“Quaranflings”: Is It Possible To Date And Find Love During A Pandemic?

“Quaranflings”: Is It Possible To Date And Find Love During A Pandemic?
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Does being on lockdown mean our dating lives should be halted, too? Well, apparently not! With the help of technology and dating apps, you can still meet new people – virtually, that is. After more than a year of lockdown and social distancing measures, we are all craving for connection and even just a tiny bit of interaction.

If you’re not familiar with dating applications and how they work, here’s a crash course. Each user registers by building a profile containing their first name, age, a brief description about their personality, their hobbies and interests, and a photo. Based on those, the app will match you with others and suggest several profiles, which you can either swipe left (if you’re not interested) or swipe right if it’s a match (a.k.a., a potential candidate for your next relationship). On the app, you’ll be given a chance to get to know each other, go through the early talking stage, and pick it up from there.

The two most popular dating apps in the Philippines are Bumble and Tinder.

Megan, 25, talked to her first quarantine fling (or what netizens are calling, “quaranfling”) in October 2020.

“I wasn’t looking for a serious relationship, especially since we’re in the middle of a pandemic nga. I simply wanted someone to talk to, someone to ask about my day – super petty pero that’s the truth,” she says. “We started talking in October last year until we eventually met up last December.”

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Megan and her then-Bumble match Gio both live in Metro Manila, which made it easier for them to see each other. “At first I was hesitant because COVID-19 really is scary. But after two months of talking almost every day, we kind of built our trust and planned to meet up at my place.” After their first physical date, Megan and Gio hit it off.

“Three months later and we’re still together. We only see each other once a week, minsan wala pa, because we both have jobs, but we make it work,” Megan shares. “We call each other every day, sometimes we set Netflix dates pero sa laptop lang talaga kami manonood nang sabay. They are little things but they’re precious to us.”

According to Megan, the main difference between dating during a pandemic and doing so under normal situations is that your quality time will be immensely reduced. Therefore, no restaurant and cinema dates, no travels together, and most of the time you will only see each other through a screen. “We’re also really lucky that we both live in Metro Manila kahit papaano,” she says.

However, not all quaranflings are successful dating stories. Pat, 23, who installed Tinder on her mobile in August 2020, is currently on the talking stage with her 12th match.

“It’s so difficult to feel the connection, especially since my love languages are quality time and physical touch,” Pat shares that she does not think she could ever settle with virtual dates and building a relationship through messaging apps. “I do enjoy getting to know people like talking to them and such, but after a couple weeks, tinatamad na ako. It’s just not the same,” she adds.

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As for 25-year-old Kiara, she has funny (and equally horrific) stories to tell.

“I got my first Bumble match during the quarantine in July last year. It was with a super cute, muscley guy so naisip ko, sige swipe right na. Then we matched!” Kiara shares. “We started talking, [and it went on] for about a month. He was really cool, by the way. We followed each other on Instagram and Twitter, and eventually decided to meet up.”

The meet-up was definitely one h*ck of a story to tell, Kiara says. “So we met up, he cooked a wonderful dinner at his place. I really appreciated all his efforts for a first date.” Then he casually dropped a bomb by saying that he supports a politician whom she believes disregards basic human rights. “Nu’ng sinabi pa lang niya ‘yun, naisip ko na hindi ‘to mag-wo-work.” Kiara has been on a dating break ever since.

“Hindi madali mag-establish ng relationship during this time,” Pat says. “Lalo na if wala naman sa preference mo ‘yung long distance. We are also experiencing a lot of changes this pandemic.”

There are benefits and risks every time you go out on dates, or meet up with potential partners. Megan suggests asking yourself, are you willing to take this risk? Do you know them enough through your virtual conversations for you to trust that you can be safe with them? Have you established enough foundation to take the next step?

“If you are not sure, don’t rush yourself! Maraming nangyayari sa mundo and trust me, okay lang kahit hindi dating ang priority mo,” Megan says.

Kiara is taking this time to self-reflect. She says, “Don’t rush yourself. If you’re not ready, that’s absolutely okay! It will come when it’s the right time.”

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