The year 2020 saw a monumental shake-up to the way we date and keep connections with other people. Lockdowns forced conversations online, social distancing kicked off feelings of skin-hunger, and for some, slow dating overtook the one-night stand.
Now, as daters begin to ease back into dating IRL, lovers appear to be taking lessons from the past few months and are adapting a number of temporary iso-dating coping mechanisms into longer-term trends.
“Love under lockdown sparked a new wave of romance, and we’ve seen relationships form and flourish even while in isolation,” dating platform OkCupid says. “When a physical connection was no longer an immediate option for many, we saw a significant increase in people connecting virtually over the things they really care about, like climate change and cooking, right from the start.”
In its new The Future of Dating report, OkCupid is analysing the data from over 450 million app interactions from real-life users, to conclude a number of dating trends to define 2021. Here, we take a closer look at a few of them.
From a collection of responses to questions around the climate crisis, daters have defined climate change as a shared issue to connect and bond over. According to OkCupid’s data, 85% of millennial users are concerned about the climate crisis, and many are not willing to date people who do not share their views. The trend, coined by OkCupid, takes inspiration from Swedish eco-activist Greta Thunberg.
“With climate change continuing to be a major talking point globally, OkCupid is finding that more and more people’s passion for the planet is becoming a steamy subject and a topic to bond over,” the dating platform says.
In 2020, over 340,000 daters referred to themselves as ‘activists’, with women leading this trend (48% of millennial women self-identify as activists). In the year to come, OkCupid predicts this number to grow following a year of social and cultural reckoning.
“With over 2.5 million responses to our new questions about racial equality, we’re confident this trend of daters looking for fellow advocates will only increase in 2021.”
Love knows no bounds, and in 2021, love knows no borders either. “Since the beginning of the pandemic, connections and conversations across borders are up nearly 50% among singles, and people are setting their location preferences to ‘anywhere’ more than ever before.”
In a huge shift to dating trends, more than 1.5 million people on the platform have flagged their openness for a long-distance relationship when they were closed to the idea before. And in an extension of the trend, daters are also more open to people from different cultural backgrounds.
“Daters are 15% more likely to connect with users of a different religion than they were before the coronavirus outbreak — and people open to interracial relationships increased 10% during the pandemic.”
Is it possible to date someone who shares dramatically different political views to your own? Of course, it’s possible, but it’s not the preference for 64% of users who agree cross-party dating simply does not work in modern relationships.
“In 2021, we’re going to see more people are refusing to date outside party lines. Around the world, 5 million daters answered our question “Could you date someone who has strong political opinions that are the exact opposite of yours?”, and there’s been an upward trend in people refusing to date across party lines.”
In 2021, we’re going to see more outdoor dates take place in a bid to overcorrect for the mass amounts of time spent indoors in 2020. “After being in lockdown for most of the year, daters will be looking to experience the great outdoors as a way to get to know their match,” OkCupid says of the trend.
In their surveys, the dating platform found 59% of global users we’re more motivated for adventures and were keen to continue having outdoor dates, which ensured a socially distant environment.