A typical date would involve a dinner, a movie, a stroll in the park, or drinks at a bar. However, the world of dating drastically changed after COVID-19 hit. Intimate experiences have been replaced with mask-wearing, social distancing, and an ongoing worry if, or better put when, you’ll catch the disease. Because of this, dating habits also changed and Thai matchmaking company, MeetNLunch, has revealed interesting findings after surveying Thai singles in late 2022.
The study is particularly helpful for singles who are facing challenges in finding a partner, as it provides insights on how to navigate the new-normal world of dating. Surprisingly, the study found that a staggering 27% of Thais revealed they prefer virtual meetups to traditional, in-person dates. Because of economic uncertainty, 46% of respondents are now spending less on dates. For the majority, dating has become more casual and affordable than before, but with less success.
Some findings were even more surprising—79% of women said they would be open to dating younger men, up from previous years. However, the number of men willing to date older women dropped from 99% in 2019 to 62% in 2022. This could be an adverse response to “Noona Romance”, which is a trope in Korean drama where female leads are paired with younger males. Believe it or not, it so popular that “Noona Romance” has now become a genre in Korean dramas. It’s safe to say that Korean dramas don't only affect food and lifestyle, but also dating.
Despite these changes, the survey reveals that some preferences remain unchanged. Thai men's top three in a partner are age, body type, and education level, while Thai women's are income level, age, and body type.
As inflation continues to impact the country, 52% of Thai singles consider themselves stable, and 32% say price increases have not impacted their dating habits. However, 17% are more likely to suggest free activities when planning a date.
According to Napaporn Thapananon, Country Head of MeetNLunch Thailand, "So much has changed after we emerged from the pandemic, and as we navigate the changes in our daily lives, we overlook how dating has been impacted as well. It’s a different world out there now, and many people will have to learn how to date in this new environment.”