Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, popular dating apps have moved quickly to improve their virtual dating capabilities to help people better find connection and even love in isolation.
Now, eHarmony, which has seen a 44% increase of users in recent weeks, has joined the virtual party with the release of its own shiny new features, one of which is called ‘Video Date’.
It’s just like it sounds. The new feature enables users to meet a match in the closest thing to a face-to-face date via a video platform in a move eHarmony is calling “the biggest shake-up of online dating since its inception”.
The Video Date function within the eHarmony app allows for a safe and secure experience that eliminates the need for third-party apps, and ensures you never need to give away private information, like an email address or phone number.
“It is designed to cater seamlessly for the one in four Aussies (23%) who are planning a virtual date in the coming weeks,” says eHarmony in a press release.
Before just anyone can make a call in the app, a minimum of three text exchanges must occur before a request for a Video Date can be sent.
“Video Date will help create an intimate environment where singles can get to know each other without the usual distractions of a busy bar or restaurant. They can read each other’s facial expressions, take cues from body language and get a much fuller sense of their mutual compatibility than they might via a phone call,” eHarmony says.
Sharon Draper, eHarmony relationship expert, tells TheLatch— that virtual date in this time of isolation, while an adjustment, could lead to more meaningful connections in the long run.
“Virtual dating has many positive possibilities. All too often I see people missing red flags in their date because they were so caught up in the chemical and physical attraction of that person. A few texts will be exchanged and then they meet physically. This can really convolute the process when you’re trying to decide whether this person is relationship material.”
Draper says that without the pressure of physical touch, dates will have a better chance to get to know each other, and on deeper levels.
“It’s more likely that a deeper connection will be made since you’ll need to be creative in ways to keep the connection going. It’s kind of like having a long-distance relationship. You’re much more likely to communicate over important topics earlier on, as opposed to if you physically met up with them. This helps you wade through dates to find those who share similar values to yourself and if they don’t, then you’re more likely to learn this earlier on in the process.”
What’s more, virtual dating allows us the chance to sit back, and reassess what qualities we deem are important to us. Plus, virtual dates are undoubtedly cheaper, plus easier to end if you feel no spark.
“You can have the date in the safety of your own home! You’re going to find out if their profile photo matches how they look in reality before you meet them physically and if you aren’t vibing with the person, you can end the date earlier without having to make the situation awkward.”
Importantly, though, Draper says we should keep dating. Yes, even through the pandemic. “I think it’s important that we don’t feel we should ‘park’ dating just because we can’t physically meet up with our date. We are social beings and it’s important that we do what we can to prevent isolation and loneliness.”