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Love in the time of Gen Zs

by RepublicAsia

IN THIS ERA of technology and convenience, matchmaking or dating has been placed in the palms of young Filipinos in their early 20s. This means that ways to find a suitable partner are within their reach.

When the nightmare of the pandemic struck in 2020, it reflected a metaphorical slash-and-burn lifestyle marked by rapid and destructive changes—dating became challenging. Dinner dates, meet-ups during Valentine’s Day, ‘harana,’ and ‘hatid-sundo’ gestures disappeared. The traditional ‘panliligaw’ was replaced by online communication through video calls, online messaging, texting, and even dating apps. This shift has persisted and has been adopted in the present year. Today, the question is, “How do Gen Zs find love in this era?” 

Two cents on dating apps

Ella, a 22-year-old from Baguio, is open to connecting with people online as it is easier that way. 

“Before I met my boyfriend, I often relied on dating apps and social media platforms to connect with people. It is a convenient way to explore any possible love interests,” she shared. 

As for Keneth, a 21-year-old student, he is up for any means of finding a partner. 

“I use dating apps, entertain some DMs, and sometimes getting to know someone who was personally introduced by a friend,” he said. 

Gen Z is curious and adventurous. As the dating pool grows every year, they are most likely the ones to navigate its waters. In a Stanford study by Rosenfeld et al. (2019), conventional methods of finding a partner have diminished since World War II, while the popularity of online dating has surged in recent years. 

Apps and websites Gen Z use

Along with the availability of dating apps at our fingertips, there are also websites that most of us are aware of. 

“I used a website named NearGroup back in 2018-2019. Meeting strangers who also lived in my hometown through the websites likely added interest to me. I got fascinated with how these websites can bring together people who are geographically close to me but might then never have crossed paths,” said Aezel, a 21-year-old student.

“I also tried using Omegle, a website where I can chat anonymously with anyone around the world. There is also a feature where I can put my interests and find my match, making the experience more fit to my preferences,” she added.

On the other end, Ella and Kenneth share an interest in using dating apps and social media platforms.

“Bumble and Instagram are my top choices when it comes to connecting with new people,” Ella said.

“I use Messenger, Instagram and Bumble,” Keneth said.

Swipe left for marriage, swipe right for fun

Gen Zs are not new to the world of dating: they know what they want and what they don’t want. It is important to know where they stand. It’s all fun and games until someone asks if you are dating to marry. Ella believes in enjoying the present moment and the experience dating offers her, especially for her personal growth.

“I believe that relationships are already valuable in themselves without the need for a lifelong commitment,” she emphasized. 

Meanwhile, meeting new people, having someone whom you can share love with, and having a person with the same interests as you to enjoy life are what Gen Zs subscribe to. Keneth agrees with this notion about his dating life, “I am not a date-to-marry type of person. I am more into enjoying the process and going with the flow. For now, I should say I do it just for fun.” 

For Aezel, dating used to be about marriage. However, her perspective changed as she grew, and dating for her became more about exploration and growth. “I am not sure if the person who I date is ready for marriage or if I am even ready for marriage itself,” she said. 

Store of convenience 

Some may ask if it is hard or convenient to date in the present day as a young adult. As part of the Gen Z culture, it is safe to say that Gen Zs always try to utilize the resources they are given; yet they are creatively romantic and child at heart, hence the commitment and marriage standpoints.

The era of technology has become the empire of love for Gen Z. It offers easier ways to meet potential partners, having so many options with a click of their fingers—it is all about the convenience. 

Aezel agrees that dating is much easier today. “With just a few clicks, I can browse through profiles and initiate conversations from the comfort of my own home. Also, online dating offers flexibility in terms of time and location, making it easier for busy individuals like me to fit dating into my schedules.”

Despite the convenience, Ella holds her guard when using dating apps.  “People only present a curated version of themselves on social media, which can make it challenging to get to know someone for who they truly are,” she warned.

With reports from Cybil F. Castillo
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