Lockdown…A Time For Love?

By: Helen Fisher

We weren’t built to live 24/7 with a lover.  For millions of years men regularly set off to hunt, sometimes for days.  And women went gathering and often visited friends or family in another camp for weeks.  We are a nomadic species—built to leave home regularly for adventures of all kinds.  So being cooped up during this pandemic requires resourcefulness, particularly if you are single and used to stepping out. 

    Oddly, however—this nasty virus has given you some perks: foremost, time to date.  Even if you are working at home, you won’t be dressing, commuting or meeting friends after office hours. 

    And you have something meaningful to talk about: this disease.  The chit-chat of most first meetings is gone; instead you are inclined to trade stories of fear and hope.  This self-disclosure spurs intimacy, love and commitment.  (And psychologists report that men are just as likely to reveal their innermost feelings as women).  So during this lockdown, you might get to know vital things about a potential partner fast.  That’s a plus.

     Moreover, sex is, at least temporarily, out.  When you meet in person, you’re obliged to navigate this nether world.  “Do I kiss him?”  “Should I take her hand?”  “What do I do if they invite me back to their pad?” You might have some sexy conversations…but real sex is of the table.

      Money is off the table too.  On a regular first date, you are required to negotiate who pays: “Should we meet in a cheap café or an expensive bar?”  “Should I offer to split the bill?”  Nope: who pays is history.

     And fortunately, you have a new tool for courting: video chatting.  From data collected on 6,004 Match members over the weekend of April 12, only 6% said that they used video chatting before Covid-19 hit.  Now 69% of these singles are open to video chatting with a potential partner.  And a third already have someone with whom they’d like to talk via video.  

But when using this technology, I recommend you do two things: 

Foremost: after you have actually seen and talked with nine potential partners, stop.   And get to know at least one of these people better. The brain is not well-built to absorb a host of options.  Indeed, about nine is max.  Then we burn out; faced with too many alternatives we choose none. Moreover, the more you get to know someone, the more you are inclined to like them.   

     Second: think of reasons to say “yes.”  The brain is designed to remember the negative, not the positive.  Forget that he likes cats and you like dogs.  Focus on what you do like about him or her.  But remember: these are not dating apps—they’re introducing apps.  The only real algorithm is your own brain.  You must ‘show up’ for these video chats.

      Oddly, video chatting has another benefit: it’s slowing down the courtship process—accelerating a current trend I call Slow Love.  And data shows that the longer you court and the later you marry, the more likely you are to build a happy long-term partnership.  In fact, I’ve come to realize, (from my brain scanning studies), that romantic love can be sparked instantly; but feelings of trust and attachment take time to develop. 

      So this pandemic has created a new stage in the courtship process: video chatting.  And I think it will continue after this lockdown ends.  Why? Because it has some genuine benefits: With video chatting, not only can you weed out non-starters before you meet in person—enabling you to save time and money, as well as kiss fewer frogs.  But you can get to know potential partners more slowly, a natural process in the brain that builds trust and attachment.  Now’s a perfect time to let Cupid do his job.

Everything you need to know about Vibe Check

Tried Vibe Check yet? Our latest video chat feature recently launched, fueling members’ cravings to chat and see someone live right in the app. Learn the ins and outs of how it works: 

Who can I Vibe Check with?

You can Vibe Check with any eligible Match member in the app and on desktop. To be eligible, a member simply needs to accept the community terms and conditions. You also must have each sent a message or a like to each other. 

Where can I find Vibe Check within the app?

You can find the feature in your message view from Inbox. Look for the black video icon at the bottom left corner, next to the message bar. 

Is Vibe Check free?

Yes! We know everyone is missing out on social interactions right now, so we’ve made this feature free for all Match members. All you have to do is be in a conversation with someone.

How do you initiate Vibe Check?

It’s easy! All you have to do is tap on the video icon in your message view with another member.

Will Vibe Check be offered after stay-at-home orders are lifted? 

Yes! While this feature is great for staying connected while social distancing, there are other benefits to initiating a Vibe Check. For example, before meeting up with someone in person. We know going on an in-person date requires time, money and effort. A quick Vibe Check is a great way to assure you click before making plans to meet face-to-face. 

Is there a time limit on how long you can Vibe Check with someone?

Nope, no time limit! Feel free to chat as long or as little as you feel comfortable. 

Can you deny a Vibe Check?

Absolutely. It works just like a phone call. You can accept or decline any incoming Vibe Check. 

Is Vibe Check available on the Match app?

Vibe Check is available on iOS and Android, as well as desktop. 

Can I Vibe Check more than once with the same person?

Absolutely! You can Vibe Check as many times as you want with someone. In fact, we think this is a great (and safe) way to get to know someone before exchanging phone numbers or meeting in person. 

What if I experience something inappropriate during a Vibe Check call? What do I do?

We hope that our members are respectful towards one another and follow the rules, but we know things can happen. If you do experience any inappropriate behavior, there are two ways to report it:  

  • You can tap on the Report button on the bottom left hand corner of the call screen. This will immediately end the call and block the user from being able to see or contact you. You’ll then be prompted to provide details that will be sent directly to our Care team. 
  • After the call, you can go to the member’s profile, tap on the three dots at the top right and select “Report.” You’ll then be prompted to provide details that will be sent directly to our Care team. 

I don’t want just anyone on Match to be able to video chat with me. Can I opt out?

It’s important to note that the only members allowed to video chat with you are ones you’ve previously matched with (i.e. you’ve both exchanged likes and/or messages). So rest assured you won’t be getting Vibe Checks from any random faces. If you’re still not interested in video chatting with your matches, we’ll be allowing you to opt out of the feature entirely in the next few weeks. Stay tuned! 

So what are you waiting for? Now that you’ve got all the details, it’s time to get vibing! 

Vibe Check is available on desktop and the Match app. Make sure you have the latest version of the app for your iOS or Android device. 

10 Tips for Mastering Video Dates

By: Bela Gandhi, Dating Expert & Smart Dating Academy Founder

The scare of COVID-19 has taken over the planet and quickly changed our everyday routines. Unfortunately, dating isn’t an exception. While it’s evident that going out for dinner and a movie is currently out of the question, there’s a bright side. You can now date more, date better and cheaper than ever!

Here are 10 simple steps: 

1) Embrace a virtual date: Forget about the in-person first dates! Skyping, FaceTime, Zoom and video platforms have quickly become the “new normal.”

2) Choose the right backdrop: Pile of dirty clothes? Make sure those are out of the frame. Just like the ambiance of a restaurant can set the tone of a date, so can where you sit in your house. Choose a space that’s clean, well-decorated and, most importantly, well-lit.

3) Dress accordingly: Get ready just like you would for an actual date. Ladies, get out of the yoga clothes and put your berry lip on. Guys, grab a comb and clean shirt. Yup, I said it.

4) Don’t forget to do a video and sound check: This is a great way to avoid any technical difficulties during the actual date. It also allows you to see what you’ll look like in the camera and test out your facial expressions. (No RBF!) 

5) Get something to sip on: Make your favorite drink – whether it’s a cocktail, mocktail or tea – so it feels like a real date. It will also give you something to do with your hands if you feel nervous.

6) Prepare a few questions: Having great questions to ask in your back pocket is always a good idea, whether you’re meeting online or in person. 

7) Stay positive: It might be tempting to discuss the gloom and doom that’s going on around us, but don’t let this dominate the conversation. You want the other person to walk away feeling happy and excited, not like they just watched a depressing news segment. 

8) Timing is everything: Remember that a successful FaceTime can be as little as 20-30 minutes. So don’t feel you have to stay on the phone all night in order to call it a success.

9) Schedule another virtual date: If all goes well, don’t be afraid to tell them you’d like to “meet” again. You can stick to another easy FaceTime, or plan an activity, like cooking via Skype. 

10) Plan for the future: You’re not going to be stuck at home forever. Keep each other excited by discussing what activities or restaurants you’d like to enjoy together when you can finally meet in person.

Use this extra time at home to your advantage – put yourself out there and open your mind the possibility of making a real connection. I think that’s something we all need right now. If you have additional questions, visit Dating While Distancing or call our free hotline at 1-888-302-6224.  If you’d like to work with Bela at Smart Dating Academy, and/or download their FREE guide called “7 Clues You’re Dating a Narcissist” go to www.smartdatingacademy.com.  This will ensure you fix your picker while you date!  Or follow them on IG @smartdatingacademy. 

Dating While Distancing

Rachel DeAlto, Chief Dating Expert

The world has changed seemingly overnight and with social distancing and isolation being the new normal, singles have been posing the question – do I still try and date?

Yes! 100%. We humans have a biological desire and need for companionship. Even a global pandemic doesn’t stop that. The trick is to look at dating differently. We are kicking off a new blog series, Dating While Distancing, to support singles during this time. We will talk to success couples who made long distance work and dating experts talking to daters every day about their struggles sharing tips and tricks to make virtual dating fun and effective. Just as students are now being required to look at learning in a new way, singles need to rethink how they date.

How do we do that? I have some ideas.

  1. Be more mindful with your profile. We talk about your profile a lot, but I know most daters just want to get rolling and end up not really paying much attention to what they write. Heck, half the time people barely write anything at all. Turns out, when you can’t really go anywhere, you have plenty of time go through your profile! Get intentional about who you are looking for and what you offer. Take some new pics outdoors (and 6ft away from anyone else). Review your profile from the perspective of your ideal partner – does anything strike you as off putting?
  2. Bringing courtship back. If people can fall in love blindly in a pod, you can connect with someone through screens until you can meet in person. I’ve always been a proponent of getting offline as soon as everyone feels comfortable, but that just isn’t feasible right now – so we pivot! Create coffee dates and happy hours over Facetime or Zoom. Talk on the phone. Send funny memes. Ask questions to really get to know each other. While the physical is important, real relationships are built on a foundation of emotional intimacy, and that has not been cancelled!
  3. Get creative with conversations. One of the benefits of being behind a screen is that some conversations are actually less awkward! One of my favorite list of questions are the well-known “36 Questions to Fall in Love.” You don’t have to go through the entire list with every potential suitor (uh, that’s a LOT of love), but pick and choose some as a conversation starter (or propeller). They range from fun to deep, but all are great for getting to know someone.
  4. Don’t overdo the convos though. In “normal” life we have a lot going on! You have work to go to, the gym, events, etc. Now? Not so much. That does not mean it’s a good idea to spend every waking moment talking to your new paramour. You can still get out of conversations by having to go do something, ie. Walk the dog, feed a kid, call your boss, workout. Limit initial video dates to 45 minutes to an hour. Don’t text nonstop all day. Leave some room for mystery.
  5. Get ready for video. These are still first dates! Even if they are virtual. Put yourself together (at least from the waist up) as if you are going on an in person first date. Find somewhere in your space with a clean background (no one needs to see you haven’t been keeping up with your laundry) and good lighting. Position the camera at least 2 feet away if you can (you can always prop your phone on something and find a flattering angle before you start.

We at Match are here for you as we all learn to navigate a new path. Have questions? Let us know!

The New Dating Mine Field: Politics

Dr. Helen Fisher

We are walking billboards of who we are—advertising our “mate value” with every word and deed we reveal to a potential romantic partner.  And these days, Singles want to know more about you than just your favorite tune, movie or exercise routine:  they want to know your politics.  Political tribalism is seeping into the dating scene. 

          Since 2010, Match has conducted an annual national poll of single Americas known as Singles In America.   Yearly, we ask some 200 questions to a sample of 5,000+ Singles in a representative sample of Singles Included are those aged 18 to 71+, of every region and every major ethnic group and sexual orientation.  We looked at our results over the past five years, we found a wealth of data on how Singles are navigating the great divide: Republicans versus Democrats. 

Lines are being drawn. 

In 2015, 78% of singles said they would date someone across the political aisle.  This reduced to 72% in 2017; then plummeted to 52% in 2019—a 26% decrease in political tolerance since Trump was elected.  Moreover, 24% of Singles want to know your political views before the first date; and 98% want to know your political leanings before things get serious. 

Political apathy is declining

Where 84% of singles in 2017 would date someone who had no opinion on key issues, in 2019 72% would date someone with no opinions—a 12% reduction in tolerance.   Moreover, 85% of singles in 2017 would date someone who was not registered to vote, while only 68% in 2019 would date someone who didn’t vote—a 17% decline.  Singles want to talk politics too—98% of them, to be exact.  And, interestingly, 49% want a partner who will discuss both sides. 

Today’s Singles are practicing political civility 

In 2017, 45% of our unattached said they would try to understand those with differing political perspectives; 40% would politely disagree; and 26% would just change the subject. 

Here’s the good news:  36% of singles report that, in their past, they had fallen madly in love with someone with very different political views.  And 73% of these would do it again!  I’m not surprised.  My colleagues and I have put dozens of lovers into the brain scanner (using fMRI), and these experiments clearly show that happy partners are able to overlook the negative aspects of their beloved to focus on the positive: what’s known as “positive illusions.”  Love beats politics in the brain.  Chaucer got it right: “Love is blind.”

Passion & Politics: Match Expands Profiles to Elevate the 2020 Conversation

Politics, like love, is far from black and white. And with today’s political landscape, singles are now more focused than ever on finding someone who shares their similar view of the world. In fact, we found that singles are 26% less likely to date across party lines than before the 2016 election.

With this in mind, we’ve rolled out two new profile updates designed to help singles better identify their political affiliation and highlight the issues that matter most to them. After all, 98% of singles want a partner who will talk politics (2019 Singles in America), so here’s how we’re helping to start the conversation: 

  • More labels to choose from: Members can now select from one of nine political view options for their profile, including six new choices not previously available. From “apolitical” or “independent” to “moderate” or “fiscally conservative, socially liberal,” singles are encouraged to pick the modern viewpoint they most identify with.
  • Issues that matter: A new open-ended question also allows members to share the specific political issues they’re most passionate about. After all, when singles look at someone’s top social issues rather than their party, they’re more likely to find common ground for fostering a romantic connection.Spoiler alert: one in three singles have been in love with someone with different views on social issues, and a whopping majority (73%) would do it again.

Ready to share your stance? Edit your profile to include the views and issues that speak to you.

Introducing: Date Check-In

Feeling safe is a priority for our members, and our new in-app feature was designed with just that in mind. Introducing Date Check-In: an automated message that helps keep your friends and family informed while you’re on a date.

Gone are the days of having to text all your best friends individually every time you plan a new date (we’ve all done it!). With Date Check-In, you simply give us the details and we handle the outreach, giving you more time to prep and pamper for the big day. And who doesn’t want that?

How it works:

It all starts with your trusted contacts. By selecting the Date Check-In icon (upper right corner of each Match conversation), you can opt-in and add a name and phone number for up to three friends or family members.

Once your trusted contacts agree to participate in Date Check-Ins via text, they will receive automatic updates when you schedule a date. This will include the day, time, location and name of the person with whom you’re going out with.

At the start of your date, Match will send you a text to see how things are going. If all is well, no need to respond. If at any point in the date you do feel uncomfortable, you can reply YES, alerting us to notify your trusted contacts immediately.

Date Check-In is the first of many features we’ll be rolling out as part of our evolving Safety Center. Stay tuned!

Reminder: Date Check-In is not a replacement for emergency services, nor a replacement for using your best judgement. If you ever feel you are in immediate danger or need emergency assistance, dial 911 immediately.

As always, you can opt out of using the Date Check-In feature at any time by sending a text with the word STOP. Replying STOP will cancel all of your check-ins, and remove you if you are serving as a trusted contact for anyone else.

FAKE NEWS…and the real story of love in the digital age

Dr. Helen Fisher

The Washington Post recently proclaimed that “The US is in a Crisis of Love.” Many Americans agree—currently regarding America’s singles as commitment-phobes who are retreating to their bedroom computers to duck romance and attachment. Really? I and my colleagues at Match wanted to see if this was true. So in our 9th annual survey, known as Singles in America, we polled a representative sample of 5,000+ adult singles of all ages, backgrounds, sexual orientations and regions of the country to get to the real scoop.

Indeed, it’s fake news: 57% of singles report that they seek romance; and 60% want to make a life together–while only 9% want to “date casually.”

Today’s singles are being smart about love too. Some 31% say they first want to build self-acceptance—a good component of a healthy partnership. And one out of three want to get their finances in order before cupid strikes.  Moreover, more than half of young singles have created a dating profile on a dating site or app.  But rather than just looking at photos, then carelessly pursuing “him” or “her,” 68% say they assiduously assess a potential partner’s profile.  Few are willing to spend their precious time, money and energy pursuing a romantic dead end for very long either.  Instead, after about four months of dating someone, many launch the DTR conversation: “Where are we headed?” And 33% depart if their partner doesn’t want to have the conversation.

But today’s singles are slow and careful. They don’t want to “catch feelings” until they are ready—thus fueling an impressive new social trend, what I call “Slow Love.” Some 76% cautiously begin a partnership as “just friends.”  Then they slowly become friends-with-Benefits to see if they are compatible between the sheets—another important part of most relationships.  Even later, they inform friends and kin of their budding relationship and embark on an “official first date.” And only after a long stretch of living together, do they wed–often some six years after meeting. Where marriage used to be the beginning of a partnership, today it’s the finale. 

I’m impressed—because academic data clearly show that the longer you court and the later you wed, the more likely your marriage will last. Surely, courtship is changing with changing times.  But love is not dead. It’s a primordial brain system that will endure as long as we survive as a species.  And today’s singles—particularly our young—are taking love seriously and proceeding with elegant sanity.  Bravo to them.   

Check out our 9th Annual Singles in America Survey HERE.

Closest Thing To A Modern Day Playbook

It’s 2019 and the rules of dating have changed. While technology has made love easier than ever for millions, it’s also brought its own questions into the process. From who pursues whom to “how do I respond to this message,” the game is far from black and white. And though there are thousands of modern dating blogs out there, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to finding your person. This is where we come in.

Introducing AskMatch: A team of dedicated Dating Coaches offering members one-on-one phone sessions to discuss the ins and outs of dating, both online and off. Whether you need some expert guidance, actionable tips or even just a listening ear, our coaches are in your corner with honest advice tailored to your specific questions and experiences.

Match is the first dating app to provide this service, furthering our mission to create real human connections that go beyond just an app on your phone.

“We want to break out from behind the screen and get to know our members,” says Katie Wilson, Match’s Head Dating Coach. “Members will have the support they need from their coach as they navigate dating in general, not just online.”

Our coaches have spoken with thousands of single men and women, so in addition to providing the inside scoop on dating, they offer expert advice on everything from sending the perfect message to getting over a breakup.

 “We’ve heard it all,” confirms Wilson, “so we can offer you a supportive sounding board and straight-forward advice, no matter what you’re going through.”

In the NYC or Chicago area? Try AskMatch for free as we bring personalization back to dating. [Coming soon nationwide.]

Spring Spike: How to Rejoin the Dating Scene this Season

Whether you’re back on the market after a breakup or are just getting serious about dating following a busy winter, a new season provides the perfect time to get your dating life off to a fresh start. And what better time than now? With the snow and ice beginning to melt away, spring inspires singles to embrace the sunshine and warm up to new possibilities.

We caught up with Rachel DeAlto – celebrated relationship expert and media personality – on her top tips for rejoining the dating scene.

  • Learn from the past: While we’re often encouraged to just “forgive and forget,” the past can actually help us prepare for the future. People have preferences for certain traits and characteristics, and you should be cognizant of what did and did not work in previous relationships. This helps you make informed decisions about which traits to look out for and which to avoid.
  • Set your intentions: Before racing off to your first date, figure out the type of romance you’re looking for. Maybe it’s a committed relationship with a long-term plan; maybe it’s just a plus one to attend all those upcoming weddings with. While it’s great to be open-minded, it’s important to have at least some clear goals for what you’re looking for and why. These can not only keep you motivated and moving through the inevitable highs and lows of dating, but also ensure you don’t settle.
  • The art of multi-dating: You read that right. Go on a maximum of two to three dates with different people per week. While it might be tempting to turn every day into date night, dating shouldn’t become your fulltime job. You still need time for yourself.
  • Scheduling the next date: Give it at least a couple of days between two dates with one person. There can be a rush to love where you want to see each other as much as possible, but keep in mind that the hottest fires burn out the fastest. Let it breathe.

According to DeAlto, there’s no green light that goes on when you’re ready to date. So, pay attention to your mindset and be true to what you want as you get back out there.