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Finding love in quarantine: How dating is going virtual

One expert says virtual dating is forcing people to get to know one another first before rushing into things.

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - Going on a date or meeting someone seems impossible during the "stay at home" order, but many people are getting creative virtually.

“I’m a big fan of meeting women the old fashion way,” said Jeff Handline, who uses the dating app Hinge.

With bars and restaurants closed, Handline has been forced to find a new way to date.

Last weekend, instead of texting, his date and he watched a movie together through FaceTime.

“It was definitely different,” he said. “Obviously, I would love to go see a movie with somebody in person but in these circumstances, you got to do what you got to do.”

Local dating expert Amy Owens, who owns Blue Ribbon Singles, said it’s actually a great time to strike up a relationship.

“Use this time like spring training,” Owens said. “Do the background work to get the information you need so that way when the game starts, you are ready.”

She said virtual dating is also forcing people to get to know one another first before rushing into things.

“You have the ability to take your time and to get to know people and not just be dazzled by the physical chemistry,” Owens said.

In fact, online dating has surged in the past few months. The dating app Bumble reported a 21 percent increase in messages and Tinder said it had three billion swipes in just one day.

Collin Charlebois is an active Bumble user. He said he prefers to take things slow before jumping into a video chat—which is something he said has created stronger connections.

“We have been texting and snapchatting. You get a better feel for the person,” he said.

Soon, many people like Handline and Charlebois, hope to take their virtual dates out on real dates.