Before lockdown, the dating world was our oyster. We could change our location settings to meet people from across the world safe in the knowledge that, when we wanted to meet in person, they were just a train or plane ride away.
When the pandemic hit, though, things changed completely.
Public transport was a no-no. We couldn’t go to stay round people’s houses, and were forced to instead meet up in local parks, staying two metres away from dates.
For some, this has strengthened long-distance relationships, showing them that they can keep a spark going without physical interaction.
But a new dating trend – dubbed locdating – sees some people going in the exact opposite direction, instead changing their location settings to include a much smaller local pool of people.
A study by dating app Bumble found that 25% of users are refusing to leave their local area in order to date, with 48% more inclined to look locally than before lockdown.
Those who are locdating on the app are reducing their settings to as little as a mile radius, giving them the option to walk or cycle to dates rather than having to trek on the tube or get a bus.
It’s something of a step back to a more traditional form of dating, whereby location was a major factor on who caught your eye.
In 1932, one in eight of 5,000 married couples in Philadelphia, US, surveyed lived in the same building. Over the decades, we’ve focused more on the ‘perfect’ partner, using technology to increase choice on the hunt for love.
Research has suggested that, in some cases, this level of choice is actually detrimental, leaving us afraid of ‘settling’ in case this perfect unicorn-person comes along later on.
Perhaps with locdating we can switch off from the feeling of unlimited options, instead getting to know people more deeply rather than swiping left at the first perceived incompatibility.
It won’t work for everyone, and of course we’ll still need to have our dealbreakers and boundaries.
But, given that Bumble also found that more than half (55%) of people using their app are seeking more meaningful relationships after experiencing loneliness during lockdown, locdating could be just the start of a more holistic view to finding love.
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