Online dating significantly speeds up relationships compared to real-life romance, new study shows

Average man will say ‘I love you’ after 22 virtual dates, for women it is 30

Richard Jenkins
Wednesday 07 October 2020 15:09 BST
Virtual dates soared by 36 per cent during lockdown
Virtual dates soared by 36 per cent during lockdown (iStock)

Digital daters can tell if they have a connection with someone after just 30 seconds of a video call, a new poll has shown.

Virtual dates soared by 36 per cent during lockdown – with six in 10 single people admitting they enjoy the “new dating normal”. 

One in four will continue to keep up virtual dating even after lockdown fully ends, to screen out non-starters in the search for romance.

The study, commissioned by Virgin Media, also found that in addition to first impressions, virtual dating speeds up relationships on several accounts.

Dating from a desktop takes an average of 60 minutes, compared to 86 minutes in person.

It’s cheaper too, saving single people £18 per date, with the removal of time and cost barriers giving daters more for their money.

Relationship expert Alix Fox, who has teamed up with Virgin to create a how-to guide for online dating, said: “The idea that the average digital dater has just 30 seconds to make a great, but speedy, first impression online might seem intimidating to many.

“Successfully navigating this brave new digital world takes a little extra effort and imagination, but those are qualities that are prized in a partner.” 

The research also found that 55 per cent of 1,000 daters surveyed felt their virtual relationships blossom much faster than they would in person.

And 45 per cent are more likely to make a relationship exclusive if they’ve been on a virtual date.

A third (34 per cent) of single person are also less likely to date multiple people digitally at once than they might have done previously.

But while 44 per cent of men said they’re more likely to delete their dating apps and focus on one potential partner than they would prior to lockdown, just a quarter of women said the same.

And although men would say “I love you” after 22 virtual dates, this went up to 30 for women.

However, the research, carried out via OnePoll, found that progressing to “official” status and maintaining lasting connections online comes with its own etiquette to abide by.

Cyber daters claim to be wooed by their partner taking control of organising the date, arranging the next date before the current one has ended, and suggesting a theme such as cocktails or wine tasting.

But disinterested body language (33 per cent), poor Wi-Fi (16 per cent), eating loudly on camera (16 per cent) and going off camera too often (20 per cent) have been recognised as digital faux pas when it comes to making an impression on-screen.

Ms Fox added: "With a little practice and polish, it’s absolutely possible to make deeply meaningful, valuable, lasting connections online.”


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