She squeezed in dates between work events and dinners with friends, expecting to settle down with a long-term partner and perhaps even start a family in the next few years. But when Covid struck, her plans, like those of many others, began to crumble. But socializing is now considered a health risk, and Bui largely has been confined to his dorm room. Apps are now one of the only ways to meet people, but it can take weeks or months to take a budding romance offline. In some ways, the pandemic has only exacerbated problems with dating that had been bubbling up in recent years. Nearly half of Americans say dating is harder now than it was a decade ago. This coincides with the rise in dating apps, which are increasingly becoming the main way to find love: 39 percent of heterosexual couples and about 65 percent of gay couples met online inaccording to a Stanford University study.