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Dating and Relationships 2021

Latest research from Core

Stephen Mooney, Research Executive

by Stephen Mooney, Research Executive

Core Research

The pandemic has had a massive impact on the dating and relationship landscape in Ireland. The current situation with Covid-19 has limited the opportunity to date due to both fear and access to the traditional dating hotspots. This limitation has meant that couples have had to find other ways to spend time together. Our new research shows that over 6 in 10 Irish couples have spent more time watching movies and TV shows through digital streaming platforms while over half have gone on more walks and hikes with their partners.  This change has been a positive for many with almost half of Irish couples (48%) feeling that being locked down with their partner has improved their relationship.

For singles living in Ireland, the pandemic has led to a drastic change in the dating landscape and increased difficulty in finding a new partner.  4 in 10 are not interesting in meeting up with anyone until they are vaccinated. This limited opportunity to date means that finding a partner is low in the list of priorities for single adults. While it is ahead of having kids, it is behind personal growth, career progression, and buying a home. Over half of single adults (56%) say that personal growth is their main priority. The pandemic has placed more importance and focus on self-improvement and development over relationships.

Many have moved to online dating through apps and websites but while online dating is considered to be inclusive, the research found that many believe it can have a negative effect on the dating world. Almost half (46%) of Irish adults say dating apps have made people more shallow, and 1 in 5 adults say that dating apps make them more lonely, rising to almost 2 in 5 18-25-year-olds, the highest of any cohort. 59% of women are more likely to be worried about getting catfished compared to 39% of men, while 49% of women have looked someone up on social media compared to 36% of men.

Further interesting insights from the dating research include:

  • 26% of single adults believe dating apps are only for young people
  • 1 in 4 singles living in Ireland feel they are well represented in the Irish media
  • 4 in 10 Irish couples have used video calls more to keep in touch with their partner
  • Over 1 in 4 couples have spent less time with their partner than they would have before the pandemic
  • Almost 1 in 5 couples feel that the pandemic has had a negative impact on their relationship

For many, Valentine’s Day is a time to celebrate with a loved one, but it is also a good time to reflect on the changing aspects of staying single, dating, and relationships. As with all our research projects, we always look at the impact of the results and in this case, delayed relationship formation will have a significant impact on household formation in the years to come.

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