It’s no news that the pandemic has changed every aspect of our lives. Due to social distancing and lockdowns, the ways we work, play, and socialize have completely altered.
Love and relationships were not left untouched. Relationships and social dynamics have shifted significantly in the past two years, leading to altered dating habits, fewer marriages, and increased loneliness. Read on to learn more about how the pandemic has changed relationships and the ways we find love.
Online dating was already becoming the primary way people found dates before the pandemic. According to a study conducted by Stanford University in 2017, 39% of heterosexual couples and 65% of gay couples met online.
However, when the lockdown orders came, and people began social distancing, online dating became the only safe way to meet prospective partners. Though many people still prefer to meet others in person, this was not an option for many people over the past two years. This means that those statistics are probably much higher now than in 2017. So although online dating was already on the rise, the pandemic may have cemented it as the primary way to meet prospective partners.
More Mindful Dating
The pandemic gave many people perspective on the state of their love lives. Those who were not mindful before realized that their love and social lives weren’t meeting their needs. This meant that many people cut out individuals who no longer served them, including long-term partners and friendships.
Spending so much more time with their partners made many realize that they weren’t truly compatible. This was especially true for couples that stayed together out of habit rather than true connection. It’s much more difficult to be with someone you don’t truly connect with when you are forced to be with them all the time. As a result, many relationships have broken up since the pandemic began, and divorce rates have skyrocketed.
Furthermore, many people reconsidered their values and needs regarding relationships. Before the pandemic, many people enjoyed casual dating and short flings. But now, many of those people realize they prefer more meaningful connections and have changed their dating habits altogether. When the lockdowns lifted, they found that flings no longer satisfied them, and they decided to make more time for meaningful connections. They began looking for relationships, not casual hookups.
The pandemic delayed plans for many people. As a result, vacations, social gatherings, and appointments were put on a hiatus for the foreseeable future.
This unfortunately included weddings. As a result, many people remained engaged or decided not to officially tie the knot. The pandemic forced some couples to realize they weren’t a good match, as previously discussed. Though traditional marriage was already a decreasing trend, the pandemic seems to have worsened this.
Another complication in this is the financial and employment changes. Weddings are often very expensive, and the pandemic has altered the careers and finances of many people. Most people are not interested in planning an expensive wedding when unemployed and struggling to pay their bills. As a result, many couples are choosing not to marry and remain just long-term partners.
Unfortunately, the pandemic made it much harder for singles to find love. Though online dating was an option, it still could not replace the intimacy and fun of being with someone in person.
Furthermore, strict lockdowns and social distancing measures prevented individuals from seeing their friends and family as well. Those who lived alone or had limited means to interact with others experienced increased loneliness. This only worsened troubling mental health trends, as loneliness often increases depression and anxiety. The pandemic forced them to stay at home and watch shows about love but not go out and find love themselves.
The love and relationship trends that came up in the pandemic showed the world the importance of creating meaningful, in-person connections. Luckily, with so many vaccinations and immunity, the world seems to be starting to go back to normal. It will be interesting to see how these trends continue. Will people continue to value meaningful connections or go back to pre-pandemic patterns? Only time will tell if the pandemic has changed social dynamics permanently.