direct messaging, sharing your name, bio, interests, photographs of yourself, opinions and more. Facebook, Twitter and TikTok share these traits as well, although they are not marketed as ‘dating apps’.

After a period of fear and uncertainty throughout the pandemic, people today want to have more fun and are willing to participate in activities that benefit their health.

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