Expats On Pandemic Partnerships

Photo by Sean Stratton on Unsplash

Tulips are blooming, swans are doing their thing…dare we say there’s romance in the air?

In light of this, we’re diving into a topic that has some giddy- and others, at the very least, hopeful – in the fairytale city of Prague. So, we asked four different daters about their experience with love during lockdown.

Ally has unfortunately just come out of a long-distance relationship.
Kat and Mark are a happy Tinder couple who met during the winter lockdown.
John has been living with the same partner for 5 months after a few short dates.

What changes did you see in the dating scene during COVID-19?

Ally: Dating apps took over, as people couldn’t make their first move in person. With lockdown measures and everything going virtual, it’s reasonable that dating also went virtual. But I missed first dates in some cool bar or cozy restaurant, rather than making circles around Riegrovy 😀 

Kim: More guys were active on dating apps since everyone had nothing to do. Dinner dates turned into hiking dates (My advice is never go on a hiking trip on the first date! It’s not nice to be stuck with someone you’re not interested in for hours.) Drinking at parks was another alternative. It can be a bit exciting since rules are being broken when restrictions are imposed, but that’s also being irresponsible.

Patrik: Dating apps are basically the same as before, the only change is the places where you can meet. Instead of dinner or drinks, it’s parks and walks.

This sentiment was shared by John.

What are the pros and cons of dating apps for you?

Ally: I’ve mostly used them to meet people when I travel, potentially for more than friendship. I don’t consider it extremely beneficial for finding a partner, but that’s only my experience- I guess I am an old fashioned romantic. I feel sometimes that the choice is too huge, and that simply swiping left or right doesn’t seem right. It’s too accessible.

Kim: I prefer talking first on the apps, then I’ll decide whether to go on a date or not. Not speaking Czech can be a struggle so I’ve learned to text the person first to see if we can communicate well. It’s fun to use the apps, just be cautious and patient. 

Patrik: If you meet someone you can be with even if there is nothing to do, it’s a good sign for a long term relationship. The negative aspect is with the lack of personal contact at the beginning, I can’t instantly tell if I’m interested or not.

John: I recommend apps to anyone, the only negative point would be the risks associated with not knowing who the other person is- until later.

For those in relationships, how did you respond to spending a lot of time at home with your partner?

Kim: We’ve become inseparable since we met. It can get boring sometimes but I think the lockdown brought us closer together. We actually moved in after 3 months of dating and a beautiful chunky rottie is joining us in a month. 

Patrik: I’m enjoying our time together. We have a lot of time to get to know each other. As Kim said it can be boring sometimes but there is no one else I’d rather be bored with.

John: Living with someone is great, but the isolation gave rise to the need of splitting space and time, more need for alone activities.

What do you think helped your relationship?

Ally: For me it’s about what did not help. My relationship was quite strong while we were seeing each other, but living in different countries and not knowing the person for long enough before committing to doing long-distance was a downfall.

Kim and Patrik: The isolation made us get to know each other quickly. There’s still a lot more to learn from each other, but we spent a lot of time just talking, drinking and being boring together. It’s nice to have someone you can be comfortable doing fun activities with or just be glued to the couch with.

John: The pandemic itself, the isolation which restricted outside activities and meeting other people.

If we made a movie about your love life over the past two years, what would the title be?

Ally: Lost in Translation-  Good love story, only at the wrong time and in the wrong place.

Kim: Revolutionary. Because I think I’ve evolved being in this relationship I have with Patrik, but also I’ve grown and learned a lot of lessons from dating and meeting people from all walks of life 🙂 

Patrik: The Call of Love. Because Kim ditched me twice before our first date but I didn’t give up and here we are with our happy ending.

John: Finally Made It.

Photo by Ronak Valobobhai on Unsplas

Together with the current  sense of optimism, Prague Integration wants to encourage safe, responsible dating. Let’s continue to respect each other’s health and to communicate our expectations around safety.

Finally, we’ll end on a fascinating insight. When asked if meeting up in a pandemic brought up new emotions around dates, (like fear around contact for example) our intrepid hopefuls only reported the typical excitement and pre-date jitters.

Proving perhaps that where there’s love, there’s always a way.

By Marina Andreoli-Laubscher