Dating has changed since the pandemic hit. Fisher’s research this year has showed many single people have been getting more serious about dating this year, and various dating apps have observed similar trends toward more intentional dating among their users. Many people are more drawn to serious relationships these days, she says, and they’re being choosier about who they’re dating and more upfront about what they want.
“This pandemic has required all of us to think seriously about our lives,” Fisher tells mbg. “People are spending more time getting to know potential partners, using more honesty and transparency, and are even more likely to ask potential mates what they are looking for. Transparency is in.”
That means that more people than usual might find themselves searching for partnership this winter—and might be more likely to find it because of this new, more intentional approach to dating. Fisher says this year may look less like a “cuffing season” and more like a real coupling season.
The dating app Match, for whom Fisher serves as chief scientific advisor, has also observed a general shift in dating app usage. Traditionally dating app usage is higher at the start of the year, according to Match, but this year more people were swiping in July than on Valentine’s Day. And they say this higher dating app traffic has stayed steady even as we head into cuffing season.
And emotionally speaking, this year has been an absolute roller coaster for many people. The sweet comfort of a loving relationship—and a warm body to curl up with at night—might be more appealing than ever this winter.
Add all that to the usual biological factors fueling the annual cuffing season, too: The brain’s pineal gland secretes more melatonin in the winter, Fisher explains, making people more sluggish and enticed by the idea of staying on the couch. Testosterone also tends to rise in November, making people want more sex, which can get those bonding hormones flowing, she adds.
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