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PodcastSociety

Lockdown Love During Quarantine (Podcast)

307
PodcastSociety

Lockdown Love During Quarantine (Podcast)

“You can still get to know someone for the right reasons while staying halal on the virtual space…put your faith first.”

307

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“You can still get to know someone for the right reasons while staying halal on the virtual space…put your faith first.”

On this week’s TMV Podcast, Chief Editor Salim Kassam speaks to Adeem Younis, founder and CEO of SingleMuslim.com, and what it means to be single and looking for a spouse during the COVID-19 lockdowns.

To listen to the full discussion, click below:

Life under lockdown is rife with uncertainty. However, one thing that remains certain is that humans desire love and companionship, perhaps now more than ever. Since lockdown started last month there have been 340,000 global searches for dating apps, with 64% of singles admitting that they have turned to dating apps to get them through the isolation period.

When asked, the 5 main reasons for this spike are: “They hope to meet the love of their life” (33%), “Boredom” (28%), “To test the waters” (20%), “Validation” (10%), and “Loneliness” (9%).

Muslims, in particular, are now searching for love in their droves – at SingleMuslim.com, the world’s largest Islamic marriage service, we have noticed a 25% increase in usage since the lockdown began. This is despite the fact that our users can’t even meet up in person. There are a few reasons that might explain this.

I think that when you’re a single Muslim living under lockdown, possibly at home with your parents, you really start to feel how single you are. Reality hits that you really don’t want to spend the rest of your life with mum and dad, so people flock to matchmaking apps to create a new reality.

These unprecedented circumstances start to crystallise the things that truly mean the most to us. Nothing else seems to matter more these days than family, and this is perhaps prompting Muslims from around the world to start families of their own. With fewer distractions and all this free time, it makes sense that we would start to fill it with meaningful relationships with a loved one.

Instinctively, searching for love without the possibility of meeting up and cementing a relationship might seem a fruitless task. But I would argue that lockdown leads to better matches and better conversations, which ultimately leads to better marriages.

Whether we like it or not, the coronavirus shutdown has stripped almost everything away, so that the focus is just on the two of you. There are no easy payoffs, shortcuts or distractions, so what you are building is a connection that is truly authentic, and which is built on chemistry and a much deeper connection. This can be intimidating – there’s no longer a movie or a meal in-person to fuel the conversation. However, removing all other unnecessary distractions can only lead to a more organic connection between the two of you.

Messaging, rather than meeting up in person, can also often lead the conversation down more serious and meaningful paths. How many of you have texted something to someone that you wouldn’t have had the guts to say in person? Psychologists have noted that the added intimacy and comfort that one experiences when texting encourages us to reveal things we otherwise wouldn’t.

The online world also has a plethora of tools to allow you to get a deeper understanding of someone without ever having to meet them. You can share a virtual dinner date, for example, to ascertain how the conversation flows face-to-face. You can play online games with your match, to judge their temperament and filter out the sore losers. You can also try an online quiz together, to test how strong their love for the TV show Friends really is.

My advice would be that relationships are all about presence. You can be in the same room as someone, but if you’re focused on your phone or the TV and not paying attention to them, then you might as well be a thousand miles away. Too much poor-quality physical presence can be a bad thing – as seen in the spike in divorce rates in Wuhan following their two-month-long lockdown. Maintaining a strong relationship remotely is all about remaining truly present in the moments that you have together, on whatever platform that may be.

The lockdown is generating other interesting new trends. Around 60% of our new users are women, which is especially remarkable because women are generally under-represented on the online matchmaking space – in the UK 85% of the users on dating apps are men.

I hope this reflects that our platform is a safe space for women. We have a number of safety features to ensure that women feel secure when searching for their soulmate on our app, such as the ability to make certain photos private and only accessible to chosen members. We also spend a lot of time monitoring our service, so that we can remove those users who breach our safety policies and delete fake accounts.

My guess is that women are heading to matchmaking sites now in particular because the pressure of meeting face-to face is completely removed. Physical meetups can unfortunately be a daunting prospect for women for a multitude of reasons. Courting remotely may also allow women to be more sure that the person that they are connecting with is as serious about the relationship as they are, given that there is no immediate prospect to meet in person.

The pandemic lockdown has also added another layer to the search for love, given the financial uncertainty of these times. Many are struggling to make ends meet in the midst of an economic crisis, which may be enough to deter people from getting married. It is right to consider such practical matters; love is not created in a vacuum. However, I am a strong believer that no matter what, Allah will provide. As long as you do your bit by seeking out the right spouse, Allah will do the rest.

So, while lockdown has taken away an awful lot from our lives, it is also now propelling us to find love in a more sincere and authentic way. For those looking to find true love, this might just be the best time in history to find your perfect marital match and complete half your deen.

Adeem Younis is founder of SingleMuslim.Com. You can watch his TMV podcast on Lockdown Love here:

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