What's Slow Dating? A New Study Suggests Lockdown Is Changing Love Lives For Good

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Whether you’re looking for something casual or a long term relationship, dating apps can be a lot of fun. However, for singles in lockdown they’ve become one of the only ways to meet new people and connect. With so many people cooped up in their houses, there’s little surprise that many dating apps have reported an increase in active users over the past few months. But, according to a new study, the impact of the pandemic on people's dating lives may be even more profound than that. Research by Bumble suggests lockdown may have caused the trend for slow dating to take off, with singles looking to invest more time and energy into new matches.

No two dating app conversations are the same. What may start as an innocent “hello” can quickly turn into “do you want to come over?” However, the UK's necessary lockdown measures, which saw people all over the country confined to their homes for over three months, meant that just wasn't a possibility. In-app research conducted by Bumble found that as life in general has slowed down over the last few months so has dating. Forty-three percent of users said they’d spend more time chatting to people over the app than they did before the pandemic. There’s an increased focus on getting to know someone and building trust before meeting in real life. And interestingly, 29 percent of people said they think that COVID-19 has changed their dating habits forever, as they plan on continuing to use pre-date video calls to check their match isn't a catfish.

It would also seem that wanting an isolation bae is a very real phenomenon. Fifty-five percent of users said they’re now looking for a more meaningful relationship thanks to their experiences during lockdown. According to the suvery, respondents said they would want someone by their side should they have to go through lockdown, or something similar, again.

With social distancing ever-present, over 50 percent of Bumble respondents said they expected digital intimacy to become more important. Naomi Walkland, Bumble’s Associate Director of Marketing explained how this mandatory physical separation is impacting the dating world. “Social distancing has drastically changed the way we are dating," she says. "Whether it’s using Bumble for the first time to video date or planning your first meet post-lockdown, we’re seeing that people are slowing down and looking for more meaningful connections.”

Bumble isn’t the only app to have got a little bit busier over the last few months. Dating.com reported that global online dating was up 82% from early March. Meanwhile, Tinder revealed that people were devoting more time to their matches, with the length of conversations on the app up by 10-30 percent since the beginning of the outbreak in many counties. Elite dating app Inner Circle saw messages rise 116% over similar time periods.

While it’s safe to say that the pandemic hasn’t stopped singles from connecting, it may have changed the way we date forever. It will be fascinating to see what the world of dating looks like post-lockdown.