Young people’s dating lives are being disrupted by Covid-19 restrictions as bars and restaurants remain closed for dining in.
Singles in the Dutch city of Groningen are facing more difficulties finding a partner as their date activities are limited to going on walks or meeting at a person’s house. While going on walks offers few opportunities to get physically closer, meeting at somebody’s house can feel almost too intimate for a first date and pose a safety risk.
While dating apps have made it much easier to find new people to date, the Covid-19 pandemic has made it harder than ever to organically connect with a new partner, leaving many dissatisfied or giving up on dating entirely.
I have spoken to a few people on the dating app Bumble to get their take on the current dating scene.
“I find [dating now] more difficult. The options for a date are very limited, that’s why I don’t really date much,” says Willem Horsman (aged 23). “It can also be a bit scary. Mostly for girls, I think. Inviting a random boy straight to their own house is for them a lot scarier than when I invite a girl over.”
Safety is a key aspect in online dating, especially for women. Meeting in a public place like a bar offers a form of security, but since this is no longer possible, more and more people are inviting strangers into their homes, potentially putting themselves at risk.
The 9pm curfew poses another problem, finds Sophie van den Berg (aged 24); “At a certain point you have to sleep over if you stay too late at their place, which can be awkward if you end up not connecting so well.” Again, this poses a safety issue as women are left no choice but to spend the night in this situation.
However, some actually prefer the less intimate ‘walk date’ when first meeting someone. “I always ask them if they want to go for a walk for the first date, and you can quickly tell who’s actually interested in getting to know you and who has other intentions,” says Gina Harris (aged 23).
Hopefully things are looking up for Groningen singles in the coming months as the weather gets warmer and they can enjoy more romantic outdoor activities like socially-distanced picnics.