He recalls himself feeling anxious to meet face to face after not going on an in-person date for more than a year, but luckily his match was in the same situation. “The date went super well and I think a lot of that has to do with us both not having dated someone in-person the entire pandemic,” he said. “We were super honest off the bat and told each other we might be a little socially awkward.” They arranged a second date. As for physical intimacy, Mr. Bunger isn’t holding back, so long as his partner is also vaccinated.
Alessandra Conti, a founder of Matchmakers In The City, a matchmaking service based in Beverly Hills, Calif., recommends that her clients not spend too much time on video dates. She and others compare dating to a skill set, or more so a muscle, that has to be consistently exercised in order to maintain.
While many of her clients have forgotten “how to do the whole dating thing,” Ms. Conti said, a pause from dating has also resulted in an unforeseen fresh start. “It strips people of their learned habits that clearly have been ineffective up until now,” she said. “Everyone has a clean slate and can reflect on what wasn’t working in regards to their dating habits, prepandemic. A lot of people are setting new, clear intentions.”
With so much time allowed to self-reflect and sit with oneself, many people are becoming more thoughtful about who they are, what kind of relationship they want to be in and what they’re looking for in a partner.
Even if it’s technically allowed, not everyone is rushing toward indoor dining. Mr. Bunger, who added the fact that he is fully vaccinated to his dating app bios, says he has also benefited from specifying that he is still open to meet in outdoor settings, like a park or garden. Despite the social anxiety he has developed over the last year, he noted that choosing active, rather than intimate settings, can ease some of the apprehension of dating and create “a more chill environment.”