Will Quarantine Make Casual Dating Deeper, or Non-Existent?

Stephen Hussey


It’s hard to know exactly what the long-term effects of COVID-19 will be on…well, everything.

But we do know one thing: behaviour will change.

Even after lockdown ends, until people feel 100% safe, risk-free, and back to “normal”, that uneasy feeling will affect every decision about where we go and about how to spend our time. One article in the WSJ this week even talks about how New Yorkers are fleeing the city.

And cities, of course, are where a lot of the casual dating happens.

So what now?

Will we still meet up with total strangers for drinks, conversations, and gulp…actual touching this summer? It’s hard to imagine it being quite business as usual. Even if casual dating returns in some form, it won’t be the same.

I’m sure for some people, the end of lockdown will create a “snap-back” effect, causing them to dive headfirst with abandon into pubs, clubs, and casual sex, having felt like a caged animal for the last couple of months.

But for the rest of us? Not so much.

I tried to ask myself: If lockdown were over, would I go on a date tomorrow?


If lockdown were over, would I want to quickly sleep with a stranger I had only spoken to on Tinder/Bumble/etc.?


What about after 2 dates? 3? 4?

It gets tricky. It gets even trickier if you have vulnerable people in your life already that you want to keep seeing and spending time with. How do you balance having a dating life vs. keeping the people around you safe?

These are questions we’ll all have to face when the choice is in our own hands.

Let’s get to the point: what does this all mean for single people?

Have they missed the boat and now have to consign themselves to a life alone, quarantined, in a dystopian future where all our connections are relegated to windows on our phones, taunting us, always there but always out of physical reach?

I doubt it.

These are red-blooded humans we’re talking about. So a future of voluntary celibacy seems unlikely. Like life, sex will find a way. But it might not be the way it was from 2010-2019.

That delirious decade may come in retrospect to epitomise the apex of casual dating. A heady time when one could meet within hours, with no immunity checks or corona-safe socially-distanced dates before getting intimate – when one could hop from a bar after introductory cocktails with lots of casual kissing, without even needing to wash their hands afterwards.

I’m not saying we’ll never go back to how things were. But it may be a bumpy road to get there.

As we should expect, there will be a bunch of people who don’t care. If you’re young and foolhardy, you may decide to take your chances, rather than risk an extended pause, or mere slowdown, to a previously rampant sex life.

But what about those who don’t feel…you know…like they want to contract coronavirus anytime soon?

For those people there will need to be more courtship. We will look for greater certainty – about a clean bill of health, about what we want, and frankly, about whether this person is worth risking our health for.

That has consequences.

And we’ve lived in a world for a long time that glorifies dating without consequences. There has been freedom in this. There have also been tears. The experiment of dating apps has been a mixed bag to say the least, even if it has led to plenty of weddings and long-term partnerships.

But now…

Everything seems like a higher stakes game.

Do I know where my prospective date is going every day? Do they have a high-risk job? Are they touching other infected people in between our dates?

Yes, people will get less and less scared. But knowing that a date could lead to an infection (not that kind) will make a lot of people think twice about whether constant partner-hopping is worth the trouble. It may make relationship-phobic players reconsider whether they would prefer to hunker down and give monogamy another spin now that it’s premium has risen in a less safe world.

Casual hook-ups have always come with risks: Who is this person? What do they really want? Are they going to call afterwards? Are they going to go nuts if I decide not to call afterwards?

Now there is an new risk on the table.

The game has changed. And now it has more rules. But will as many people want to play?

So I want to know, what are your answers to these two questions:

(1) If lockdown ends tomorrow, would you be willing to go on an in-person date with a stranger you met on a dating app?

(2) Has the quarantine situation increased your desire for a long-term relationship/monogamous courtship?

(3) If the answer to (1) is no, when would you be willing to return to going on casual dates in person again? 

Free Guide

Copy & Paste These
"9 Texts No Man Can Resist"

28 Replies to “Will Quarantine Make Casual Dating Deeper, or Non-Existent?”

  • 1. Yes-my idea of a 1st date is an hour or less and I’m not kissing them.
    2. It’s the same. As a single parent I’ don’t go out with every invitation -there’s probably already been days or weeks of text/phone/FaceTime
    3. I’m never interested in casual dating, I protect my time and myself. And even still, you can find out ppl aren’t who they say they are. Lunch dates are great if it works for your schedule.

  • 1. Yes, provided i have been getting to know them for the past couple of weeks.
    2. I always have had but i am hoping this leads to more conscious dating overall. More integrity in getting to know your date and vetting out if this person is worth the risk. And if so, the the increase in likely-hood of it becoming a relationship.

  • So much uncertainty. I’ve been looking for a LTR for a year now. In my town it’s almost impossible as men in Scottsdale AZ prefer the flavor of the month. During Corona men have come out of the woodwork to get me to see them. The answer is NO. I have an 18 year old son and 78 year old Father I need to protect. I don’t plan on dating anytime soon although I may need to turn my phone off to do that because men have become crazy!

  • 1. yes, provided Ive already been talking to them.
    2. Long term and monogamy have always been something Ive been looking for.this pandemic has definitely tested my patience and my communications skills, asking the right questions.

    non existent. lots of people were already scared to label “dating” and just call it “hanging out”.

  • Yes to 1. for me, and right away after May 18th.(i live in Europe). It will be like Russian Roulette but so will be going back to transportations, Dr’s office, market, movies etc. Ultimately I don’t think we can control that. If anything, people may be more safe right out of their quarantine because less exposed.. For2. Yes as well, there would have been a sense of caring and comfort to face this together, though friends and family were the ones I had felt connected the most during this time.

  • Yes you are right .some of the things you have said I have done.In this profile I have told him I like the way you dress.Also I have told him if I am out and I see some wearing some thing nice .I will go up to him or her and competent them .You look nice , I have learned some things from you that is very helpfull.I would love to hear more .I have a first skp date tonight .I will say hello to him with a big smile.His mum not well so I will ask him how she getting on.I am stuck for more to say .I hope he look like his profile.and I look like mine.Thankyou for your comment you have help me .I hope to hear from you .Tonight I am going to wear a yellow top off the shoulder,I love dressing up and wearing dresses,But I would like to save my dress for a date when I can see him in person .Thankyou for reading this

  • Hi Stephen,
    Great blog. I activated my online dating profile when the lockdown began, as a way to practice the flirting/dating skills I learnt from Matt’s videos and programs. I hit it off with one guy and we graduated to texts, phone calls and even video dates. This went on for 3 weeks until I asked him to plan a video date for us. Turns out, planning the date was so tough for him that it frustrated him that we couldn’t meet and he decided to end things. He said it was going to get monotonous and we would run out of things to say. He said we should take a break and pick it up when lockdown ends.

    I refused to wait because I felt like that would be a waste of time. But I’m quite confused because I felt it had been going great until then. I understand the frustration of not being able to meet. But does it explain giving up so close to the finish line?

  • Now that we have been Facetiming for months, during the quarantine, that’s all he wants to do! How do I get hime to ask me out on a date instead of just continuing to Facetime? We’ve seen each other in person about 5 times, but unless I initiate a meetup, he won’t ask me out on a proper date. He calls, texts or Facetimes me 2 to 3 times/day. I’ve been very direct about wanting him to take me on a proper date. Said things like “how’s my favorite Penpal?” “Are we not meant to have one of those weird phone-only relationships?”, etc. He’s just not taking the hint. What else can I specifically say? I feel like we’re a good fit other than that.

1 2

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All-Time POPULAR Posts