NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Looking for love can be tough enough in normal circumstances, but throw in a global coronavirus pandemic and it adds a whole new dimension to dating.
Forget the typical bar scene. For 23-year-old Upper East Sider Margarita Lyadova, searching for love these days means heading only to cyberspace.
“I really took it upon myself to try anything and everything. I like to say that I’ve tried it all,” Lyadova said.
She recently joined the dating app Hinge, along with other sites. So did 45-yer-old Linda Gluszak.
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“You start talking to someone and it’s like ‘How’s your pandemic going?’ It’s not the normal conversations you’d have prior to this,” Gluszak said.
Such is the state of dating in the age of the COVID-19 lockdown. Typical in-person ways of meeting people are now exclusively online.
Hinge, Match.com, Tinder, Bumble and eHarmony – to name just a few – all report spikes in users and interactions since March. A lot of them are adapting to this new normal – eHarmony added a video date to its site in April.
“What’s really cool is we’re seeing thousands of video dates every single day. We’ve had video dates last upwards of eight hours which is awesome and goes to show the power of comparability,” said eHarmony Chief Operating Officer Gareth Mandel.
The speed dating company CitySwoon has gone from planning in-person events to Zoom events.
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“How you and I are talking now, people are put into different break-out rooms, eight to ten dates, four minutes each.” said Benjamin Goodman of CitySwoon. “We’ve just really pivoted. There’s been a lot of demand.”
While many enjoy this more relaxed way of dating from the comfort of home, both Gluszak and Lyadova say it’s tough not knowing when they could take a potential online relationship offline.
“In the back of my head I always realize I’m not going to meet this person for a very long time. So maybe it’s worth just tabling the conversation until we can meet in person,” Lyadova said.
Both ladies are still looking for love, but hopeful that an online date may lead to an old-fashioned dinner date sooner rather than later.