“Attractive widow, 52 years old from Veneto, would like to correspond with a man aged between 52 and 58, of good character, for the purposes of marriage.”

These ads are examples of how some people found love back in 1973, taken from the pages of our paper during that year.

And now?

In the digital age, more and more single people rely on dating apps to find love, in all its forms.

With the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, dating apps and websites have experienced a surge in users, but with surprising implications.

Melbourne-based director Ruth Borgobello and Sydney-based writer Lisa Portolan, both of Friulian background, have teamed up to explore dating and love in the time of coronavirus, with their recently launched Slow Love podcast.

“We met at the premier of Ruth’s film, The Space Between, in 2016,” Portolan said.

A journalist and the author of two books, Portolan is currently working on a PhD on how dating apps are transforming relationships and intimacy.

“When you open up a dating app there’s an infinite group of people, so it creates a sense of abundance which generates confusion from a human perspective, and it’s very depersonalising,” she said.

“But an interesting trend emerged during the lockdown: people were chatting for longer online, instead of moving quickly towards meeting face to face because essentially they couldn’t and they were stuck in that online paradigm.

“There was this whole narrative of a return to a Jane Austenesque courtship.”

Meanwhile, Borgobello added that the interviews in the podcast point towards a desire among people to return to more traditional ways of meeting.

“It’s ironic now that we can’t socialise in person,” she laughed.

Slow Love focuses on capturing the stories of everyday Australians, as well as “sexperts”, intimacy experts, matchmakers and dating app CEOs.

Whether they are divorced and in search of a new relationship, eternal romantics or sceptics of monogamy, the protagonists of the Slow Love podcast tell their stories with sincerity and candour.

One of the most recent episodes features Italo-Australian filmmaker, Lisa Camillo, best known for her documentary Balentes – The Brave Ones, who shares her love story that unfolded in the midst of Milan’s lockdown.

For more information, to share your love story or to listen to the podcasts, head to the Slow Love website.