The pandemic affected nearly every aspect of the way humans socialize — and dating is no exception.
Lianne Tregobov, owner and founder of Camelot Introductions, a Winnipeg-based matchmaking service, has watched the world of dating evolve during her more than two decades in the business: from the proliferation of online chat rooms to the explosion of dating apps.
But change came quickly in the last year-and-a-half, as romantics turned to Tregobov in record numbers, eager to find love amid lockdowns.
"People were panicking, and they didn’t want to be alone, and then when they thought the pandemic was easing up, our phone would ring like mad," she said.
"We had people quarantine for two weeks because they wanted to meet each other. They developed amazing relationships."
Tregobov helps make this happen for singles in their late 20s and older looking for long-term relationships. She recounted the story of an 82-year-old woman who joined Camelot Introductions.
The woman was nervous for her date — her first after becoming windowed from a 60-year marriage — and invited Tregobov over to help her get ready.
"She had the same butterflies that my 28-year-olds have when they’re preparing for a date, and I love that. We mature to a certain extent, but our heart is always vulnerable," she said.
Mary-Jane Springer met her current husband through Camelot Introductions in 2003. At the time, Springer was in her early ‘50s and had established her career as a physician. However, the death of her first husband left her widowed, and after some time, she wanted to explore new connections.
"I had a friend that basically insisted I quit with the silly online stuff and meet with a proper matchmaker," Springer said.
"She certainly did a fabulous job for us; everything she said and everything she matched was exactly right ... It takes away some of the scariness away from meeting someone who’s somebody you’ve never heard of."
During an initial conversation with a client, Tregobov learns about the individual’s life, goals and personality and then makes her matches off of a mix of hard facts and intuition. Most couples find a good match within three face-to-face meetings, she said.
"That sounds like abracadabra, but it’s not. I’m very particular. I have to have the right people. It has to be the right connection," Tregobov added.
Springer ended up marrying the first hopeful she met in-person through Camelot Introductions, and the pair are still happily partnered.
Since restrictions are slackening and the city is returning to a more recognizable version of itself, Tregobov said singles are ready to get back out there, literally and metaphorically.
"Humans are meant to be coupled, and when you take away regular day-to-day human interaction, and someone is isolated, it’s not healthy."
Months upon months of being cut off from social circles has left some singles with added dating anxiety, Tregobov said. She said she’s seen people needing to drum up more than the usual amount of nerve to meet new people.
"People are feeling like enough is enough. They’re tired of the pandemic and want to carry on with life, and they’re just saying, ‘I want to meet someone, I want to find someone, and I want to do it now.’"
While the pandemic has shaped dating — with some ways being more permanent than others —
Tregobov believes the fundamentals of love will always remain the same for those who are genuinely in search of it.
Go online at www.camelotintroductions.com for more information.
Katlyn Streilein is the reporter/photgrapher for The Metro.