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Students coping with isolation resort to online dating
Going into the fourth consecutive week of isolation, there has been an increase of people using dating apps as people are told to self-isolate and social distance, according to Match.com. Health officials in Newfoundland are still urging people not to meet up with an online match as they swipe through dating apps during the COVID-19 pandemic, but to try alternative measures like Zoom calls or FaceTime dates.
Fourth-year student, Shania Walden, downloaded a few dating apps when the pandemic started out of curiosity and boredom. Walden said she is normally very social but interacting with the same people in her house every day can get lonely. She wanted to find someone new and interesting to talk to.
“I am not opposed to meeting new people in person, I think dating apps are just an easy way to make a connection without pressure. But as it becomes more serious, I think there is a sense of pressure, because it goes from a virtual connection to in person,” said Walden.
Walden said everyone is in the same position and has the time to start a connection because of the current circumstances.
“A guy that I met over Bumble was really great and we made a connection and went on a few dates, but since quarantine dates obviously can’t happen, he planned out a virtual date night where we both had dinner and face timed each other,” said Walden.
Sonia Cacciacaro, a registered psychotherapist, who specializes in anxiety, relationships, and parenting, is not surprised that people are turning to online dating and meeting new people through technology.
“I believe that many are seeking creative ways to be resourceful during this time, and technology such as dating apps are one of the easiest ways to do that,” said Cacciacaro. She says the benefit of online dating allows people to meet with less intimidation, however the drawback is that people may not communicate effectively as they hide behind technology.
Cacciacaro said routine is key when it comes to mental health. “Using technology to assist in keeping a regular routine can be very beneficial,” said Cacciacaro. “This can be anything from setting reminders on your phone to help with sleep, exercise and diet. Attending online groups and having accountability partners are a few of the many ways technology can help.”
However, not everyone is having the same luck online as Shania Walden. Cameron Martin, a fourth-year student at Ryerson, got Tinder and Bumble recently because her friends had talked her into it. She hasn’t had any virtual dates but she was motivated to find some new people to talk to during the pandemic besides her family and friends.
“I’ve had some funny conversations about quarantine because everyone is in the same situation,” said Martin. “At one point some guy asked me for my number which I was hesitant to give since I don’t want to date him. I ended up saying 911 as a joke and he said, ‘I tried 911 earlier and the lady told me she’d let you know I called.’”
Fourth-year student Donna Li has tried out a couple of dating apps for the last two months and was looking to find someone from school that was interesting to talk to. However, she didn’t find it helpful because she knew she wasn’t going to be able to meet with anyone for a while.
“I am generally extroverted with a splash of introverted. This isolation has only made me realize how much of an extrovert I am. So I’ve been using Houseparty and FaceTime to video call someone, daily,” said Li. “I got bored of it, knowing I won’t be able to meet anyone anyways, and I’m not a big fan of talking online for long periods of time since I’m much more of an in-person socializer.”
Many dating apps like Hinge and Bumble continue to promote health awareness during the pandemic of how to date during isolation and offer tips of different date ideas you can have virtually while social distancing.