THE LEVEL – The holiday season is upon us, and if you’re looking to avoid your aunt’s prying questions into your relationship status this year, this report is for you, according to the Apartment List, which publishes an annual “Best Cities for Dating” guide.
“It’s no secret that the pandemic and state lockdowns have made dating a challenge this year,” says Apartment List spokesperson Olyvia Ruhlmann. “Dating is hard enough — but throw in a pandemic, where close proximity and physical affection with pseudo-strangers is severely frowned upon, and you’re dealing with a whole new ball game.
“At this point, we think singles everywhere deserve a medal or, at the very least, a participation trophy for dealing with the beast that is pandemic dating,” she says.
But not all hope is lost, according to researchers at the Apartment List, who report that despite the pandemic’s shortened or no daily commutes and newest fashion trends in masks, singles are still making the most of the dating scene in several cities.
For individuals with social anxiety disorder (SAD), the pandemic actually helps to level the playing field by extending digital interactions before the more challenging face-to-face meetings.
Experts recommend that you discuss social distancing and other COVID-related expectations up front.
If you feel comfortable meeting in a park or open area, but not a restaurant, say so upfront.
The pandemic has brought elevated everyone’s level of anxiety, according to mental health experts who say for those particularly anxious individuals it’s perfectly acceptable to postpone face-to-face meetings entirely.
Take care of your mental and physical well-being first.
Americans are looking for partners who take precautions against COVID-19 seriously, according to an online survey of 1,321 singles by YouGov, a public opinion company. Many say they won’t go on a second date if their potential romantic partner: refuses to wear a mask (57%); disobeyed stay-at-home orders/social distancing guidelines (55%); or is unwilling to date virtually (21%), according to a report published in webMD. In fact, nearly half of singles say they are pickier about who they decide to meet in person than before the pandemic, and 32% say they are pickier about who they date virtually.
Dating definitely looks more like the courtship of past generations than this one, according to Sonya R., a 29 year-old Detroit resident challenged by SAD, who says her social interactions have improved during COVID and given her a chance to try on new relationships without the added anxiety of immediate face-to-face meetings.
Such ‘slowdowns’ may be a benefit to many, particularly for individuals challenged by SAD.
The top 10 cities for pandemic dating include:
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Las Vegas, Nevada
San Antonio, Texas
San Diego, California
Here’s how major U.S. cities rank in the Apartment List’s top cities for dating 2020 annual report.