- Jenna Birch is a freelance journalist and author of "The Love Gap: A Radical Plan to Win in Life and Love."
- She and her now fiancé dated long-distance for over a year, and Birch says being apart helped them to develop a strong, lasting connection.
- Physical distancing reminds you that developing an emotional bond in tandem with a physical connection is important.
- Used wisely, the tech-based, distance-driven dating we're now stuck with could be a surprising remedy for singles' romantic fatigue.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
Dating has changed a lot over the years; from the age of courting to the dawn of app dating, we've come a long, long way. And with today's social distancing guidelines in place, singles are jumping headfirst into another reinvented type of courtship: long-distance dating, but from day one.
In a lot of ways, pandemic dating reminds me of the way I met my fiancé
We dated long-distance for over a year while he was in the Bay Area and I was in Michigan. I'd been serial dating on apps for four or five years before briefly connecting with him at his own 30th birthday party in Chicago. I was charmed by his humility and sense of humor, his ease around people, and how different our connection felt than the ones with people I had to dress up and go out on the town to meet.
Needless to say, we hit it off — and after 24 hours, I thought this was a relationship worth pursuing. I also thought I needed a change.
App dating is like being on a hamster wheel or in the wild West — and it's also the most popular way to meet your future mate if you're brave enough to slog your way through the heartbreaks.
With the lack of real-life context on any of your dates — mutual social connections, meeting in a setting where you can observe what they're like — each date exists in a vacuum of chemistry and potential. You never know what you're going to get. A commitment-phobe? A misogynist? A two-timer? Someone who wants a free dinner?
Despite the emotional turmoil — and how exhausting dating via app really is — it's hard to get off the rollercoaster ride.
App dating offers a unique proposition: Meet hundreds or thousands of singles in your area with whom you'd never otherwise cross paths
Go on as many dates as you want, looking for either the love of your life, or the next best thing. Sometimes, it's hard to tell. Dating companies will sell you on the romance, but it's more like an endless adrenaline rush with a dash of trauma thrown in for good measure.
Apps tend to lend themselves to bad behaviors, because there's no real accountability.
You likely don't run in the same circle with your matches, and therefore won't be running into them at a party or picnic. The toxicity of the culture is why we bemoan the trends that have popped up in the last ten years as new technology has burst onto the dating scene — ghosting, zombie-ing, stealthing, benching. I've accumulated a dictionary of buzz terms of these frustrating, infuriating dating behaviors.
When I was writing my dating book a few years ago, almost all the singles I interviewed that were seeking relationships had an obligatory, confusing relationship with dating apps. They'd experience the bad behaviors, get tired of the endless dates that led nowhere — or worse than nowhere, toward trauma — and delete all the apps from their phone.
But soon, they'd realize how challenging it is to meet people IRL when singles could simply cut out the rejection risk by meeting on an app; so they'd re-download Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, and then complain endlessly to me about the state of connection.