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The rise of borderless dating

A couple watches the sun set from Lycabettus Hill in Athens
REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton
For a growing number of dating app users, geography doesn’t seem to matter
  • Hanna Kozlowska
By Hanna Kozlowska

Investigative reporter

In the early days of the pandemic, Tinder users, stuck at home, started teleporting themselves en masse into other countries to check out the dating pools far away from home, and maybe engage in some cross-border flirtation. They weren’t physically there, of course, but the app’s “Passport” feature allowed them to change their location and indulge in the fantasy.

The feature, normally available with Tinder’s paid subscriptions, was so popular that the company made it free for everyone for a month. Tinder competitor Bumble followed suit, giving users the option to set their location filters “nationwide,” as opposed to the usual 100 miles.

What was a bit of escapism for bored and lonely users and a marketing boon for online dating companies speaks to a larger phenomenon. A seemingly growing number of people are inspired to date beyond their immediate physical community, even when travel is limited. For better or for worse, the “borderless” trend on online dating apps has been percolating for some time, with the pandemic giving it a boost. Will it continue when people can meet up in person again?

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