The coronavirus has posed some serious challenges to our way of life. Unemployment, lack of childcare, and grave illness has devastated many among us. For those people, dating is the least of their concerns. And for good reason. Luckily, the best online dating apps continue to give people looking for friendship or romance a spark of hope.

Singles who have been forced to practice social distancing, however, are facing some very real issues of their own. If you felt lonely before the pandemic, then you’re probably feeling it ten-fold right about now. It may seem simple and even silly, but the answer to your problems could be a mere app download away. 

Why? Because human connection is not something we want; it’s something we need. While the coronavirus may have found a way to keep us apart physically, technology (thankfully) is here to fill the void and provide us with a way to preserve social connections. Online dating is a very good example of that. If you’re not currently involved with someone and think you might enjoy something more than mere friendship, listen up. 

Should I Try Online Dating Amidst Coronavirus?

A global pandemic doesn’t exactly scream romance, though, am I right? So why is it the perfect time for online dating? Perhaps the better question is: why not? Since bars, restaurants, and other potential meeting places have all been shut down for the foreseeable future, there really aren’t that many other options if you’re keen on meeting someone. 

For those who have been resistant to even the best online dating apps in the past, now is the perfect time to get your feet wet in the virtual dating pool. Think of it as a trial period of sorts. That is, use the time to see what all the hype is about, and when things go back to normal, you can resume your more traditional dating habits if you like. You may just get hooked and find out that dating online was more your speed all along. 

Is Online Dating Safe During the Pandemic?

You may be thinking it’s too much of a risk to reach out to anyone at the moment, even it is just through an online portal. Understandable. Dating online is actually one of the safest things you can do during the pandemic, though. Plus, it could have the added benefit of keeping you sane in a time that stands to threaten everyone’s mental health. 

Think about it. Right now, “no-contact” services are all the rage. From pizza-delivery to grocery pickup and even car services, everything is better from afar. Think of online dating as the no-contact version of courting. As long as you’ve disinfected your phone prior to swiping right, then there’s absolutely no risk of contracting the coronavirus (or any other disease!) from a dating app. 

The challenge, of course, is remaining more than six feet apart after you’ve met someone you like online. Popular dating apps like Tinder and Coffee Meets Bagel are warning users to continue practicing social distancing when using their services. It seems they don’t want to be held liable for any contamination that may occur as a result of meeting someone on their app! 

Taking Online Dating to the Next Level

So what’s a guy or gal to do when they want to take things to the next level? When pre-pandemic, the next logical step would be to take things offline, it can be tricky for couples to figure out how to keep the relationship moving in the right direction. 

Enter technology. Many singles are relying on apps like Facetime or Google Hangout to go on “virtual dates.” While this may just seem like an extension of online dating, there are ways to make these meet-ups seem more like the real thing. Instead of just hopping on a video chat, consider making it a more formal affair. You could set aside a specific time, for instance, dress up if you like, and even have dinner or drinks together. 

Best Online Dating Apps Right Now

Online dating may be the perfect companion for a pandemic, but some apps are better suited to dating amidst COVID-19 than others. For instance, dating apps notorious for their hookup cultures like Down and Mature Quality Singles, may not be suitable for dating while quarantined. If the main purpose of the app is to make a physical connection, then you may want to skip it, at least right now. 

Instead, you may want to consider apps geared toward making more meaningful, emotional connections. These apps may be better equipped to facilitate the kinds of interactions that will get you through a pandemic. 

Becoming emotionally intimate with someone requires a lot more investment that simply making a physical connection, though. You’ll want to ensure the person is someone you can trust and that you’re compatible with. A dating app with a good matching algorithm may be best-suited for the task. Thing Hinge or eHarmony, for instance. 

Believe it or not, there’s a new app on the market specifically designed for dating (or just making new friends) during the coronavirus pandemic. OKZoomer started out as a meme shared amongst college students before it went viral. The catch? You have to be enrolled in college to join. 

Resources for Dating in The Age of Coronavirus

Existing dating apps have also had to pivot a bit to remain relevant amongst online daters who are under “stay at home” orders or practicing social distancing. Match, for example, launched a Dating While Distancing hotline for users who have questions or need advice about their current dating status. Meanwhile, Plenty of Fish rolled out a new live streaming feature that’s free to all users. According to POF, the new feature is designed to give singles “more ways to connect with others and build meaningful relationships.”

While dating apps may have found a way to support your efforts to continue dating in the age of the coronavirus through high-tech advancements, you’re going to need some good old-fashioned perseverance and self-discipline as well to see it through. Do your best to stay open-minded about the process, and stay the course. Whether you find true love or just a companion to help you cope in these unprecedented times, your efforts will likely be rewarded in the end. 

Unsure what dating app to use? Read dating sites and apps to find out which one suits you best.

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