A good majority of singles are facing the dynamic duo of loneliness: quarantine and cuffing season. The cold months from October to March have become known as “cuffing season,” a time when people are more likely to seek a romantic partner to warm them through the gloom of late winter and early spring. This year, cuffing season has been even further complicated by isolation of the pandemic, eliminating traditional methods of meeting people. This leaves us with dating apps, which are currently giving many the best chance at finding a meaningful connection between the isolation of both COVID and the cuffing season, and from this are more widely used than ever in contemporary history.
For many, romance can no longer be found at church, work, bars, or clubs. The only chance most would have to meet anyone in person is by complete chance during the few times one can justify going into public. This has resulted in media and dating app usage reaching an all-time high, with many hoping to find human connection in these forsaken times. As such, the dating world has been forever changed, as relationship wellness platforms such as the Clarity app have emerged to help people navigate dating in the “new norm” and thrive in their love life.
If you’re single, you’ve probably been restricted to either reconnecting with an ex-partner or going online to find potential relationships. The online dating scene has proven to have some modicum of success – with more than 1 in 6 married couples having met online, according to a study conducted by the PEW Research Center.
Usage of dating apps began to skyrocket after only a few months of the pandemic, and usage has grown steadily since. For example, Bumble experienced a 70 percent hike in its user’s utilization of the video chat feature, Match.com saw a 40 percent increase in messaging between its users, and OkCupid reported a 700 percent increase in dates. Based on data, it has become evident that dating apps have become more popular as a result of the perpetual high-stress of this twofold isolation, yet there’s more to it.
40% of Bumble users report that they’re done screwing around when it comes to their relationships, putting all their cards on the table for potential partners, or “hardballing,” and eHarmony reports that 47% of its users are more interested in becoming involved in a meaningful relationship than ever before, according to their 2020 cuffing survey. What’s more, results are showing that ghosting and breadcrumbing are at an all-time low across the board.
This shows that many are wanting to have more meaningful conversations about relationships and what we want from them, and perhaps too emotionally exhausted to put up facades or equivocate anymore. The leading relationship experts on Clarity app uncover the latest research on how new couples have become more honest and upfront with each other amid such trying times, and the desire for strong relationships and lasting life partners soars.
The cold months bring about low serotonin levels and cause numerous hormonal imbalances, making many people a jumbled mess of tired, depressed, and lonely. The psychological effects of seasonal affective disorder (S.A.D.) can be emotionally detrimental to the psyche, and compounded by the social isolation of quarantine this emotional distress has been exponentially elevated to one might say apocalyptic proportions.
As cuffing season gained traction online, many are pivoting away from the concept of casual hookup partners and towards the future of their love lives – it’s as if there was no future to be had at all. This particular mindset is referred to as “apocalypsing,” and while many may not necessarily buy into the idea that we’re living in the end of days, all the doom and gloom is finding its way into every aspect of our lives regardless, including our love lives. The growing desire for authenticity and dedication is one result of this mentality that for the most part has turned out to be positive.
What does this mean, you may ask? It means that many people are in dire need of human contact. Rather than seeking a seasonal friend with benefits, more singles are looking for a deep and meaningful relationship through the only means we have at our disposal. The isolation of quarantine is affecting our collective mental health, and for many singles and divorcees, it has been especially trying. Add the seasonal depression and a cluster of holidays about togetherness and you’ve got one S.A.D. hotpot. Thanks to the internet however, this overbearing loneliness can be remedied with no more than the touch of a screen or push of a button. With this amalgam of isolating elements comes an equally-impressive change related to dating and relationships.
As a community, we’re getting tired of all the inauthenticity, especially since every day lately seems like it could be the last for the human race. From this, something called “COVID courage” has emerged. Like “hardballing,” it’s a sense of our newfound need for transparency – though it goes beyond just getting straight to what we want out of our relationship.
The movement prioritizes hard questions over wasted time. For example, if you plan on meeting with someone to go on a walk or share a drink, it wouldn’t be uncommon to ask, “who’s in your bubble?” Couples are more quickly assessing who has similar political views and stances on important political issues, important pieces of information for any thriving relationship. In many ways, the courage to ask tough questions upfront might cause more couples to ‘fail fast,’ but in regards to finding and building strong relationships, this is undeniably a good thing.
It means that collectively, we are letting our defenses down, and many of the issues in dating that are created by the fear of displaying vulnerability have largely dissipated. Perhaps some people have made a new year’s resolution to be honest with themselves in their future relationships, or maybe it’s a residual sense of doom left over from 2020. Either way, it’s a change for the better. With the pandemic and cuffing season still in full swing, there couldn’t possibly be a better time for singles to get into the online dating scene – so message, mingle, video chat, and be your best true self, because a world of deep and meaningful connections awaits in the palm of your hand.