Along with Zoom meetings and Dalgona coffee, online dating also became very popular during the COVID-19 pandemic. Though meeting new people became easy, there are a lot of cons that have been linked to virtual dating. The biggest being a toll on mental health. We have observed that maintaining relations via a digital platform has been quite difficult for many. Questions like — What’s taking them so long to reply? Is he/she interested in me? Am I blocked? and so on crop up and individuals cannot help but overthink about it. If you have ever set your foot in the world of online dating, you might have encountered these questions. In a conversation with Hindustan Times, a clinical psychologist and a couple of people shared their experiences and opinion on virtual dating.
A finance analyst from Gurugram, Vaishali Kamra shared that she has always enjoyed meeting new people and the easiest way was through apps. But since the pandemic, she continued, “I started feeling this sense of emptiness. It was difficult initially. But being more open with the date made me feel better.”
Experts also believe that the COVID pandemic has affected how Gen Z helms dating. Clinical psychologist Sonali Gupta revealed that due to the pandemic, Gen Z has been experiencing a huge feeling of loss, loneliness, and an inability to connect with other young like-minded people. She opined that the pandemic took away all the possibilities of spontaneous interactions.
According to a recent report by Tinder, mentions of ‘anxiety’ grew by 31%. The word ‘boundaries’ is being used more than ever, and ‘consent’ rose by 21%.
While Gen Z has become more open to discussing their mental health, there are a few people who feel that online dating has changed for the better. An MBA student from Delhi, Shantanu Upadhaya shared that he got matched with a girl just before the second wave. He further disclosed that tragedy hit him as he lost a family member. The girl kept checking on him even though he was not available for a few days, and now they are dating.
The psychologist also pointed out that people have to be ready to face rejection as developing personal connection and trust takes time. Rejection is part of dating, no matter you meet someone virtually or in real life. Gupta explained that learning to date with kindness, compassion, and building healthy communication is very crucial to build an ecosystem, in which everyone feels respected.