Illustrations by Hannah Robinson

In a culture of prolonged separation, where the prospects of seeing those closest to our hearts remain indefinite, people are showcasing creative ways of coming together – especially those with romantic interests. Over the last few weeks, we have seen accounts of singletons trying new and inventive ways to date during coronavirus; from sit-down dinners over Zoom, to Netflix viewing parties.

Some have intentionally resigned themselves until normality resumes; dating is difficult enough but having to navigate it through a global crisis makes matchmaking feel incomprehensible. But for others, this pandemic has reinvigorated our desire for connectivity, and relationships – unconditional or not – can create a sense of belonging, that may presently be missing in our lives.

The droves of adults flocking to dating apps are evidence of this sentimentality. Tinder, for instance, is experiencing record traffic, with three million people swiping on its app last weekend alone. Despite the renowned scepticism of apps like Bumble and websites like eHarmony, Covid-19 has manifested the real perks of online dating.

Since being stuck at home, time appears as a lost construct. When did a day feel so long and short, conversely? Building a profile and knowing what you want has never been easier and convenient. I have been single now for three months, but the slower pace of lockdown, has made me think, “how do I want to come across?”

There are technical aspects of online dating that enhance its function further; algorithms will automatically direct you to people with similar rapports. All hobbies aside, dating is down to compatibility, and this system aids those who are conscientious and nervous about making the first move.

These apps also link-up your social media – the most common being Instagram. Although it can come with its complications, such as the overload of information, accepting someone onto your account, can act as a precaution for progression. On average, 86 per cent of women and 65 per cent of men check out their date on Facebook ahead of a physical encounter. This can give us confidence in knowing whether people are as honest as they claim and also acts as a safety net when knowing if you feel secure speaking to that individual.

Traditionalists will continue to disregard these platforms and maintain that love should occur “naturally”. But evidence shows that they work, and the events of recent months have sought to popularise it further. Yes, they are flawed. Not all setups will turnout fruitfully. And, unfortunately hot dates have to wait (for the meantime). Admittedly, this deadly disease will have long-lasting implications for relationships. Long-distance may be more manageable than at first though, couples could come out stronger as a result, and there is even talk of a post-Covid baby boom, as we have seen after other similar moments in history.

For now, online dating has made us understand the meaning behind the human condition. Because behind someone’s appearance, that intense feeling of deep affection – for which we call love – is truly seeing. Perhaps in these extraordinary times, we need it now more than ever.