What Australians Really Think About Dating and Loneliness, As We Emerge From Isolation


Building valuable, healthy relationships are central to living a positive and productive life. Bumble has helped change the way we interact, breaking down old-fashioned power dynamics and encouraging women to make the first move. Over the next month, we’re celebrating love. We’ve partnered with Bumble to highlight interesting ways to start a conversation, how to find love in the digital age, how to cultivate intimacy as we emerge from isolation and more. Alongside our helpful and inspiring content, we’ll also share stories of ‘the one that got away’ — because sometimes it’s the love before that leads you to The One.

The events of 2020 have impacted our wellbeing in a major way and loneliness is common given the months of isolation. It’s a feeling experienced by many Australians, with mental health support service, Beyond Blue, seeing a 30% increase in calls and emails earlier this year.

This extra time led people to connect virtually, with users on Bumble devoting more time to getting to know others online as meeting IRL was off the cards. Using dating apps during iso became a way to reduce the increasing feelings of isolation and loneliness.

“We are seeing a huge shift since we’ve been in lockdown,” Lucille McCart, Bumble lead marketer and associate director, told TheLatch—.

“57% of our Australian users believe that COVID changed their personal dating behaviours in the sense that the courtship process is now longer and the trust bar before meeting is higher.”

The lack of physical contact could be considered a barrier to creating intimacy but it turned out to be the opposite, with the extended time chatting online helping to create deeper connections.

“Before lockdown, users on dating apps might have placed less importance on the conversation because an IRL date could come about quite quickly, but now we are seeing that there is way more emphasis on the conversation, people are talking for longer before meeting up and the conversations they are having on the app are more meaningful than they were previously,” McCart said.

This period of isolation has also allowed people to look inwards and use the feeling of loneliness as a learning tool, according to Lysn psychologist Nancy Sokarno.

“Loneliness can teach us to cherish other people and their company, but also teach us that we shouldn’t depend on them for our own happiness. This essentially puts us in the driver’s seat for our own happiness which is always a good thing!” she told TheLatch—.

Iso has given people the time to re-evaluate much of their lives, including their romantic adventures.

“Being alone also often allows you to make better decisions because you aren’t persuaded by outside influence,” said Sokarno. “Another benefit of being alone is teaching you how to have a healthy relationship with yourself — which is actually vital if you want to have healthy relationships with others.”

As McCart noted, the greater emphasis on conversation and creating a connection has demonstrated how important that is when we’re unable to see each other. It’s also a good reminder that virtual dating is what you make it.

Sokarno recommends keeping up this virtual dialogue going forward.

“It’s almost human nature to often take people and things for granted but this pandemic has certainly showed us what we really need in our lives and that is human connection!” she said.

“Place an emphasis on meaningful communication — really tell others how you feel about them and what they mean to you.”

If you are starting to meet up with the people you met on Bumble while in iso, McCart says it’s totally normal to feel a little nervous about it.

“So if you are someone who has met a partner, or potential partner, on Bumble and are now faced with the possibility of meeting them in real life for the first time despite having been talking for weeks or months you may feel a bit scared or anxious,” she said.

“That is totally normal and it is important not to freak out if you feel awkward at that first meeting — this is uncharted territory for many people.”

Don’t put too much pressure on yourself, or for a relationship to develop with this person now that you can see each other IRL.

“Give the relationship time and allow yourselves to settle in before making a judgement on the other person either way — maybe their body language is different to what you imagined, or they are taller than you pictured,” said McCart.

“Don’t let the little things distract you from the great connection you formed. That being said, don’t beat yourself up if it doesn’t work out!”

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