Dating and Relationship Advice

Covid-19 has disrupted nearly every aspect of our lives, and relationships are no exception. With bars, restaurants, and other dating locations closed, singles have no choice but to either (1) stop dating or (2) get creative. To give you an idea of the ways coronavirus has impacted romance, we at iris conducted a survey of single New Yorkers and are here to share the results.

1. Un-ghosting is suddenly a thing

Everyone's heard of ghosting... but have you heard of un-ghosting? Singles in quarantine have been reaching out to people they had previously ghosted, in essence un-ghosting them. According to the survey, 32% of females and 30% of males received messages from someone who had previously gone dark on them. The rates are even higher for dating app users — 47% of female online daters and 39% of male online daters were un-ghosted.

Which group is most responsible for this trend? Unsurprisingly, it’s the population that came of age during the era of ghosting. 37% of Gen Zers un-ghosted someone during quarantine, compared to only 27% of Millennials and 16% of Gen Xers.

2. Your next date might be in 2021

Un-ghosting is ethically questionable, but it’s not like singles have plenty of opportunities to meet new people right now. The survey showed that 30% of women and 22% of men wouldn’t be comfortable going on an in-person date until 2021 — that’s at least six months away.

Not everyone is letting the pandemic get in the way of romance, though. Over a fifth of Gen Zers said they’re willing to go on an in-person date as soon as the first bars open up. Others aren’t so sure — half of female Gen Xers are playing it safe and waiting until next year.

Despite these trends, FaceTime dates aren’t replacing in-person connections. 59% said they are not more willing to try video dating now than before Covid. Likewise, 41% of respondents said the most frustrating thing they've experienced during quarantine dating is not being able to meet their dates offline.

3. “Netflix and chill” is overused

We get it, you love Netflix and chill (emphasis on the chill). But you don't have to mention it so much. Half of the women and 42% of men said this was the single most overused phrase on dating app profiles. Maybe it’s time to switch it up a little. Hulu and hang? HBO and take it slow? I’m clearly very bad at this, so you’ll have to figure it out on your own.

Curious about the other lines to delete from your profile? Here are the five phrases to avoid on dating apps, along with the percentage of people who said they were overused.

4. Gen X men miss physical contact the most

Looks like Gen X men are the thirstiest group we surveyed. A whopping 42% of them said that the thing they miss the most about dating pre-quarantine is physical touch, compared to 21% of the population overall.

Every other group, regardless of age and gender, said what they miss most is meeting in person to confirm their date is the same in real life. It seems that the top concern of most people is whether the chemistry is there, while Gen X men have their sights set on other things.

5. Online dating is on the decline

You’d think that Gen Zers use dating apps more than millennials, considering they’ve been surrounded by technology their entire lives. But actually, millennials are the top users of dating apps. 64% of millennials date online, whereas only 50% of Gen Zers and 44% of Gen Xers do.

One explanation is that Gen Zers just aren't rushing to date online. This makes sense, considering college-aged students have plenty of opportunities to meet new people that older adults just don't have. I'll be honest, a real-life meet-cute in the library does seem a lot more romantic than a “wyd” in the DMs.

6. Covid is making people commitment-phobes

32% of singles surveyed changed what they were looking for on dating apps because of the pandemic. Out of those, the majority (60%) changed their preferences from looking for a “relationship” to “something casual.” With a global pandemic and nationwide protests, it seems like everything is up in the air right now — and that includes relationships.

7. Dating app photos are often inaccurate

67% of women and 76% of men have been disappointed with someone’s appearance in real life after matching on a dating app. This isn’t surprising, considering how Facetune, filters, and careful editing have the potential to make us all look way hotter than we are in real life.

With social distancing guidelines in place, it’s much harder to determine whether someone actually looks like their photos. However, only 14% of individuals said the most frustrating romance-related thing they experienced during quarantine was the fear that people won’t look like they expect them to. Maybe humans aren’t so shallow, after all.

Overall, it seems that Covid has changed the dating scene quite a bit. Instead of going to romantic dinners and movie theater outings, singles are experiencing an abundance of alone time. Now that businesses are beginning to re-open, it’s unclear what will happen next. Perhaps the pandemic will leave a permanent mark on dating, as un-ghosting and casual dating become lasting phenomena. Or maybe in a few months, people will have completely forgotten about the pandemic — until they see “covid survivor” in an old Tinder bio, of course.

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