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The raging pandemic has upended the dating landscape for singles in America, sparking a number of new romance trends, data suggests. 

For example, an increasing number of people have been romantically engaged with their roommates. People are now requiring masks on the first date. Singles are vetting potential suitors via video chats, and they’re more selective about who they’ll even give a chance to.

Those data points and more were unearthed from Match’s 10th Annual Singles in America Survey, which spotlights how 5,000 singles adjusted their dating lifestyles over the course the year marked by a global pandemic, economic challenges, renewed calls to end racial inequality and a looming political election.

“We’ve seen unprecedented changes in dating this year,” said Helen Fisher, biological anthropologist and chief scientific advisor at Match. “Prior to 2020, no one expected that singles would consider a date’s willingness to wear a mask.”

Some of the stand-out trends birthed from this year’s survey surround people’s willingness to sleep with their housemates, their interest in debating politics with potential lovers and their openness to interracial dating after race-related protests gripped the nation. 

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Roommates are hooking up

With people hunkered down and largely avoiding meeting up with strangers, more American adults chose to cozy up with their roommates, the data suggests. In fact, 41% of singles who were sexually engaged during the pandemic slept with someone they were in lockdown with, Match found.

A glaring 1 in 4 singles between the ages of 18 to 98 had sex with a non-romantic roommate, Match found. 

Adults under 23, or Gen Z, were the most open to this with 46% of them sleeping with non-romantic housemates compared to 33% of Millennials (age 23 to 39). Scientists say this type of behavior shift can happen due to unusual environmental factors.

“If you have non-romantic roommates, you’re probably spending more time together now than you had been in the past,” said Justin Garcia of The Kinsey Institute at Indiana University and a scientific advisor at Match. “People are relying more on their social relationships and their connections more than before because that’s a source of feeling comfort and safety.”

Interracial dating 

Over the past decade, there has been a 58% decline overall in singles not being open to dating people of different ethnicities, Match found.

Now, following the death of George Floyd and renewed interest in the Black Lives Matter movement, 24% of singles are more open to dating someone of a different race or ethnicity, according to Match.

People also want to know where their potential suitors stand on topics surrounding race.  More than half (59%) of singles want to know if their date supports Black Lives Matter, according to Match. That number increases to 74% of Gen Z and 66% of Millennials.

Historically, “we see this pattern where people tend to look for partners that have similar backgrounds and experiences. So someone with the same religion, race and ethnicity,” said Garcia. “We see that people today, over the last decade or so, have become less interested in that and more willing to date inter-religiously and interracially.

Video vetting

Before the first date, 68% of singles used video chats to determine whether a potential suitor was worth meeting in person, Match found. And the data suggests that trend could continue to stick post-pandemic. A further 69% of these said they’d video chat again.

Video dating helped 59% of people have more meaningful conversations, the data suggests, and 62% of people became less worried about their appearance. It was a new experience for many, and 58% of singles said they found video chatting to be awkward.

Still, the process paid off.  A majority of singles felt some chemistry on a video date (56%) and 50% fell in love during a video date, Match said.

Politics

Political alignment was also a central topic in this year’s data. Under the Trump administration, there has been a 25% increase in the number of singles who believe it’s important for partners to share the same political beliefs, Match found.

That goes for people on both sides of the aisle.

In 2020,  74% of Republicans and 77% of Democrats want to date people with similar political beliefs. That’s up from less than half of singles in past years, Match found. People also said debating politics is sexy, though more Independents enjoy debating politics (46%) compared to Democrats (33%) and Republicans (29%). 

New rules

There are also new ground rules to follow if you want to land a date.

People are also asking new questions, like whether a potential date has been practicing social distancing (21%). Singles are being more cautious about who they touch or kiss (15% of men compared to 24% women). And people are requiring that their date wear a mask throughout the entire meet up (20%).

Gen Z are the most open to requiring masks on dates (28% compared to 25% of Millennials.)  

Has the pandemic changed the way you date? Let Dalvin Brown know on Twitter: @Dalvin_Brown

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