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More Americans seeking long-term relationships as pandemic changes dating scene

Couple in cafe holding each other's hand
Posted at 1:49 PM, Dec 29, 2022

A new survey from Match shows the pandemic has changed dating like never before.

The survey shows 84% of singles say they prefer casual dates over wine and dines, expanding that more people are taking an honest, introspective approach to build relationships over time.

That introspection extends to relationship expectations as well as 49% of people who took the survey said they had fallen in love with someone they were not initially attracted to, up from 38% over the last decade. The survey found 53% said they would be willing to start a relationship with someone who lives more than three hours away, showing an increased willingness to make sacrifices for the right person.

“There is someone who I know is on my side,” said Jake Berres, speaking about his girlfriend of seven months, Courtney Ambrose.

Berres and Ambrose met through a mutual friend earlier in 2022 and quickly hit things off. They said the relationship feels different than previous ones they have been in.

“I’ve just never felt so on the same page and on the same wavelength,” said Ambrose.

The same seems to go for couples who started dating before the pandemic and are still together.

“I also think [the pandemic] taught us how to read each other better,” said Rachel Althoff alongside her boyfriend of eight years, Andy Gibbs. “I’m sure we had some fights along the way, but we came out of it and if we can do that, then I truly believe there’s not much we can’t get through.”

According to the Match survey, 74% of singles said they were looking for a partner who wants to marry, the second year in a row that number was higher than pre-pandemic

And for the first time, things like emotional maturity, comfort in communicating needs and wants, and trust all ranked above physical attractiveness in qualities people looked for in a partner.

“I think once we were shifted into a space where we had to decide who was in our circle, who it was safe to hang out with, it forces you to evaluate who am I willing to take these risks for?” said Dr. Eric French, a psychiatrist and founding member of MindSpa, a center for an innovative approach to mental health in Colorado

French says when we are forced to spend time with ourselves, maturation is inevitable.

“The pandemic was a trauma,” French said. “We fear pain and adversity, but we need to disconnect from that concept and understand that any time adversity gets high, we’re about to learn something and grow.”