Post-pandemic Dating: A Lesson in Discouragement

If dating before the pandemic was dismal, trying to pick things up three years into COVID-19 has become a lesson in misery. Seven in ten people say that dating is more challenging during the pandemic than prior to the Coronavirus outbreak.

In a study done by the Pew Research Center, nearly 56% of single Americans say they aren’t looking to date or enter a relationship. That's up slightly from 50% in 2019. Of the 44% left, only 16% say they’re looking for casual dates.

The dating outlook is bleak, even with nearly half of those looking to date being comfortable with casual dates or committed relationships.

Single Shaming Is a Multi-cultural Problem

Have you ever heard someone ask a single young woman if she’s going to college to get her M. R. S. degree? Or someone quietly mentions to a single co-worker they’ll “find the right person soon” and “not to give up.”

These phrases mean well and are supposedly funny or meant to be sensitive to someone’s single status. But unfortunately, all they do is reinforce the stereotype that to be happy; one must find a suitable partner, find a nice (respectable) home, have an average of 2.4 children and a dog, and be successful in their career.

In 2022, younger people in both the US and UK have experienced ‘Single Shaming.'

Allison Abrams, LCSW-R of Psychology Today, hit the nail on the head:

“The myth of happily ever after, along with the dictum that every woman should be married by a certain age, has been embedded within our collective narrative for ages. That you are a ‘plus one’ if coupled, but a ‘minus one’ if not, does not quite add up.”

Single-shaming isn’t just a personal issue either. When the Pew Research Center study was published on LinkedIn, several professionals responded by giving instances when they were ostracized at work for being single, as if their lives were less than simply because they weren’t married, with children to care for.

Iralma Pozo, CPA, MS, had this to say about the prevalence of single-shaming in the workplace and her personal experience. “I once had someone tell me I’d be first-person fired if needed for budgetary reasons because I didn’t have other people to feed.”

She went on to add, “I’ve also experienced the reverse of single-bias, where people assume I’d be more committed to work because I don’t have kids.”

While many companies claim not to discriminate based on sexual identity, there’s no honest discourse about relationship status. It may be time for discussions about privacy and the importance of respecting employees and employers as human beings. Conversations some companies are initiating in their human resources departments about all forms of diversity and inclusion could help.

Rock and a Hard Place

Singles today don’t have it much easier than their pre-pandemic selves. However, 63% of daters (anyone looking for a romantic relationship or casual dates) say dating has become more complicated since COVID-19 started. In the younger than 30 crowds, the number rises to 71%.

Vaccines and Political Party Affiliations Differ

The Pew Research study interestingly found that 56% of those who consider themselves “daters” don’t care about the vaccination status of their potential dates. A sizable minority, however, 41% of those polled, said they would only date someone who is vaccinated.

When it comes to political parties, however, the divide is noticeable. For example, those who identify as Democrats or lean toward the Democratic party are nearly four times as likely to say they would only date someone who is vaccinated over their Republican and GOP leaning counterparts.

COVID-19 Concerns Play a Part

At least 30% of those who aren’t looking to date or find a committed relationship say that concerns over the pandemic play a key role in their resistance to finding dating prospects. About 10% of those say that the pandemic is the central or primary reason they aren’t seeking companionship.

Among the other factors for those who aren’t intending to date:

  • 44% just like being single
  • 42% have more important priorities
  • 20% are too busy
  • 17% feel no one would be interested in dating them
  • 14% say they’re just too old

While dating wasn’t rallying in 2019 before the pandemic hit, COVID-19 certainly hasn’t helped the outlook for those interested in dating in 2022. The pandemic has made it that much more difficult and even solidified for some that they are either not worth dating or too old to worry about it.

As the pandemic shows signs of ending soon, the prospects in the dating world aren't particularly optimistic. That doesn’t mean all hope is lost, however. With sites like Tinder, Meet Me, OK Cupid, and many others, the availability for anyone to start flirting and then meet someone for a casual date or to develop a deeper, more committed relationship is still highly possible.

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This post was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.

Featured Image Credit: Pexels.