You might not have expected a dating renaissance in the middle of a pandemic. We may be socially isolated, but that doesn’t mean people have stopped looking for love.

“It’s such a universal desire to have companionship,” says Rachel DeAlto, Match’s chief dating expert. The dating app saw a 30% increase in messaging in January compared to last year.

“People who may not have been interested in online dating because they could have gone out far more often are now utilizing that as a tool,” DeAlto says.

The dating apps report their peak season started once the holidays were over. After the isolation of the pandemic, singles refocused on their goal to find love. Match reported about 1.6 million messages a day being exchanged on its app during that time.

“They’re now saying, OK, like, I want to be with someone. And it was tough to go through the pandemic without that person by my side,” says OkCupid’s chief marketing officer, Melissa Hobley.

OkCupid has also seen a surge of activity and says if there was ever a stigma attached to online dating, those days are over. “You get more questions now if you’re single and you’re not on an app, your friends are like, what’s wrong with you?” Hobley says.

It worked for Jen and Michael Rumble, who had both been married before. The couple met on the Match dating app just as COVID-19 was gripping the nation. Their first date was in Jen’s backyard in North Carolina. “After that we were together like every day, playing tennis, going mountain biking, going boating, hiking, anything we could do outside where there wouldn’t be a lot of people around,” she says.

The couple says they initially felt guilty to have found happiness in the midst of so much hardship. “We didn’t even really share with anyone when we first started dating and seeing each other a lot because we felt guilty,” Jen Rumble says. Michael says they didn’t want to tell anyone at first. After meeting in March, they were engaged by August. They married in October, proving that even the coronavirus is no match for Cupid.

Correspondent: Michael George