The Blue Banner

The Student Voice of UNC Asheville

The Blue Banner

The Student Voice of UNC Asheville

The Blue Banner

Online dating and COVID-19

Brandon Ayoung-Chee

Arts & features writer

[email protected]

Photo by Camryn Mickan
UNC student Kylee Lombardo facetimes possible love interests to follow COVID-19 protocols.

Timmy Michael Stone, a 21-year-old single student, said online dating during a pandemic gets you disinterested.

“Recently, I’ve gotten a little disinterested in online dating. I think that I was recently in a relationship, and now I’m not, you’re looking for someone who is in a relationship who can give you the level of similar interests,” Stone said.

He seeks something more genuine, a mutual liking. He said he found experience from using dating apps and that’s all he’ll need.

“You don’t go on Tinder, Bumble, or whatever to find someone to marry. You go on there to build experience with dating and find a general concept about it.  That’s how I feel at least,” Stone said.

The most important thing to Stone is finding someone of his interests, a crucial part of finding a long-term partner.

“It’s not as enjoyable to shoot for everyone. I don’t mean having standards, but, for example, I was seeing someone who was a nice girl. She was nice and everything. But we weren’t clicking. Like, we’re both nice people, very interesting. The problem was, we weren’t clicking. But at this point, I think you’re more likely to obtain results to find someone you’re really interested in real life, but it could happen in online dating. I don’t know,” Stone said.

Despite feeling less inclined to surf up new dates, Stone went on two dates and said it could lead into something more.

“More recently, I had a bit of success. I went on two dates. We went to a coffee shop on the first one, socially distanced, of course. It was fun for sure, but I don’t know what I was expecting. I don’t have a lot of dating experience, in general.  The second date I went on was perusing downtown with the same person downtown,” Stone said.

He said dating during COVID-19 requires you to be creative. You can’t get close or do certain practices in dating, as the threat of the virus compels you to create distance.

“It forces people to get a little more creative. People are still on the apps, so it’s not like people are not interested. You know, COVID presents a challenge and people seek to overcome it,” Stone said.

According to Jacqueline Schatz, a relationship psychotherapist, with offices in Asheville and New York City, online dating already has become the norm. COVID-19 only intensified online dating to the mandate of staying indoors.

“Online dating became the norm for so many people even before COVID. Technology has made it easy and accessible for singles. Especially considering that, initially, people on dating apps don’t have that face-to-face interaction.  I’m sure it will likely continue after the pandemic,” Schatz said.

She said as COVID-19 forces people inside, singles, unfortunately, are slowed in finding that special someone.

“COVID has forced people to slow down with dating. Rather than being intimate or jumping into bed right away, many people are taking their time to get to know the people they are dating for longer first.  And, consequently, many people are deciding not to be intimate with people they are dating until they find someone they are more serious about,” Schatz said.

The relationship counselor said online dating is a great way to meet new people, but you’ll often find yourself swiping and constantly matching, despite finding that one person you seem to like. She said there’s always pros and cons to finding someone on the web.

“Online dating provides a way to meet people you might not otherwise meet in your daily life. It gives you access to more people and hopefully the kind of person you are looking to meet. On the flip side, there can be a tendency to think there is always something better out there and therefore find oneself constantly swiping to find the next ‘shiny object’ instead of meeting and getting to know someone and building a relationship,” Schatz said.

Luna Pennington is a 23-year-old in a one year long distance relationship, lives miles away from their partner. Forming this relationship a year prior to the pandemic lockdown, they said the bond of the relationship comes from the long distance. It tests the character of keeping loyalty.

“Long distance relationships, in a way, feel like they’ve benefited from COVID in a technical, silver-lining kind of way. In a typical long distance relationship, there’s a lot of personality bonding in that most of your interactions with your partner come down to voice or text,” Pennington said.

But the relationship still contains issues of having face-to-face interactions, which rarely happen between the two.

“I absolutely would love to see my partner, but in a normal long distance relationship, it’s quite often this isn’t a possibility. Whether due to financial, family, or timing issues, sometimes meeting your long distance significant other isn’t possible. During COVID, however, this adds another layer of why meet-ups aren’t possible in a way that’s completely out of our hands. So because of this added impartial barrier, the understanding and weight of not seeing your lover is just a little more mentally bearable,” they said.

Schatz said people more than likely will be eager to get back to in-person dating once the pandemic is over.

“People are lonely, and to get rid of their loneliness they will go back to dating and meeting new people. They will be hungry to have in-person dating and get to see people’s faces in real life once this is all over,” she said.

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