Photo by Olivia Ross
By Vanessa Willis, Staff Writer—
The ongoing global pandemic has come to affect nearly every part of day-to-day life, including romantic relationships.
Most college students would agree that dating presented challenges during the onset of COVID-19.
Dating apps are nothing new, but during quarantine, the most popular online dating platforms, Tinder and Bumble, saw usage surges. This led to companies adding quarantine-friendly features, such as an account badge that alerted potential matches willing to date over video chat. These adaptations caught on, with some platforms seeing as much as an 84% increase in voice and video chats.
One dating trend popularized through social media was the idea of getting a “quarantine boyfriend” or “quarantine girlfriend.” Essentially, this just refers to couples who met through social media during quarantine and kept all of their interactions remote.
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga freshman Morgan Snyder and her former partner decided to call things off because of the distance that quarantine put between them.
“We met on tinder on March 15th, so it was the last day of normalcy before it was announced that the rest of the semester was going to be online,” Snyder said. “We had zoom dates to watch movies and phone calls multiple times per week, but he had to quarantine in St. Louis, so we broke things off when we realized how long it would be before we would be able to meet in person.”
These unexpected restrictions on social life have led many to innovate new and exciting ways to continue to connect to one another without leaving the safety of home.
One Yale undergrad, Ileana Valdez, noticed the effect the pandemic would have on college students’ relationships and created a unique dating website for college aged students called OKZoomer. OKZoomer prioritizes intellectual and emotional connections by matching users based on their personalities rather than superficial elements prioritized by other, mainstream dating services.
Another unique approach to dating in a socially distant world, is the popularization of online speed dating. Filter Off has used their app to connect people in dozens of cities across the nation, including Chattanooga. Filter Off hosts ticketed events where participants are matched for a 90-second video chat. After this time is up, they are given the opportunity to pass or match with the person they just spoke with. Although this method faces similar restrictions to most online dating media, the ability to interact visually and the pace of the event mimics traditional speed dating in a way that more popular dating sites cannot.
If anything is certain in these uncertain times, it’s that humans are social beings who need interaction to build relationships. Despite not being to meet people through our usual outlets, many have used the ever-developing world of technology to create meaningful connections. Although dating spontaneity may momentarily be on pause, friendship and love persist.