Singles exploit partner loophole

Article by Mandy Squires /
Herald Sun /
August 2, 2020 /
Click here to view original /

Desperate singles are “taking liberties” with the word ”partner” to justify hook-ups and casual dates.

Under the Victorian government’s lockdown rules, “partners living separately can visit each other at home”.

But Melbourne University social expert Dr Lauren Rosewarne said anecdotal evidence suggested this had created “a loophole” being exploited by people to hook up and date.

Confusion reigned around the definition of “partner”, with some people using the term in a sexual sense, she said.

It comes as hook-up apps Tinder and Bumble, and online dating service eHarmony, introduce video-dating to help “singles meet and build relationships in a virtual space”.

But Dr Rosewarne said many singles were still meeting in the flesh. “You are allowed to see an intimate partner if they live in a different house, and people are definitely interpreting that … to facilitate any kind of intimate contact with one person,” she said. “But if you see a different person every night of the week, obviously you may as well have been at a party … it’s a grey area, because what determines ‘partner’?

“It’s not necessarily a boyfriend-girlfriend situation and we definitely use that phrase ‘sexual partner’ … so there’s a definite loophole for people wanting to hook up. I’d also say … sex is a driver like no other for human behaviour.” She said it came down to how people interpreted “the spirit of the law”, adding most people did the right thing.

“But … there are some people who are clearly taking liberties,” Dr Rosewarne said. A spokesperson for eHarmony said it advised people to follow government social distancing guidelines, while Tinder said users were sent a COVID warning message when they started using the app.