I think we can all agree 2020 so far has challenged us to adapt quickly, stay connected and tap into our personal wellbeing. These moments of uncertainty have made us stronger, and more resilient but have also surfaced feelings of anxiety and stress. Plenty of Fish surveyed 2,000 singles in the United States to explore the relationship between anxiety and dating, including the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is evident from the findings, that singles are leveraging technology like livestreaming, video chat and Zoom calls to foster and maintain meaningful connections during these strange times.
7 in 10 singles report feeling more anxious than usual these days, but still remain hopeful as 72% of online daters believe it is still possible to start a romantic relationship while social distancing
Anxiety & Me
Anxiety is Common: Have you ever felt anxious? Well most singles have too. A whopping 82% of singles report their typical level of anxiety ranges from moderate to very high.
- 43% moderate
- 24% high
- 15% very high
Women are more likely to be at either end of the spectrum, and are more likely than men to report very high anxiety (16% vs 13%) and very low anxiety (4% vs 3%).
Dating Jitters: Meeting someone new with the possibility of a romantic connection causes the nerves to tingle for the majority of singles (67%) who say dating gives them anxiety. Dating even beats out these common stressful life events:
Anxiety Spikes: 75% of singles are more anxious now than they were a year ago which makes sense considering the current climate. Furthermore, singles are anxious pretty well most of the time 24/7 365 days of the year.
Bye Sunday Scaries, Hello Monday Moodies: And you thought the Sunday scaries were bad, Mondays are creeping up as the worst day for anxiety (14%) in the evening (24%) and especially during the cooler months of winter (28%).
1 in 5 singles have avoided going on a date altogether due to anxiety. Almost ⅓ of singles have their mind race the night before a date (31%) and 26% have lost sleep thinking about an upcoming date!
Pre-date Nerves: Sometimes the most nerve racking part of a date is right before it! These are the top three anxiety inducing moments singles identified before a date:
- When they’re waiting for their date to arrive (30%) – is he even going to show?
- When they don’t hear from their date the day of the date (21%) – are we still on?
- When they’re driving/getting to the date (17%) – must find parking
The Suspense is Killing Me: Dating is incredibly fun but also comes with it’s challenges too. You often wonder, will my date like me? or what will we talk about? On dates, 69% of singles are most anxious about how their date will perceive them, followed by keeping the conversation going (64%) and what their date will look like (64%).
Trial and Error: Finding the perfect date outfit can be trial and error – women are more anxious than men on dates when it comes to what they’re wearing (57% vs 51%) whose paying the bill (39% vs 29%), and what they look like (67% vs 60%). Men, however; are more likely than women to report having an anxiety attack while on a date (11% vs 8%).
Easy Breezy Coffee Date: How can singles alleviate the pressure that comes with the first date? Easy, keep the date short, sweet and casual. These are the three top date ideas singles feel less anxious over:
- A quick coffee date – short and sweet (Virtual for now, that is)
- A walk outside, or something in nature (6ft apart always)
- An activity-based date (Like bowling/mini golf -online only right now)
Tap into your Zen: Coping with anxiety can feel overwhelming at first, but with a little practice and the right tools, you can start to alleviate some of those feelings overtime. Singles have identified their best practices for coping by listening to music (81%), reading (66%), exercising (64%), and limiting their alcohol consumption (55%).
DATING FROM A DISTANCE
6ft And No Less: How has COVID-19 impacted singles and how they date? Safety comes first – 79% of singles will not date someone who doesn’t take social distancing seriously and 95% of singles have participated in some degree of social-distancing, isolation or quarantine in the last three months.
Missing Hugs Over Sex: It’s no surprise that singles are missing physical contact due to social distancing rules but it appears hugging beats out sex when asked what they miss most. Collectively, they’re twice as likely to miss hugging than sex (34% vs 17% respectively). Although men are really missing getting it on more than women (25% vs 11%).
No Kissing, No Problem: Social distancing is actually quite ideal for a considerable amount of singles (34%) who say they actually don’t miss hugging, kissing, sex, or holding hands.
Technically Speaking: Singles are turning to video chat, Facetime, and livestreaming more than ever before to remain connected from afar. Before social isolation, only 26% of singles had video chatted with a prospective date, now 60% of singles are more likely to use video chat with a potential date. Time to clean your room and set up a virtual date.
WHAT THIS MEANS FOR LOVE
There is hope people! The majority of singles (61%) believe it is possible to start a romantic relationship while in isolation.
Singles Are Getting Serious: About love that is! 40% of men and 30% of women say they’re realizing they want to take dating more seriously now despite 51% of singles saying that COVID-19 has impacted their ability to date.
Optimistic Online Daters: Love is in the air with 72% of online daters believing it is still possible to start a romantic relationship while social distancing. See for yourself, and download Plenty of Fish.
Ex Appeal: With all the extra time to think, some singles have been going down memory lane with 26% admitting to looking up their ex on social media in the last three months and 30% having spoken to an ex.
Mental Health Awareness: The global pandemic has forced people to reflect and check-in on their mental and physical wellbeing. More broadly, singles are reporting a brand new era when it comes to anxiety and mental health. 84% say it’s totally normal to suffer from anxiety, and the same amount think it should be discussed more publicly in society.
Accepting Anxiety: Everyone suffers from bouts of anxiety and it’s about time we talk about it openly. Nearly 3/4 of singles agree that if others were more open about the topic, it would make them feel less alone. When we asked singles how they’d feel if someone disclosed their feelings of anxiety – 41% say they’d be able to relate.
Meditate to Alleviate: Singles (41%) are also turning to meditation to lower the feelings of anxiety in their life with 23% of singles saying they’ve used a mediation app to help, interestingly, men are more likely than women.
- Total Singles: 2,000
- Men: 712 (36%)
- Women: 1292 (64%)
- Ages: 18-65+
- Gen Z (18-23) 16%, Millennial (24-34) 22%, Gen X (35-50) 24%, Baby Boomer (51-69) 29%, Greatest/Silent Gen (70+) 9%
- Location: United States
- Race/Ethnicity: White 65%, Black 15%, Asian 5%, Hispanic or Latino 11%, Other 2%
- Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual 84%, Bisexual 6%, Homosexual 6%, Asexual 1%, Other 3%