What the pandemic has done for dating

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Jeffrey Hall, the director of the Laboratory of Relations and Technology at the University of Kansas, is not surprised by these promising trends. “When you take a single person who is not meeting their social needs by all the people they would normally see outside of their home, they actually have emotional bandwidth to engage in a much deeper way.” , Hall told me. “So I guess slowing down is a representation of a greater level of need and a lot more energy to be able to invest in these types of conversations.”

My friend Eric Nentrup from Indiana told me he realized how busy he was before the pandemic and decided to spend the summer thinking about his life. When he returned to dating this fall, he found that “everyone was doing their version of thinking and soul searching, grappling with the big issues” and “much more human, much less superficial dating opportunities. . He attributes her breakup to helping her find a promising new romantic connection.

Even before the pandemic, kindness was the main trait that both men and women wanted in a romantic partner. And the importance of kindness now seems magnified, in how people describe themselves and what they look for in a partner. In my own encounters, I have seen more signs of kindness on men’s profiles since the pandemic. Sometimes the clues are less obvious, like a man wearing an American Red Cross shirt, but sometimes people directly mention their favorite charitable causes. I asked Melissa Hobley, Global Marketing Director at OkCupid, if my impressions match their data. She found that from spring to fall, the presence of terms such as benevolence, compassionate, and empathetic increased 3 percent on OkCupid profiles, with a 5 percent increase in mentions of volunteer. More dramatic, mentions of make a donation and make a donation increased 29 percent from April to June and 10 percent from October to November. People may prioritize giving because of the pandemic or national recognition of racism, but being charitable can also have a noticeable side effect when it comes to dating. In my Scientific ResearchI’ve found that people find those who devote their time or money to causes more physically attractive than those who don’t.

Since the start of the pandemic, singles have also been more likely to fall away from their usual type of partner. A friend from Washington, DC, told me that her new boyfriend was “incredibly funny, warm, sexy, and smart,” but unlike her typical partners, “he’s not a flashy guy. “. OkCupid data confirm an increased openness to different partners, showing that people are now more likely, for example, to connect with someone from another religion. But people were notably less open in one area: in this period of polarization, people are less willing to date someone with different political views.

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