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Finding love again: How the dating app scene has changed as we return to normal

Experts say more people are looking to make more meaningful connections.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Life is slowly starting to look and feel like normal again, and that means more people are getting back into the dating scene. 

However, before you start swiping on dating apps, experts say you may want to take note of some changes and new trends to post-pandemic dating to ensure you have a perfect first date. 

Wendy Strgar, a lovecologist and CEO and founder of "Good Clean Love," said more people are prioritizing their personal health and safety, especially around COVID-19. That means more dating app users are choosing to meet and mingle with fewer people at a time.

"People are concerned not only about who that person is but also who that person is around... and how many people they're hanging out with," Strgar said.

Some dating apps are even introducing a new feature, allowing people to add their vaccination status to their profiles. 

RELATED: A new reason to swipe right? Dating apps adding vax badges

Strgar said users are also choosing to spend more time getting to know their matches virtually. 

"People are now likely chatting with someone a lot longer on the app before they give them their phone number," Strgar said. "Then maybe the big date might just be a walk in the park." 

Most importantly, fewer people are looking for casual hookups. Strgar said now more than ever, people are looking to make deeper connections when they use dating apps. This is partially because of the increased loneliness people felt during COVID-19. People are also recognizing the value of having someone who can look out for them.

"I think everyone knows somebody who got pretty sick, even if they didn't get sick [with COVID-19]. So the idea of having somebody who's there for you at your back is way more meaningful." 

So how do you increase your success rate at finding a good match on an app in this new way of dating? 

It's all about being true to yourself and being transparent with your matches.

"When you're charming and endearing with who you really are, it really helps to know if this is something that could work overtime," Strgar said. "So I would say don't hesitate to put yourself out in the world if you're really looking to meet somebody because there is somebody out there who wants to meet you for who you really are." 

That could mean giving the descriptions on your dating profile more attention, instead of just focusing on the photos you post. 

As always, it's also important to be safe on every first date. Be sure to do the following things: 

  • Make sure someone you trust knows where you are and who you're with. Make sure you check in with them on occasion while on the date.
  •  Always meet your date in a public place, never at anyone's home. 
  • Drive your own car or have your own form of transportation to get to and from the date. You want an easy exit if your date doesn't turn out the way you want it.

And as a final tip to landing a good relationship, Strgar said to not be afraid to take things old school. 

"Having a long talk into the night [on the phone] is a great way to get to know somebody, and it could be on Facetime or not," Strgar said. "There's something romantic about staying on the phone for hours at a time and falling asleep together."