Valentine's Day: Love in a time of corona

Stalls at New Covent Garden Flower Market in the run-up to Valentine's Day

Stalls at New Covent Garden Flower Market in the run-up to Valentine's Day - Credit: Matt Crossick/PA

Love in lockdown is all about finding mutual interests and building online friendships says one local dating expert.

Let’s be honest – London is the perfect playground for romantics. If you wanted to live out your Bridgerton fantasy, you could go to the Hackney Empire which doubles up the baroque opera house where Viscount Bridgerton’s lover – Siena Rosso – performs.

Farringdon makes a cameo in Christmas favourite Love Actually, while Charles (Hugh Grant) lives on the corner of Highbury Terrace in Four Weddings and a Funeral.

But this year, rather than looking for The One against our picture-perfect backdrop, Valentine’s Day is going online.

Islington life coach Puja McClymont told this newspaper it’s difficult to overcome some of the barriers which online dating poses but that dating from home can enable us to see a more authentic version of our potential life partners.

Puja said: “You can only ever gauge a certain amount of connection online – we say so much through our body language that it doesn’t always translate on video.

“When you go on a first date, you don’t generally go to somebody’s house, so it is quite odd to connect with someone in their own home.

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“But equally, the lockdown has allowed people to think: ‘What’s important to me about having a relationship?’

“In my practice, some of my clients think they’ve lost a year of their dating life, but actually, they’ve got a new opportunity to explore relationships at a different level.

“It’s a whole different ball game. If you are more comfortable in your own space, then you’re more likely to show the best version of you than the one which focuses on what you’re wearing. You will already have your mutual interests.

“And we’re not going to be in lockdown forever, so looking out for a mixture of interests and geography is key.”

Islington life coach Puja McClymont

Islington life coach Puja McClymont - Credit: Puja McClymont

2020 was a bumper year for online dating. The number of Hinge subscribers grew 200 per cent year on year, according to, and while London did not make Grindr’s top five “most active” cities per capita, the UK has the fifth-most Grindr users in the world.