It's all about 'clean dating'.
From how we shop (love you, Ocado) to how we dye our hair (god bless box dye), the current pandemic has transformed our daily lives - and our social lives have been the hardest hit.
As well as not being able to see our pals, enjoy our favourite festivals and eat at our local restaurants, Coronavirus has hugely impacted the dating scene.
Dating apps and dating websites have been a Godsend for singletons during lockdown but as Boris loosens the rules, virtual dates are fast being replaced by social distance dates.
Thought Coronavirus had charged through your love life like Miley Cyrus on a wrecking ball? It could have had quite the opposite effect, in fact. Indeed, according to dating app The Inner Circle, a third of singles believe the crisis has changed the way people think about dating. And many are expecting a kinder – and more serious – future of dating.
Keen to know what the future holds for the dating scene? We caught up with The Inner Circle co-founder David Vermeulen about what your love life could look like as lockdown is lifted.
The great outdoors
Your go-to date spots are off the table (miss you, Be At One), so meeting your match in 2020 will be all about parks, picnics, walks and outdoor activities.
“It’s a great chance to mix up your dates," said David. "Summer is the season of love – so get outdoors and be creative. You can make light of the social distancing rules with a 2-metre picnic blanket. And having food and drinks between you will make the distance seem way more natural."
But if the connection is strong, is it realistic to stay that far apart? “Our research among singles found that PDAs - including spooning and backrubs - have always been frowned upon in a public place. Stay classy and keep your hands off until you can go somewhere more private,” he said.
The new dating etiquette
Some people are going to be more nervous than others about ‘getting back out there’, which could prompt a new trend in ethical dating.
“Clean dating will be the new clean eating, says David. “Have your hand sanitiser at the ready and be prepared to wait a little longer until people want to get physical. You can’t go straight in for a hug or kiss on the cheek when you first meet – so keep open body language and a big smile to put people at ease. Good eye contact will show people you’re keen without invading their personal space before they’re ready (or it’s legally allowed!).”
“Also expect the ‘exclusivity’ chat to come sooner. People will want to know you’re not putting their health and safety at risk by seeing multiple people.”
Reducing the spread of the virus has to be the number one priority. But there's a danger people will start meeting outdoors late at night or avoid telling friends where they are going for fear of being shamed.
“We can’t let dating be pushed ‘underground’. If you’re going out with someone new, let a non-judgmental friend know, or you could be risking your personal safety,” David says. “And with many people still avoiding Ubers and public transport, it’s polite to check in with your date to make sure they know how they’re getting home.”
Many singles are hopeful the lockdown period will have a positive long-term effect on dating. They believe the pandemic has made more people (59%) care about connection and want a partner more than they did before (48%). And over one in 10 (11%) hope to meet a long-term partner during the crisis.
“Lockdown has given people the time and space to think about what they really want. This doesn’t mean everyone will magically want the same things as you - but expect more open and honest conversations about dating intentions," added David.
This article originally appeared on Glamour UK.