98% of India believes a virtual romance is incomparable to real one


New Delhi, Aug 3 (IANSlife) Everyone loves a love story. But when it comes to matters of the heart, every generation comes with its own set of rules of engagement. From courtship to choosing to walk up to the altar — there are a lot of said and unsaid ‘to do’s’ and ‘don’ts’ that prevail.

These are interesting not just from a sociological point of view, but even for couples in this very waltz of love. As with every field of life and work, the pandemic and its aftermath didn’t spare the diverse world of romance. Interestingly, while remaining shut indoors, the last year and a half gave us a chance to re-evaluate our take on love and intimacy. Something new was learnt, something old was unlearnt — including the very definition of ‘dates’ and ‘meet-cutes’.

In its first ‘Love Survey 2021’ ITC Engage in collaboration with IPSOS, a global leader in market research, commissioned a study to explore the changing language of love in this New Normal. The study discovers attitudes and behaviours of young India towards romance in the new normal.

The qualitative survey through candid questions unravels interesting insights on love, relationships, conversation starters, attraction, virtual v/s real romance and how these beliefs have changed.

Key Findings:

* Young individuals and their idea of love and romance — 63 per cent of respondents believe in long-term relationships

* New Rules of Virtual engagement — 36 per cent of respondents in non-metro cities agreed that physical distancing is not a hindrance to romance these days as there are various means available to continue the romance and keep the spark alive. In contrast to the opinion in the non-metros, only 24 per cent of respondents from metro cities felt the same.

* Impact of Lockdown on Relationships — Lockdown had put new relationships under stress — with almost 80 per cent of single/casual daters finding it difficult to initiate/ develop a relationship. Seventy-five per cent of respondents feel starting and developing relationships has become more difficult due to lockdowns. On the other hand, it also helped people understand meaningful aspects of their relationships.

* Virtual vs Real Life — 98 per cent of the total respondents believe virtual romance is completely different from real romance. Virtual romance is perceived to lack authenticity, is more casual in nature and risky.

* Real Life romance wins over Virtual Romance — 50 per cent of respondents believe that romance in the virtual world works well for people who are a little shy/introvert in real life while 50 per cent of respondents in metros feel romance in a virtual world is more flirtatious/casual and generally not serious. Forty-six per cent of the respondents felt that romance in the virtual world sometimes can become very dangerous.

* Romance pre and during Covid-19 — In the course of the pandemic, the linkage of romance with positive words has noticed a decline. In the Covid world, there is a 23 per cent drop for the word ‘being together’, followed by a 14 per cent dip for ‘chemistry’ in the current scenario. However, associations for negative words like ‘difficult’, ‘anxiety’ and ‘frustrating’ have increased by 25 per cent, 15 per cent and 20 per cent respectively — indicating the shift in the idea of romance in the new normal.

* Impact of Lockdown — The isolation due to the pandemic has helped 85 per cent of the respondents understand meaningful aspects of their relationships. But the lockdown has helped 84 per cent of the respondents to find new and innovative ways of connecting with their partners.

Romance in this new normal has witnessed a significant shift but love as an emotion continues to seek ways to nurture and deepen a bond. Virtual romance in the digital age has its pros and cons. There is a continuous need to explore ways to keep the spark alive. Be it organising fun virtual dates, enjoying a movie marathon or a sudden virtual surprise, it is imperative to keep the connection as real as possible.

(The Engage Love Survey 2021 was conducted with 1,199 young men and women between the age of 18-35 years living in metros and non-metros. The survey was conducted by IPSOS Research Private Limited in December 2020)

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