People fall for those they have never met in real life (stock image)
And after an average of 13 successful dates online during the past 10 months, adults looking for love have found a string of ways to keep the romance alive. Most common online dates have included movie nights for 41 percent, while 26 percent watch TV programmes at exactly the same time as their partner.
A further 23 percent have done fun quizzes together, while 28 percent listened to music – and others have experimented with wine tasting, workouts and even painting.
The study conducted by Vision Direct found it only takes four online dates before deciding someone is worth pursuing – with 33 percent of participants starting and ending a relationship this year without ever meeting in person.
Relationship expert and psychologist, Dr Becky Spelman said: “Dating during lockdown is really good for everyone’s mental and emotional health.
“It’s a welcome reminder that romance, attraction, and love haven’t gone away just because we’re all stuck at home—and those are all things we need more of.
“Dating someone new during lockdown is one of the most positive things that anyone can do.
“What could be more future-focused than starting a new relationship when times are difficult?
“Lockdown is a challenge to us all, but there are still ways to have fun—including dating.
“In our online, interconnected world, there are endless possibilities for getting to know one another in a way that’s perfectly safe.”
The findings show modern daters have fully embraced the idea of dating online, with 49 percent reckoning dating sites will fast become the only way single people will find love.
One third believe there is far less pressure, and 35 percent like the fact they save money as well.
Three in 10 adults find online dates easier to arrange and less stressful, while 27 percent like that you can end the session as soon as things get awkward.
It also emerged 36 percent intend to continue online dating after the pandemic ends, with 12 percent of daters now preferring to hang out with a love interest online, rather than in person.
But there are some downsides to dating online, as 34 percent complain of awkward silences when conversation doesn’t naturally flow.
Almost half of respondents, polled via OnePoll, also complain of eye strain part way into the call – with the average person keeping it to just 35 minutes long as a result.
Other grumbles include not being able to tell what someone smells like, what shoes they wear, or how tall they are.
While four in 10 miss the physical contact only possible with a date in person.
To keep the romance firmly alive in these difficult times, Vision Direct has joined with Dr Becky Spelman to produce 20 tips to dating online.
Alexandra Smyrliadi, content manager at visiondirect.co.uk said: “These are difficult times for anyone, especially if you’re living alone or are on the lookout for love.
“But as this study confirms, people are being so resourceful with their time and have found brilliant ways of creating romantic connection.
“Undeniably, there’s a lot about dating that you can’t replicate online: you can’t touch your partner or have free-flowing conversations over drinks in dimly-lit bars.
“But why let that stop you? You can still exchange letters, take baths together while on video call or have a karaoke night, along with many of Dr Becky’s other fantastic tips.
“Our top eye care advice for online daters is to follow the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, look at an object that’s 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
It’s the most effective way to keep your eyes healthy without limiting your time spent on screen chatting to your crush.”
FIVE DATING TIPS BY DR BECKY SPELMAN
1) Play Truth or Dare. This might be a good game to play when you’re getting to know one another a little more, as it has a habit of getting a little saucy!
2) Have a mini-book club. There’s never been a better time to read, and it might be a lot of fun to read the same book as your partner, or the person you’re trying to get to know. If you want to spice things up, you could try some literary erotica.
3) Swap silly jokes or scary stories late into the night. (Maybe not too scary, as you’ll be going to bed on your own later.)
4) Exchange letters. There’s nothing more romantic than an old-fashioned pen-and-paper letter. Write to one another and then open and read the letters when you’re online together.
5) Try mindfulness meditation. This can be an amazing way to relax and get rid of the stresses and worries of the day, and doing it together can be an amazing bonding experience.
BEST THINGS ABOUT ONLINE DATES
1. They’re cheap
2. Less pressure
3. Easier to arrange
4. They are easier to leave
5. You don’t have to get dressed up
… AND THE WORST
1. No opportunity for physical contact like a snog at the end of the night
2. Awkward silences
3. Technical issues like the screen freezing
4. Can’t tell what they smell like
5. Can’t see exactly how tall they are