02:34 GMT25 January 2021
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    Living in lockdown has seen more people than ever turning to technology for love. In a socially distanced society, virtual dating has become the new normal. But what happens once the pandemic passes? Will the landscape of dating have changed forever, or will love conquer all – even when it includes a pandemic?

    Sputnik spoke with Martin Graff, senior lecturer of the psychology of relationships at the University of South Wales, to find out just how much the world of dating has changed.

    Sputnik: How will dating change after the pandemic has passed?

    Martin Graff: It depends, I think, a lot on our perception of safety and things and if people feel safe to start dating again. Because dating ultimately involves a degree of physical contact, so people will have to be comfortable with that. But what we've seen really with the pandemic is that there are two effects: there's the pandemic and there's the kind of the lockdown restrictions.

    And what has happened in the lockdown is that we've seen an emergence of what are called turbo relationships, or people getting together a lot quicker, perhaps, than they might. It kind of depends upon, if people are not kind of frightened of meeting somebody new, then people tend to anticipate the effects of the lockdown and maybe want to get together sooner. Alternatively, you know, those with what we call a high perceived vulnerability to disease, might be a little bit more careful about dating.

    Sputnik: Will dating behaviours be altered as COVID continues to affect the way we live?

    Martin Graff: I think as long as people are wary of the virus and the effects of that, then people might be a little bit more cautious. There is evidence also to suggest as well that different personality characteristics might have an effect there. So people who are more extroverted, for example, are less fearful of disease; people who are more open to new experiences are perhaps less fearful. So it might affect the way in which we date, but it might affect that in different ways for different people.

    Sputnik: Has the landscape of dating been changed by the pandemic for a generation?

    Martin Graff: One would hope it's not for a generation, because people have to meet, people have to reproduce, so ultimately people have to get together physically. Whether the landscape has changed, one would hope not. Again, it depends on people's perceptions of the potential danger of the virus.

    Sputnik: Does a health threat transform the way we think about and approach romantic interactions, perhaps?

    Martin Graff: Yes, I think they probably do. There is a thing called perceived vulnerability to disease. There's a scale which measures that and you know, people who are very, very careful about sort of germ aversion or you know, becoming infected might be more cautious.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    Dating, pandemic, Health
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