Coronavirus: Why dating feels so different now – BBC News
Emily, a 29-year-old surveyor from London, says she’s always been something of an introvert. She’d dabbled in dating, but when the UK’s first lockdown restrictions ended in July, she was reluctant to begin dating in person again. “I’d chatted with some people on dating apps, but I wasn’t in a rush to meet up with anyone,” she says. “Everything about the pandemic had made me quite anxious.”
In early August, she agreed to meet someone from a dating app for a drink, her first date since March. “We’d been exchanging messages for a few months, and he was really nice,” says Emily, who did not want her full name used.
But when they did finally meet, she says, “I just felt extremely hesitant”. “In the back of my mind, I still wasn’t sure I was ready to date again. Later that day I sent him a text explaining how I felt, and he replied saying he had sensed that from my body language.”
Emily isn’t alone in feeling like dating amid Covid-19 is fraught. In fact, her behaviour chimes with a 2017 study in which a group of psychologists at Montréal’s McGill University looked into whether people’s dating behaviour would change if they were worried about the risk of infectious disease. Would people shy away from chasing romance if they were subconsciously aware of a potential health risk, or would the natural human desire to find a partner prevail?
The researchers had little idea that Covid-19