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A Third of UK Single Daters Said ‘I Love You’ Pre-Meeting IRL

Woman in mustard-coloured sweater waving and smiling at her laptop

Sure, dating in lockdown has brought us unique challenges, but it also hasn’t diminished some basic desires. One of these is to say “I love you” for that very first time. 

It turns out the pandemic hasn’t dampened this need, despite the fact that many are exclusively dating virtually these days. 

See also: OkCupid busts out ‘relationship diverse’ cards for Valentine’s Day.

A recent survey out of the UK found that one-third of British singles have said that L word to someone they met online during the coronavirus pandemic – even before ever meeting them in-person. 

Half of the 2,000 participants of the promotional study also expressed their belief that “love at first sight” was possible, even online. 

“Dating during lockdown is really good for everyone’s mental and emotional health,” said relationship psychologist Becky Spelman in a release. “What could be more future-focused than starting a new relationship when times are difficult?”

Related: Couples are shacking up faster than ever due to COVID lockdowns.

While respondents still dreaded the same awkward silences that permeate in-person first dates, three in 10 adults found that dates are easier to arrange and are less stressful online, with many feeling they can end the session if things got too awkward. The other benefit was that online dating is lighter on the wallet, too. 

Other noted down sides to virtual dating included technical issues (like that forever-freezing screen), not being able to tell someone’s height, what shoes they wear and what the person smells like. Four in 10 participants also said they missed the physical contact of in-person dating. 

The study similarly found that it takes about four online dates before deciding whether someone is worth pursuing, with a third of the participants starting and ending the relationship without ever meeting in-person. 

See also: What kind of ex are you based on your zodiac sign.


While most common dates included movie nights (41 per cent), just over a quarter (26 per cent) watched TV programmes at exactly the same time as their partner. Other suggestions for virtual dates included playing truth or dare, or having a mini-book club. 

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