Post-Covid 19 Dating – Has the dating landscape in Ireland changed forever?

Leonie McKiernan

Reporter:

Leonie McKiernan

Casting call for new tv series on finding love in the Donegal countryside

Top tips from Ireland’s leading dating expert Feargal Harrington who says dating must now be more organised and less organic.

Dating can be tricky enough at the best of times. Throw in a global pandemic and it’s a total mine-field. Online dating sites have seen an unprecedented amount of traffic in recent months but it seems that many Irish singletons have had more bad experiences with virtual dating than good.

Dating expert Feargal Harrington, Director of Intro Matchmaking, has been keeping a close eye on dating trends since lockdown began,

“Let’s face it, isolation has been hard on everyone. But especially for those living on their own. At Intro Matchmaking we have seen a huge surge in enquiries and new clients. I think there is a motivation now that wasn’t there before because there is a genuine fear of a second wave and more isolation down the line.”

“People are really looking at their lives. They are not procrastinating any longer. They are picking back up old hobbies or starting new ones. And it’s the same for their love lives. They want to meet that special someone now and they are getting excited about dating again when the economy reopens.. but people are also realising that the dating world as we knew it is gone. A lot of us used to meet our partners in pubs and at work but for the foreseeable future dating will be more organised and less organic.

“Our research is showing that people have become more grounded and less superficial through this pandemic. They are realising what is truly important and they are more open than ever to finding love.”

At Intro Matchmaking over the past 3 months, the team have seen a rise in the amount of men enquiring about their services. Their research shows that women have been better at keeping in touch, nurturing friendships using Zoom and House Party apps. Covid-19 has lifted the taboo associated with admitting loneliness as the whole globe is experiencing loneliness in some shape or form. It has spurred people on to take a proactive step towards dating.

Company research shows that people are sick of being single and the majority have tried online but without much joy.

Feargal says, “It’s great to see people taking the bull by the horns but the usual issues around online dating persist. We have heard of catfishing, using fake profile photos and in some cases extorsion where daters have loosened their inhibitions and sent compromising imagery to would-be matches. It’s important to remain cautious online, just as you would in person.”

The team have a host of new clients who have all joined via Zoom, Whatsapp video and FaceTime over the past few weeks and they now have hundreds of singletons set up on dates for the 29th of June.

Feargal Harrington’s Top Tips for dating post Covid-19 (and obviously when restrictions are finally lifted!);

  • TRAVEL. Widen the net, be more open to meeting people outside your comfort zone, it’s not a house you’re looking to buy. 
  • PROCRASTINATION. Don’t kick the can down the road, do something, do lots of things, now. What’s meant for you WILL pass you by....It’s more likely now that you won’t meet someone in the office or in a pub. The world has changed and you have to change how you approach dating. 
  • REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS. Set a reasonable target. Is saying “I want a relationship within 12 months” reasonable? Look at the person, NOT the profession. Give people a chance, don’t have a specific type. Get rid of the word “settle” from your vocabulary. No one is better or worse than you. 
  • COMPROMISE. It’s not just about what you want in a person, you have to meet their requirements too.
  • DONT FEEL EMBARRASSED. The whole world is feeling isolated right now. There is NO SHAME in saying “I want to meet someone” If you feel you’re doing everything right and you’re still unlucky in love…Give matchmaking a try?
     

Feargal Harrington recently launched a series of dating-themed podcasts as an aid for people to get back into the dating scene featuring interviews with household names such as Brent Pope, Fergal Darcy, Derry Clarke and Ruth Scott. The podcast, which is called, ‘Is this why you’re single?, currently has 2 live episodes and is available to listen to on all main podcasting streaming service providers.