Dating and networking sites see spike in connections during lockdown

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Containment hasn’t stopped people from doing romantic connections.

When a 24-year-old illustrator Priya Dalí matched on Tinder with a teacher of the same age, it was not love at first sight. Exchanging pings during the lockdown – Dali was in Mumbai, while his match was in Pune – the couple admitted they have a lot in common. “I’m a workaholic, so I’m looking to connect with people with common goals,” says Dali.

One Sunday afternoon, she encouraged her internet partner to take a quiz she had created for a gay magazine with her. Slouching down on their respective sofas, as the two leaned over relationship issues, they also leaned more deeply into each other’s likes and dislikes. And soon, the cat took precedence over their chores. “By the time we got to the last question, it was 11pm and we didn’t feel like we’d connected just a week ago,” Dali said after thinking. The duo are among those for whom romance is now played out on a virtual level. No wonder then that dating and networking apps like Tinder, Bumble and OkCupid have seen a significant increase in conversations, video calls and overall time spent since the start of the nationwide containment. If the pandemic has one glimmer of hope, it’s this: being isolated at home gives you extra time to invest in your love life. So while singles have stepped into the metal in their search for mates, those with committed relationships try to keep the chemistry going through endless video calls.

Dency and Jonathan rely on virtual dates to get by during lockdown

The new normal

On a recent Saturday night, marketing professional Dency Mathew, who lives in Borivali, donned her favorite red dress, while her filmmaker boyfriend Jonathan Augustin, at his home in Chembur, donned his lucky blue shirt and the couple pulled on their lucky blue shirt. looked up at their respective laptop. screens. This is the closest they have come to reality since the entry into force of the national order of shelters in place. Since they started dating in June of last year, this is their longest separation. “To make it interesting, we also played a ’20 question game,’ says Mathew. The exercise gave some pleasant revelations. “I was happy to hear that one of his happiest moments presented me. It made me feel special,” said Mathew, who even made a personal video bringing together the most treasured memories. Augustine for his birthday last Sunday.

Like them, 26-year-old Mrinalini Mali and his Pune-based match are also using apps to overcome the challenges posed by the lockdown. “Because we both work from home, voice notes work best during the day. But after work it’s time for our daily video call, ”says the Bangalore-based PR manager, who met her 29-year-old boyfriend on Bumble a month ago. “Unlike me, he enjoys experimenting with food and shares his culinary experiences almost every day,” says Mali, who picked out a chicken recipe or two through his date online.

Dali paired with Pune-based teacher on dating app

Dali paired with Pune-based teacher on dating app

Pandemic partners

The process of selecting a partner varies with each application, and those who build relationships are all too aware that the chances of meeting offline will only decrease in the months to come. Thus, geographic distance has now taken a back seat. For example, by simply sliding his finger across the screen of his phone, a 20-year-old Sidhanth chakraborty connected with a 25-year-old chef in Hamburg, Germany. The Calcutta third-year law student simply used Tinder’s “passport” feature to do it. The fact that the whole world is in the same boat helped move the conversation forward. Aside from their mutual love for British rock band Queen and Sausages, the two discussed how they deal with self-isolation. “She shared her Bratwurst recipe with me, and I plan to try it someday,” said Chakraborty, who turned into a night owl, exchanging texts with her online date. until the early hours of the morning.

Distance romance

Negotiating a new relationship or maintaining an existing one with only the tools available on your smartphone takes the imagination. “I don’t like texts, they don’t convey the mood and can be misinterpreted,” says Arjun Reddy, 26, who works for a digital agency based in Mumbai. Reddy, who found his partner in a final year student, says he’s annoyed when she takes too long to respond to her messages. “But she is very mature and knows how to reach me,” he adds.

Chakraborty paired with a chef in Hamburg, Germany

Chakraborty paired with a chef in Hamburg, Germany

While the lack of physical intimacy is an obvious concern, some say long-distance romance in the days of social distancing comes with its benefits. Like Kiran Jain, for example, who describes herself as an introvert and prefers to “take things slow”. The 26-year-old finds solace in the anonymity offered by internet interactions. “When I talk to a stranger, I can talk about anything without fear of being judged. And, I can take my time to get to know him, ”Jain says. Augustine, too, can see an advantage in separation. “I just hold hands or take a drive… I’ve never taken these things for granted, but when the lock is lifted I’ll cherish those moments even more,” he says.

Dali, on the other hand, wonders how things will turn out when she meets her partner in person. “Maybe we’ll end up being two very cheerful friends who met online and found some quiet and laughing moments as the world was falling apart,” she said.


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