A Fast-Moving Coronavirus Means ‘Slow Dating’

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For those considering venturing back out into the dating game, Dr. Mattox had some advice: Choose potential partners who have an appetite for risk that is similar to yours. If “you aren’t comfortable eating inside restaurants or even using the drive-through, you will be anxiety-ridden dating someone who’s taking a girls trip to Bermuda,” she said.

More than a year of solitude has demonstrated that it is OK, and sometimes preferable, to be alone, some daters say. Kaya Nova, 27, a musician and content creator in Manhattan, said she had always planned to be married by now, but she realized this year that life is not as linear as she once assumed. When she shared on Twitter her realization that being single isn’t so bad, she was surprised by the effusive reactions the message received.

“People think they’re competing with other suitors when dating me, but really I’m comparing you to my own solitude,” Ms. Nova wrote. “That’s the competition: Is your company better than being alone?”

Now that some vaccinated people are choosing to venture out and date one another in person, she and others are still choosing to hang back. “We are going to be more picky,” she said, “because for the last year and some change, we’ve had to entertain ourselves, and we’ve become comfortable with that.”

Sukh Kaur, the founder of a U.K.-based matchmaking service for Sikh and Hindu professionals called Matched, said her clients have also become more aware of the non-negotiable traits they want in a partner since the pandemic began. While many were fatigued by dating apps, they also told Ms. Kaur that they enjoyed the low-pressure stakes of online dating. Some clients have told her that they plan to continue going for socially distanced walks and planning Zoom meet-ups even as the pandemic ebbs and flows.

“I believe the trend will now be ‘slow dating,’” Ms. Kaur said. “Lockdown has given singletons the time out from dating to build on themselves. Many are ready to date with quality in mind rather than quantity.”

Taking things slow online, and fast in person, worked for Jessica Shropshire, 34, and Joe Crowder, 27, of Oklahoma. The couple met last September on Bumble. Ms. Shropshire didn’t really know what she was looking for — she was just bored being at home. “Apps opened up the whole country, and the whole world was swiping for free, so I was like, ‘I’m at home, I’m not getting out as much, I’m going to try that and see!’”

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