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SMU researcher studying dating, romance and sex during COVID-19

Dr. Maryanne Fisher wants to know the impact COVID-19 has had on dating and romantic relationships
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A researcher at Saint Mary's University wants to know what impact COVID-19 has had on dating and romantic relationships.

Dr. Maryanne Fisher says dating websites have reported a surge in users during the pandemic, even though we're required to socially distance and many typical dating spots, like restaurants and bars, have been closed. 

She believes this is an indication people have continued trying to make connections during the lockdown, and she wants to know if people's views are changing.

"So for example, imagine you are someone who is on the mating market and you're usually seeking short-term casual [relationships], and then COVID happens and you're self-isolating, what do you do," Fisher wondered.

"Do you start improving yourself to make yourself an even hotter commodity when you go out, or do you engage in some deep self-reflection and think, 'Oh my goodness, I want to change my ways and find more of a long-term stable situation.'"

And Fisher doesn't just want to study the love lives of singles.

"This is a study of everybody. We want people who are married, we want people who are not dating, we want people who are in polyamorous relationships," she told NEWS 95.7's The Sheldon MacLeod Show. "We've made it as inclusive as we can for sexual orientation and gender."

The anonymous English-language survey is open to anyone around the world over the age of 19. It takes around 20 minutes to complete and Fisher says if you're interested, you may want to fill it out in private as many of the questions are pretty personal.

The survey launched a couple of weeks ago and 750 people have already responded. 

Fisher plans to keep it open for at least 6 months. She's curious to see if attitudes shift as restrictions get lifted, and if they'll change again if we experience a second wave.




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