Love flourishes in lockdown

11 May 2020 - 06:00 By Philani Nombembe
Lockdown isn't standing in the way of online love.
Lockdown isn't standing in the way of online love.
Image: 123rf/Roman Samborskyi

Love and lockdown might not go together like a horse and carriage in most people’s minds, but huge numbers of people have found romance in the last few weeks.

This is according to Kimberly de la Cruz, spokesperson for the US-based global dating site SeekingArrangement, who said membership had grown by more than 70% in a year — with South Africans contributing to the staggering figures.

“We had a record-breaking April,” De la Cruz told TimesLIVE. “What that tells us is that more people are into online dating and signing up for sites like ours than ever before.

“I don’t know if it’s out of boredom, necessarily. I think it is out of this need to feel that you can still be social and remain connected even though we are physically distancing ourselves from other people.”

De la Cruz said the site, established in 2006, had more than 22-million members, and “caution” had recently become a byword.

“More and more people are putting in their profiles that they don’t want to meet in person, and a lot of our members who we talk to have said that it is really a turn-off when people want to meet in person or even at a park or have coffee because it is not safe,” she said.

“Online dating is an amazing alternative to the way people were being social before, especially if you are single. I think single people have a much harder time being quarantined because they are alone. If you are with your family or partner at least you are with people.”

Contrary to sometimes-negative reports about online dating, De la Cruz said it was good for people’s mental health during lockdown.

“I don’t know how many of those relationships are out of boredom or how many will last after the quarantine is over. They might not meet the other person they are talking to but it is good for right now to stay engaged,” she said.

“It helps people to talk and know each other before they meet, which is something we don’t really do any more. We kind of meet people on a whim instead of getting to know them. This is changing all of that.”