SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — We all know the stay-at-home order has been a lonely time for some, and while you won’t have to anymore, many people turned to online dating to help alleviate some of their loneliness.

Sociology Professor Alicia Walker, who specializes in relationships, said online dating during the stay-at-home order could be a coping mechanism, but it also could be the foundation of a strong relationship.

“Lots of people are having to date remotely,” Walker said. “The pandemic is kind of forcing people to figure out ways to use technology and connect because they can’t connect face to face.”

Dr. Alicia Walker is a sociology assistant professor at Missouri State University. She says many people have been using apps to online date during the stay at home order.

“We have lots of folks who have been getting very creative texting and Snapchat and phone calls,” Walker said. “I’ve even seen folks doing Zoom dates.”

According to two popular dating apps, since the pandemic started in the U.S., messages on the apps are up an average of 25%.

Walker says the reason for this is the loneliness people may feel, especially if they live alone.

“I think that a lot of folks feel very isolated right now,” Walker said. “Folks who are single are probably anxious to reach out and not be single. I think it could serve as a coping mechanism. We’re all trapped at home there’s no end in sight. You know we’re opening the state tomorrow but is it going to stay open? But it’s not like everything is back to normal and we don’t know when that’s going to happen.”

Though she says it’s certainly not the worst coping mechanism, not physically seeing each other could also be the building blocks of a strong relationship.

“I would imagine that folks are going to be building really strong foundations before they ever have any physical co-presence,” Walker said.

But she also says to heed this warning:

“Anytime you have folks meeting in those circumstances you run the risk that what you think is this really strong foundation really strong friendship may in fact just be desperation and depth of need,” Walker said.

Walker also warns that she often sees some people disappointed when they meet in person after online dating because of a lack of chemistry.