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A new EliteSingles study has revealed that a year of pandemic dating has given rise to a new relationship milestone: finding a “bubble bae” to quarantine with. 70% of people say they consider sharing a quarantine bubble a major sign of commitment, one that falls between dating exclusively and moving in together on the romance timeline.
Dating in a quarantine bubble
A year into the pandemic, many of us have become familiar with the term “quarantine bubble”. To paraphrase CNN, a quarantine bubble is the group of people who form your exclusive social circle during the pandemic. None of you see anyone else in person, and all of you agree to follow the same rules when it comes to things like social distancing, mask-wearing, and hand washing.
Now, a properly managed quarantine bubble is a smart, safety-focused way to ride out the pandemic. Yet, for many singles, it raises the question of “what happens when I meet someone new?” One answer is to start slow: think video dating and virtual date ideas. However, for many, there comes a time when that’s just not enough.
That means it’s time for the next step – opening your bubble up to include your new beau. Our latest study of 1,000 singles took a deeper look at this new relationship milestone, one we’re dubbing “finding a bubble bae”.
A bubble bae: the new relationship milestone
It is generally agreed that one thing various relationship milestones have in common is that they are signs of a strong bond. Deciding to share a quarantine bubble with someone certainly fits with this definition of a milestone: 70% of those surveyed say that agreeing to be someone’s bubble bae is a major sign of commitment.
Another sign that bubbling up together is a major milestone is where it falls on the ‘stages of dating’ timeline. 69% of people in the survey say you must be dating someone exclusively before having the bubble conversation. In terms of romantic timelines, this puts becoming bubble baes somewhere between agreeing to be monogamous and moving in together.
Having the “should we share a bubble?” conversation
So, in practical terms, what does that mean? When is the right time for the “should we share a bubble?” conversation? Chances are, it might be sooner than you think. 57% of singles think that the shared bubble talk should happen in the first three months of dating. This includes 17% who say that they’d ask someone to be their bubble bae after just a few weeks of coupledom.
43% would wait more than three months to have the quarantine bubble chat, including 26% who would have it in the first six months, and 13% who’d have it in the first year. Just 4% of people would want to date someone for more than a year before bubbling up.
Interestingly, the study also found that experiencing pandemic-related lockdowns may encourage singles to find a bubble bae sooner rather than later. 42% of singles said that they’d rather quarantine with a brand new partner than experience strict lockdown on their own.
Your love language can affect your bubble bae timeline
The timeline may also be sped up for those whose love language – the way they express love – is Physical Touch. 62% of those who express love through touch would bubble up by the three-month mark, including 25% who’d want to do so after a few weeks.
Those who express love in other ways also want bubble baes. However, none would want it to happen quite as fast as the physical touch crowd. 54% of those whose love language is Quality Time would want it to happen in the first three months, as would 52% of those whose love language is Acts of Service, 51% whose language is Words of Affirmation, and 46% of those whose language is Receiving Gifts.
Overall, this makes intuitive sense. Our internet saturated world means quality time, acts of service, words of affirmation, and even gifts can be sorted from a distance (thank you, same-day delivery). However, physical touch is the one love language that has to happen in person. Hugs require a bubble bae.
5 tips for quarantine bubble safety
Finding a bubble bae can be the milestone that can move your relationship forward. Yet, it’s not a decision to take lightly. If you decide to expand your quarantine bubble, there are several things you will need to discuss openly and honestly first:
- Follow official quarantine bubble guidelines
Read the CDC Guidelines together. The CDC has comprehensive guidelines for social activity in the time of Covid. Discuss them together to make sure you’re in step when it comes to bubble sharing, as well as all social activity matters. And if you have any health questions, be sure to consult a doctor.
- Your bubble or mine?
Decide whose bubble to share. If both of you have a quarantine bubble in place, talk about which one is more practical to share. Cover topics like bubble size, commitments you may have to others in your bubble, and the hygiene rules required by both groups.
- Include the whole “quaranteam”
Before saying yes to your bubble bae, check with everyone else in your quarantine bubble (aka your quaranteam). Remember, whoever you bring into your circle will joining your friends’ environment too. Have a frank conversation about whether everyone involved is comfortable with an expanding bubble.
- Agree on the bubble rules
Discuss the ‘bubble rules’. Does your quarantine bubble insist on masks at all times, or only indoors? Fabric or medical grade? How about shopping? Do you go into stores or do you insist on curbside pickup only? Make sure you’re crystal clear about what you’d expect from your potential bubble bae and ensure that they’re comfortable following the same rules.
- Prepare for the unexpected
Talk about what would happen if something unexpected came up. Make sure you and your bubble bae are both on the same page when it comes to the procedures you expect in certain situations. Think family emergencies, seeing people from outside the bubble, and after showing Covid symptoms. It may seem like counting future worries, but in the long run, being in sync will cause less stress.
Quarantine bubble bae bliss
If you’re looking to bring romance into your quarantine bubble, then the answer could be a bubble bae. Like all relationship milestones, this step takes communication, patience, and compromise. And, like all relationship milestones, it can also be entirely worth it.
EliteSingles Editorial, March 2021
About this survey: all statistics based on a survey of 1,000 singles from the USA, UK and Canada. All data used is anonymous.
Any questions about sharing this story can be directed to the EliteSingles PR team: [email protected]