Digital dating post lockdown: has virtual love turned into real love?

Digital dating post lockdown: has virtual love turned into real love?

There’s no question that online dating has become more and more popular over the years.

In fact, a new study conducted by Michael Rosenfeld, a Stanford sociologist found that heterosexual couples are more likely to meet a romantic partner online than through personal contacts and connections.

Why?  Technology has been a big contributor with the introduction of smartphones making the opportunity to meet someone as easy as reaching into our back pocket.  And of course Tinder who gamified the opportunity to meet someone as well as utilizing the phone’s GPS to help people meet up instantly.  

There’s also been this aspiration to settle for nothing less than your ‘soulmate’ and consequently, feeling the need to leave no stone unturned.   Aziz Ansari explains this in his book Modern Romance, “When the older folks I interviewed described the reasons they dated, got engaged to, and then married their eventual spouses,” Ansari writes, “they’d say things like, ‘He seemed like a pretty good guy,’ ‘She was a nice girl,’ or ‘He had a good job.’” On the other hand: “When you ask people today why they married someone, the answers are much more dramatic and loving. You hear things along the lines of ‘She is my other half,’ and ‘I can’t imagine experiencing the joys of life without him by my side.’”   The bar has clearly been raised whether intentional or not.

Now insert a global pandemic into the mix which resulted in a worldwide lockdown, singles really had no other choice but to turn online if they wanted to date at all.

Some experts claim that this has helped singles form more meaning connections by forcing singles to take things slow and get to know each other before meeting up right away.  And there’s no question the pandemic would have curbed the hook up culture, hopefully taking the ‘less serious’ daters out of play for the time being.  

But have these changes helped you find ‘the one”?

Andrea Miller, certified Date Coach, Matchmaker & Founder of GoGetter believes that whether you take it fast or slow, meet online or offline, what matters most is timing.

It sounds cliché, but it’s true.  The key in the early days is making sure you’re at the same stage in life. Whether it’s wanting to settle down or just be in a committed relationship, there’s no future without that commonality.  Because only if you both want the same thing, will you put the effort in” says Andrea.

Andrea sees the value in online dating.   That’s why she created GoGetter – A dating app designed specifically for those who live a healthy, active lifestyle and are looking to meet someone like-minded.  “It’s what I needed when I was looking for love.  I knew what I wanted and was serious about meeting someone but nothing out there was geared for people like me.”  As luck would have it, she met her fiancé shortly after while training on the famous Bondi Beach. Although she clearly didn’t meet her fiancé on the app, she’s proud to say she’s a success story of what it stands for, which is that you are who you surround yourself with and their love for health & fitness forms the foundation of their relationship.   

This is no surprise because according to Dr Terri Orbuch, also known as The Love Doctor, happiness and stability in relationships comes down to FIVE key life values: 1) Beliefs on Money and finances 2) Importance of Family and Children 3) Faith/Spirituality 4) Importance of Job/Career 5) Role of Health and Fitness. Her research shows that couples  who share similar views on at least three of these five life values feel satisfied in their relationship .  Those who do not, feel dissatisfied and the relationship will struggle. 

So what’s going to help you find the one? Online will definitely help you meet more singles that wouldn’t meet otherwise, especially while more traditional methods aren’t available right now.   Taking it slow might save you from hooking up with someone that if given the time, you wouldn’t have chosen to hook up with.    But the key is, all roads still point towards compatibility. 

And the good news, according to Andrea, is that you can gauge compatibility pretty quickly. “If you ask the right questions and really listen to their answers, you can work out where they’re at in life, what they’re looking for, and where they stand on those key life values.  You just need to be willing to those questions and walk away if it’s not a good fit.  They won’t change just because they meet you.”

So whether you grabbed yourself a covid buddy, took a break from dating, or saw this as an opportunity to get your feet wet in the digital dating game, you now know what to look for if you’re looking for real love.

“I think the pandemic has taught us that nothing is a guarantee and there’s much we took for granted.   Singles who previously turned their nose to online dating might now be singing a different tune.  And those dreaded going out in the hopes of finding love, now would love a night out to see what may happen.  It’s amazing how quickly our perspective can change.