It’s hard to find a Gen Z who is single and available and who has yet to give a dating app a go. These days, getting picked up at a bar or even meeting someone special through friends and family seems like a pipe dream. 

Just like most people in their 20s, I am an active user of popular dating apps like Tinder and Coffee Meets Bagel. This was particularly so during the circuit breaker, where I spoke to many different guys online to stave off boredom. 

The first few weeks went by pretty quickly and I found it easy to maintain conversations. It helped that there was no pressure to meet up since we were unable to do so. 

However, things changed after a couple of weeks and it became clear that dating app fatigue had set in for all of us, with some guys telling me that they’d be staying off dating apps after we’d matched. 

I’d tried going on a virtual date with a guy I’d been talking to, Max*, but it was just so awkward. Unlike a traditional date, where you, say, eat and then watch a film together, all we could do was focus on each other and I felt like it was just too intense for a first date. At one point, his camera froze, so he spent about five minutes trying to reconnect. The pause kind of killed the mood.

This made me realise just how important physical contact and time spent together are in dating, especially at the start when two people are getting to know each other. Even though I wasn’t looking for a relationship per se, I realised that the circuit breaker wasn’t the right time to try and embark on one with someone new, so I decided to focus on myself instead during the remainder of the time. 

When Phase 2 started, I got back on the app and reconnected with some of the guys that I was previously chatting with. I most recently spoke to *George and we’ve agreed to meet for dinner to get to know each other, but while I’m excited about the prospect of dressing up and going on a proper date, I’ve learnt to be more realistic about where things could potentially go.

Dating in the time of Covid-19 means we’ve had to adjust our expectations on relationships (and on everything else in life, for that matter). It doesn’t help that I now am extra cautious about meeting new people now since community cases are currently on the rise. 

But I’m not complaining–attempting to date during the circuit breaker made me more aware of what I want in a relationship and I’ve learnt to enjoy my own company a little more. It has also taught me to slow down and enjoy the process of getting to know someone else better.

This article was first published in Cleo.