Dating apps are having a moment, y'all. Ever since the coronavirus outbreak caused the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to recommend social distancing, activity has spiked on dating apps, likely because it's one of the few ways to connect with other singles while you're sequestered in your house. Just like working from home, dating from home has become the new normal for people who have the option to do so, and the #DFH life has had some surprising results. I've got 15 stories from people dating during the coronavirus outbreak to share, because yes, it is possible, and yes, it's worth giving a try.
Understandably, dating may not be your top priority in the midst of a global pandemic. With so many different stressors demanding your attention, it's easy to put your love life on the back burner. But even if grabbing a drink at a bar with a Tinder match isn't an option right now, dating can provide a fun distraction during these trying times — and believe it or not, you may find someone who's more than just a temporary diversion. From perusing dating apps to planning virtual dates, here are some stories about singles navigating the social distancing dating scene.
Some Singles Have Had Surprising Success
I'm social distancing at my parents' on Long Island, which throws a wrench in my normal dating experience. I can't even go on a socially-distanced walk in Central Park right now! But weirdly, I'm having a better experience than I've had, and I've been dating in New York and on Long Island for a long time. I re-downloaded Hinge and put effort into my League profile when social distancing started. I've been texting a guy for about a week, and I'm going on my first FaceTime date with this weekend.
The pandemic comes at a time when I feel more secure in myself and what I need from a relationship than I ever have (thanks therapy and self-reflection!), but I'm also experiencing some of the worst anxiety I've ever had. And so my desire to find something real and inability to put up with BS or games anymore — coupled with the vulnerability coronavirus has brought out in many people — have contributed to a week-long conversation with this guy that feels earnest and genuine in a way I've never really experienced. And hey, we haven't met, so it could not work out — but I'm excited!
— Jacqui, 23
I am on a few apps, and last weekend I matched with someone. We had a good back-and-forth and exchanged numbers. We decided to schedule a FaceTime date, and it actually went incredibly well. We ended up talking for almost four hours. My roommate didn't realize it was a date because she said it sounded like we had known each other for years.
We've basically been texting nonstop and scheduled a second date for Thursday. We're both big baseball fans, so we decided to watch a baseball movie in honor of what was supposed to be Opening Day. Before the date, we were texting and he told me that he was making hot dogs. I jokingly told him to send me some. He kept asking me questions about what toppings I wanted, if I wanted my bun toasted, etc. Next thing I know, he's asking me for my address because he's sending me two dogs in an Uber. This man legitimately sent two chili cheese dogs in an Uber so that we could have dinner together while watching a movie. I never expected quarantine to be so good for my dating life, but here we are!
— Karen, 28
I was actually at a hospital getting checked for coronavirus and met a nurse. We've been talking non-stop ever since and have really bonded. We even had a seven-hour phone conversation last night. Since I think I've already had coronavirus, and she's constantly exposed to it in the ICU at the hospital, we made a pact that if she got sick, I would help take care of her, since no one else would be able to. I really care about her. I help her through her shifts. I think the only downside to talking to people during this is that people are paranoid about whether people genuinely like them and the relationship will survive post-quarantine or are people just bored and filling time.
— Eireann, 28
Sometimes It Takes Some Trial And Error To Find A Good Match
I had a previous relationship last year that completely broke me when it ended, so I took time off and I just got back on Bumble and Tinder a couple weeks ago. Social isolating is super tough, especially for me, as I consider myself a people-person and love being around people. It's what I do for my job in PR and I'm an extrovert as well, so dating has always been super easy in that sense.
Tinder didn't prove to be very successful. It's always been difficult to find a good guy who doesn't have hookups as the top priority, but I waited it out. Now I'm talking to lovely guy in my neighborhood on WhatsApp after connecting with him on Bumble. He and I had our first official conference call today on Zoom because, of course, we can't meet in person. I think we really like each other, so we continue to bond in whatever capacity until we can meet in person.
— Rhea, 26
By Day 8, I was like, I need a distraction, and opened Hinge. One of the first guys I deemed worthy of a FaceTime call seemed great for about five minutes... but then it turned out he's alone and horny, so I've left him on read. I gave another boy a chance on Day 13. Our first FT date was five hours long and it flew by. I think quarantine definitely changes everything — you know (or you hope) they're not really doing anything either, so you talk a lot more than you would before the coronavirus outbreak.
We've had the deep convos (job safety, anxiety, when will this end, family history) but also all the cute stuff. Neither of us wants to leave our apartments and risk our health or other people's, even though we've both been in isolation for over 14 days… but for fun, we drafted a social responsibility contract for a safe one-on-one in-person date in one of our apartments. Fun to imagine, but in reality: safety first.
— Elle, 31
Other Have Had Mixed Results
I had matched with a guy on Hinge prior to the coronavirus outbreak, and we had plans to meet, but we missed our window of opportunity. We continued talking daily, moving into FaceTimes and setting a date — 14 days from the time of quarantine — to safely meet IRL.
It truly felt like being on Love is Blind, where everyone puts it all on the table, and there's no fuss with finding all of the best outfits and perfect restaurant vibe and so many exterior factors we often value in dating. It was just good, honest conversations. Our second FT, I had zero makeup on, which would never happen in a real-life dating scenario.
Usually, I would never let a boy come over on a first time meet-up, but there we were with no other options. He came over to my apartment on Sunday. He drove safely in his own car to avoid public transportation, ordered sushi delivered to my door, and picked a movie. I dressed in leggings and a sweater and a sports bra. This is 100% out of normal territory. And unfortunately, it was uncomfortable. We sat at my dining table and tried to keep the momentum of our FaceTime conversations, which sadly, didn't translate [to real life] as well. Whether it was nerves or awkward feelings in this weird date setting, or just a mediocre connection heightened by the intensity of quarantine and excitement of FaceTime, I'm not sure yet. But we both agreed that we will never experience anything like this ever again, and it's worth taking a shot on.
— Michelle, 31
Right after taking the bar exam in February, I was so looking forward to getting back in the dating scene, but alas! It's kind of ironic. I'm on Hinge because I'm hoping for a relationship and swiping a lot. I've really wanted to text past flings, but for the first time, I've done a surprisingly good job at withholding. I've been on one virtual date. It was so great. He enthusiastically asked to do another and texted a couple days later. Since then, we haven't had any further communication. I've been holding off on reaching out because I want to be strategic about pacing — otherwise it could fizzle out.
I had a couple more requests to FaceTime, but of course they weren't from people who I was interested in. I'm talking to some guys who I think are really promising. We text pretty much every other day, but I'm hesitant to ask them if they want to do FaceTime. I don't want to make them uncomfortable or feel pressured, but I also fear that our consistent communication isn't sustainable and won't lead to an in-person date. I will say I've never found more promising guys on the app than now — people are texting a lot more and asking more questions. If only this were typical regardless of the situation!
— Abby, 27
Some People Are Dating More For The Social Aspect
I recently attended a virtual mixer put on by Here/Now, which is an organization that usually hosts single mixers in person but decided to go virtual due to our current situation. It was a ton of fun! I don't know if I made any connections that will last beyond last night, but just the process of getting ready for the event and meeting new people was the highlight of my week. Everyone was nice and I got to laugh and talk about my love for books and baseball. If you have a free evening and you want to meet new people, I'd highly recommend the experience.
— Katie, 28
After saying I would never download a dating app, I got bored and downloaded Hinge. I've been having a few conversations here and there and I just got off a first 'date' with someone I met on there, which actually was just a phone call. The next step, I think, will be a video call date! It's pretty difficult to navigate, as I'm currently living with my ex (I was about to move out), but we are on very good terms, which helps. However, it also means that any virtual dates needs to be when I'm doing my one daily exercise, so it means chatting while walking. It's less than ideal, but having your first video chat date while you're on a walk gives you something to focus on that's not just the chat, so it takes the stress off a little bit.
— Kay, 27
I've been on three Zoom dates with this guy I've never met in person. Last night we switched to Houseparty and played games and it was hilarious. He was wistful, saying he wishes we could meet in person because we have a connection, but sorry bud! Not now! And there's another guy who made me a playlist on Spotify as a romantic gesture. He and I actually met in person before the coronavirus outbreak, and I had concluded I'm not really interested in him. However, there is something about still talking to him that I crave, because the attention is really nice while I'm alone.
— Abbe, 34
Others Are On The Apps But Not Prioritizing Dating Right Now
I went on three dates with a guy from Bumble right before I started quarantining. We live in New York, where the outbreak got very serious very quickly, and so while it would've been nice to have someone cute to text right now, his reaction to the coronavirus completely turned me off of him. (He was going out to bars when it would've been much safer to stay home.) We haven't texted in a week.
I went on a Tinder spree one night and matched with some guys who seemed promising, but I've honestly been so busy with work — OK, work and binge-watching Love Island every night — that I've barely had time to respond to any of them. I love dating but it's just not my top priority right now.
— Hannah, 26
I downloaded Hinge again in mid-February, over a year after I'd last deleted it. Clearly, my timing could not have been worse. Anyway, I went on one bad date before self-isolation started and one good one. I was meant to go on a second date with the guy it went well with, but then we all went into isolation. We texted a bit at first, but we had never really texted before (he asked me out pretty soon after we matched) and it fizzled out.
I don't blame him — I'm finding being on a dating app right now exhausting. I'll match with one or two people who've liked me one day, and I often find that's all I have energy for. Or I'll answer one conversation when Hinge says it's 'my turn.' I'm finding it really hard getting invested in anyone. I had one guy get really invested in the space of 12 hours, who started texting me novels where I had to answer about five different questions, and then he started double- and triple-texting me if I didn't answer in an hour, so I got really creeped out and ghosted him. But I'll keep using the app! I'd really like to organize a video chat date if I find someone I actually vibe with.
— Iris, 25
I'm on Tinder right now, mostly messaging guys I like on the app and getting to know them. The ones I like I plan to meet up with once the coronavirus outbreak has passed. I haven't been on any virtual dates and, of course, I haven't gone out on dates during social isolation. And I've also been texting some cute guys I met at parties before the outbreak here and there, especially now that I have some time. Getting to know people by flirting through apps and texts is key, as we can't meet up right now.
— Sarah, 26
And Some Have Reached Out To Old Flames
Since social isolating, I've tried to continue keeping in touch with a certain boy in New York who I've been talking to since high school. I've basically been in love with this guy since I was 15, and he's always done me wrong over and over, but I keep giving him chance after chance. We've strangely always kept in contact even though he's at NYU and I'm in Virginia, but we have some sort of connection.
When coronavirus first hit, he asked me to come visit him, but then he realized that it wouldn’t make sense bringing me into the epicenter basically. I even invited him to come stay at my house at James Madison University, but he acted like he needed something long-term. So, he kept asking me where he should go and if he should leave. He began ignoring me for two to three days at a time right around the same time, but he would eventually come back, explaining he'd been MIA because of his stress and anxiety due to everything going on. I'm all for being sympathetic, especially since he's struggled with depression and anxiety, but come on.
As for dating apps, I am on Tinder and Hinge. I've always used Tinder just to hint to boys that I already know from home that I like them. I'm not into random hookups or even one-night stands really, if I can avoid them. I've tried giving Hinge a real chance as well but haven't had much luck. It's the same bad jokes and weird messages, but then again, maybe I'd get better results if I was more serious about it. I have not tried out any virtual dates just because I've been so busy with internship work and virtual schoolwork, but it's definitely something I'd consider.
— Carley, 20
I matched with a guy on Tinder in February who I was planning to meet this past weekend. I live in Texas and he lives in Nebraska, but his job made him come to my area for work every month. We were getting ready to meet when the coronavirus outbreak happened and his flight got canceled. We have had phone sex in the past, though not recently, but we still message each other, so we'll see what happens.
— Elsa, 24
Bottom line: Dating is pretty weird right now, but if you're interested, the coronavirus outbreak shouldn't stop you from looking — as long as you're doing it from a safe distance.
If you think you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, which include fever, shortness of breath, and cough, call your doctor before going to get tested. If you’re anxious about the virus’s spread in your community, visit the CDC for up-to-date information and resources, or seek out mental health support. You can find all Elite Daily's coverage of coronavirus here.