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Pandemic precautions have singles taking a ‘back to basics’ approach to dating

Dallas-based Match says users are spending time building real connections before meeting instead of looking for quick flings.

DALLAS — Realtor Adriana Trenev was in a relationship when lockdowns from COVID-19 began. But when the relationship ended, she found herself in an unenvious position.

“Obviously no one really wants to find themselves single again in the midst of a global pandemic,” she said.

“So, I had two options: I could wallow at home and do nothing, or I could put myself back out there. And that’s what I did.”

Trenev went back to online dating, but she noticed a change during the pandemic, and Dallas-based Match’s research proves she’s right.

The dating app surveyed users and found 63% are spending more time getting to know potential partners before they meet.

Hesam Hosseini, CEO of Match and Match Affinity, said 97% of members still want to date in person, eventually, but many people are investing time in phone calls and video chats. 

“Before the pandemic, there was really kind of tepid interest in video dating,” Hosseini said. “Singles were looking to get out and meet in person as quick as possible.”

“I think 5% or 6% of our members were interested in video dating. That shifted with the pandemic and we saw 70% of members were interested.”

Hosseini said Match was the first dating app to create one-to-one video chat options after the pandemic began, and he said usage continues to grow.

RELATED: Dating during a pandemic: Hooking up is out, video chats are in

He believes the effort to get to know people before going on a date might outlast the pandemic, because it takes less time and costs less money.

“We’d already been seeing a trend away from hookups to more meaningful relationships and I think this pandemic has accelerated that trend we were already seeing,” he said. “It’s a little bit of a return back to basics.”

Trenev said phone calls and video chats with people she met online made for a more comfortable conversation once they did meet in person.

“It was like meeting an old friend,” she said.

Before those meetings happened, she made sure to have an honest conversation about COVID-19 precautions.

“I’d ask to meet outside for a walk or coffee,” she said.  

Match launched technology to help steer the COVID conversation before a date. Users can say what they are comfortable with – like dining indoors or out.

“Over 90% are open to masking,” Hosseini said. “And 30% of women are skipping the hug hello.”

“For the first time ever, we are actually seeing parks as the number one date spot. So, White Rock Lake and Klyde Warrant Park – those are now the hot date spots in Dallas,” he said.

Trenev has found a spark, and she credits the time they spent talking before ever meeting.

“I just think, in general, it leads to higher quality dating,” she said.

“I don’t think COVID should hold you back from connecting with people safely online,” she said. “Even if they just turn into friends, it’s a great way to not feel so isolated during this time.”

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