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Has the pandemic changed the way we love? About 98 per cent of young India says yes, and believes that virtual romance in totally incomparable to real life romance. 

For the past year and a half, as a large majority of us have stayed indoors to stay safe, the starry-eyed world of love and romance got a reality check too! A recent survey conducted by India’s top fragrance brand ITC Engage and global market research leader IPSOS, attempted to decode the rules of romance in the new normal that we are adapting ourselves to and the findings offered some interesting insights.

While many singles seeking new love felt lockdowns have made it very hard to find a partner in these trying times of the pandemic, it has been totally the other way around for couples who were already together as the isolation helped them find innovative ways of connecting with each other. 

These and many others were the findings from a first of its kind “Love Survey 2021", which offered a fresh perspective on love and romance in the times of lockdown. A vast majority of respondents – as much as 98 per cent – felt that virtual romance is far from real-life romance as it lacks authenticity, is casual in nature and can even prove to be risky. 

Today, large gatherings which used to be fertile hunting grounds for new alliances to be formed in the past have completely vanished and social interactions are limited to comfort bubbles. As a result, finding new love is proving to be a major challenge. 

About 85% of the respondents, understood the meaningful aspects of their relationships.
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About 85% of the respondents, understood the meaningful aspects of their relationships.

Has the pandemic changed the way we love? About 98 per cent of young India says yes, and believes that virtual romance in totally incomparable to real life romance. 

For the past year and a half, as a large majority of us have stayed indoors to stay safe, the starry-eyed world of love and romance got a reality check too! A recent survey conducted by India’s top fragrance brand ITC Engage and global market research leader IPSOS, attempted to decode the rules of romance in the new normal that we are adapting ourselves to and the findings offered some interesting insights.

While many singles seeking new love felt lockdowns have made it very hard to find a partner in these trying times of the pandemic, it has been totally the other way around for couples who were already together as the isolation helped them find innovative ways of connecting with each other. 

These and many others were the findings from a first of its kind “Love Survey 2021", which offered a fresh perspective on love and romance in the times of lockdown. A vast majority of respondents – as much as 98 per cent – felt that virtual romance is far from real-life romance as it lacks authenticity, is casual in nature and can even prove to be risky. 

Today, large gatherings which used to be fertile hunting grounds for new alliances to be formed in the past have completely vanished and social interactions are limited to comfort bubbles. As a result, finding new love is proving to be a major challenge. 

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According to the survey, about 80 per cent of single and casual daters are finding it tough to form alliances and initiate new relationships. Further, about 75 per cent of respondents felt that starting new relationships has become difficult due to lockdowns.

The youth has noticed a change in the very perception of love. During the pandemic, the respondents felt that the word romance is being linked more to negative emotions than positive. For instance, a drop was seen in the association of ‘romance’ to the words ‘being together’ and ‘chemistry’ by 23 per cent and 14 per cent respectively.

On the contrary, its association with negative emotions like ‘difficult’, ‘anxiety’ and ‘frustrating’ have increased by 25 per cent, 15 per cent and 20 per cent respectively during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

But, the change is being felt more in metro cities than non-metros. The new rules of virtual engagement were not being taken well by couples – about 76 per cent respondents from metro cities felt that social distancing us a major hindrance to romance today. In non-metros, about 36 per cent respondents felt that social distancing is not a hindrance to romance these days.

 

During the pandemic, the respondents felt that the word romance is being linked more to negative emotions than positive. For instance, a drop was seen in the association of ‘romance’ to the words ‘being together’ and ‘chemistry’ by 23 per cent and 14 per cent respectively.
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During the pandemic, the respondents felt that the word romance is being linked more to negative emotions than positive. For instance, a drop was seen in the association of ‘romance’ to the words ‘being together’ and ‘chemistry’ by 23 per cent and 14 per cent respectively.

The lockdown is time for serious relationships and long-term commitments for the young generation. About 63 per cent of respondents believe in long-term relationships and did not want to settle for casual flings. But, about half the respondents form metros also felt that romance in the virtual world is casual and flirtatious, making it hard to find true love.

46 per cent people went a step further and said this virtual romance can actually prove to be dangerous, as you don’t really know who you are engaging with. About 50 per cent of all the respondents felt that this virtual romance is only meant for those who are shy and introvertish in real life.

Even as finding new love was a tricky subject for first timers, the lockdown came as a blessing in disguise for numerous couples who finally found time for each other minus the distractions of the outside world. The isolation caused by lockdowns and social distancing actually helped 85 per cent of the respondents understand the meaningful aspects of their relationship. 

For another 84 per cent of respondents, the lockdown helped them find new and innovative ways of connecting with their partners, which was a very welcome change from the boring routines they were caught in.

Engage has always celebrated the language of love and the evolving expression of romance and this survey is another attempt to discover the changed attitude of behaviour of young India towards romance in this new normal that we are all slowly adapting to. 

The qualitative survey was carried out through a set of candid questions asked to 1199 young men and women aged between 18 and 35 years in December 2020. The respondents were living in both metro and non-metro cities and came from diverse backgrounds. It was conducted by IPSOS Research Private Limited.

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