14 Predictions About The Future Of Dating

Being single has never been easy — especially when you constantly try to keep up to date with the latest trends and trends in the dating world. With more and more integration between technology and the dating world, these are changing faster and faster. Dating apps, social media, and even A.I. are all playing more significant roles than ever in how we date. And, of course, the COVID-19 pandemic has also had a huge impact on the world of dating.

With things changing so quickly, it can be hard to know what's coming next. Is the future of dating online? Or are we headed towards a more nostalgic form of in-person dating? We did some research on the latest dating trends and chatted to a few dating experts to try and get to the bottom of what's coming next for singletons. Read on for a glimpse into the future of dating.

There's a growing number of consciously single people

In the last few years, one of the most surprising dating trends has been not dating. That's right — as of 2022, being "consciously single" is rising. As Bumble found in a recent study, 53% of people changed their minds about dating during the pandemic, realizing that it's "actually OK" to be partnerless — at least for a little while (via Independent). "Since the beginning of the pandemic, more and more people are remaining consciously single and being more mindful and intentional about how they approach dating," explained the head of Bumble U.K. & Ireland (via Stylist).

Even a few celebrities have started to hop on this dating trend. According to The Guardian, Emma Watson, Lizzo, Selena Gomez, and Ariana Grande champion the consciously single life. As one single woman explained to the publication, "It's easy to become hyper-aware of that fairytale narrative, especially for women, but I don't think being single should be framed around looking for love. It's about developing a positive relationship with yourself."

It sounds like embracing the single life will be a big part of the future of dating for years to come.

Zoom dates are here to stay

Many of us probably feel that we've had enough Zoom calls to last us a lifetime — unfortunately, when it comes to dating, it seems that Zoom calls aren't going anywhere just yet.

As relationship expert Laurel House told Mashable in 2022, during the pandemic, people realized that Zoom dates were a great way to control first dates and protect their own time. "Now people are much more protective ... of their time," she said. By having a virtual first date, people can save time, money, and energy until they decide whether or not they want to pursue a relationship with their date.

Behavioral scientist Clarissa Silva agreed that Zoom dating does have benefits. "A lot of people aren't really immediately up for taking the risk of meeting someone new and going out in public, so they're turning to FaceTime or Zoom dates first and seeing if we even have a connection," she told Inverse, predicting that for people worried about safety, virtual dating would always be a great option, even after the pandemic.

More and more people will want sober dates

A few years ago, the typical dates probably took place at a cocktail bar or local pub. After all, a glass or two of wine usually helps take the edge off and calm the nerves. However, according to the experts, a shift is happening: More and more singles are interested in going on sober dates.

According to eHarmony, 74% of daters restricted their alcohol intake in 2022, while 94% claimed that "they'd be interested in someone who doesn't drink at all." Relationship expert Laurel House told Mashable that this trend might lead to more careful, thoughtful dating.

The BBC also noted that "dry dating" seemed to be a big trend in 2022. They cited a survey by Bumble, in which 34% of single daters claimed they'd be more likely to do a sober date post-pandemic, while 62% claimed that a sober date could help them "form a more genuine connection."

It seems that in the future, dates may be taking place in the parks and cafes rather than the bars.

Mindful dating is on the rise

The days of mindlessly going on date after date seem to be a thing of the past. In the next few years, more and more single people are likely to take a more mindful approach to their dating lives.

This trend is largely thanks to the pandemic — apparently, people want to prioritize their needs and get to the important stuff more quickly. "People are having these real scary — historically scary — conversations," relationship expert Laurel House told Mashable. "Now it's not scary because now it's like, 'Well, I know me. I know my needs. I'm confidently, vulnerably, unapologetically aware of my needs.'"

Christi-an Slomka, community manager at meditation and sleep app Calm, told Bumble, "Mindful dating is the practice of being present with yourself, the person you're dating or looking to date, and the dating process." The best way to achieve this? According to Bumble, it's all about staying present and taking your dating life date by date, without getting drawn into thinking about the past or the future. It sounds like a pretty great trend to try!

COVID has turned us into more honest daters

According to some dating experts, the future of dating is looking a little more honest. As dating expert Tina Wilson told Stylist, "For many months, singles were unable to meet up during quarantine and lockdowns, so their patience for polite chit-chat came to an all-time low. The questions that daters ask each other are far more forward and to the point now." The trend has been dubbed "coronesty" — or "Coronavirus honesty."

Apparently, we'll all be trying to be a little more honest with our dates in the future because the pandemic forced us to be honest with ourselves. "Many single people spent lockdown in solitude, reflecting on what they believed they could be missing out on by being unable to date and form relationships," sex and relationship therapist Rhian Kivits told Metro, adding, "many of us remembered what makes us happy and we were shown, very clearly, what does not. This prompted many of us to find clarity about what we really want to experience in our relationships and how we want to live."

Some people will start hardballing

One of the biggest dating trends of 2022 is "hardballing." As relationship expert Susan Winter told Today, hardballing is the approach to dating where you refuse to make compromises. This way, she said, you can give your date a "clear and definite vision" of who you are.

Winter explained that if more of us hardball in the future, dating will become a whole lot easier. "The problem that we have nowadays is vagueness. This is what's creating 'situationships' and 'friends with benefits,' and people hanging on in the hopes that something more will develop," she said. By being upfront and non-compromising from the beginning, she explained our relationship can be a lot stronger and healthier. So, could this mean that situationships and friends with benefits will slowly die out in the future dating world? Let's hope so!

As dating expert at Hily, Connell Barrett, told us, "Everyone should start playing 'hardball' in their love lives. Being more honest and authentic about what you want is a gift to the other person."

Beware of 'wokefishing' in the future of dating

Not all trends coming up in the future of dating are good. One dangerous trend is "wokefishing." The basic premise, as Stylist noted, is that someone acts "woke" to try to entice you into a date.

One journalist from Vice spoke to several women who have been victims of wokefishing in the dating scene. "[Initially], he seemed very philosophical, artistic and well-read ... However, he would want to debate every argument and play devil's advocate the whole time," one woman said. "He didn't accept that some things are fundamental to people's identity and not up for questioning." As Layla, a sex and relationship educator explained just how harmful wokefishing could be. "Realizing that you have been deceived by a romantic partner can have devastating and long-lasting effects," she said. "The person who was deceived may be led to question their whole reality and feel uncertain about their ability to judge people correctly."

If you're looking to find a romantic partner who shares your values and interests, beware of the wokefishers out there. As Barrett tells us, "Wokefishing is real. Watch out for people who try to align themselves with your political or social beliefs. It's an agenda, a manipulation."

Dating alongside therapy sessions is a rising trend

In the future, more and more people will be attending regular therapy sessions. Naturally, this will change the way they date. According to a 2022 Hinge survey, a staggering 91% of users of the app are hoping to match with someone who goes to therapy, while 89% claim they are more likely to agree to a second date if they discover their partner goes to therapy (via StyleCaster). In other words, as we all begin to take our own mental health seriously, we are also beginning to understand the importance of dating someone who also values their mental health.

As Dr. Megan Fleming, a clinical psychologist and sex therapist, told USA Today, "I think [asking a partner to go to therapy is] a reasonable thing to say, because it's a want or desire, and I could see how it would lead to healthier relationships where both people are prioritizing (and) investing in personal growth."

By the sounds of things, the most successful daters in the future will be the ones who take care of their mental health before hitting the dating scene.

PDA is back in fashion in the dating world

When COVID-19 swept across America in 2020, we all started socially distancing to protect ourselves and others. Now that restrictions are being lifted, we all seem to be eager to get close again. According to dating app Bumble, PDA is back in. In fact, 68% of their users claim to be more open to PDA in a post-pandemic world — so, it seems that PDA is not just back, it's actually more popular than ever. After all, after two years of staying apart, why not celebrate coming back together?

Looking for examples of post-pandemic PDA? A few celebrities have hopped on the trend, such as Megan Fox and Machine Gun Kelly or Kourtney Kardashian and Travis Baker (via My Imperfect Life). "The pandemic has left many of us touch-starved," Sam Holmes, editor of Feel & Thrive, told us. "As restrictions are being eased, we're embracing social interaction." Whether it's out in public on our social media feeds, chances are, we are going to be seeing a lot of public displays of affection in the next few years.

As our reliance on tech continues to rise, couples may turn to 'fexting'

In 2022, a new dating phenomenon went viral thanks to none other than the First Lady of the United States Jill Biden. In an interview with Harper's Bazaar, the first lady explained that she and President Joe Biden sometimes conducted their arguments over text message — a habit the Bidens call "fexting."

According to some experts, fexting will become a common dating phenomenon in years to come. As we rely more and more on technology, we'll inevitably use it to communicate during fights with our partners, too.

"This trend will continue to rise," said relationship expert Laurel Holmes. "It's a matter of convenience and an issue of preference. Whether or not it's healthy or effective really depends on the people involved." As Holmes explained, fexting allows us to open up more than we might in an in-person fight. "Plus, it's a great way to approach difficult issues that would otherwise remain unaddressed and impact the relationship negatively," he added.

Ghosting will continue to play a huge role in the dating world

Ghosting isn't exactly a new trend in the dating world. According to Elite Daily, we've been talking about ghosting since 2014. If you need a reminder, ghosting is when someone disappears after a couple of dates and goes radio silent, kind of like a digital ghost.

According to Jess Carbino, Ph.D., Bumble's resident sociologist, "People have tried to avoid rejecting others for the entire existence of humanity, and I don't think that's changing." So, sadly, it looks like this trend isn't going anywhere soon. "Ghosting is like Justin Bieber — it's not going away, so we should get used to it," joked Barrett. Holmes agreed. "This trend will persist for as long as we have an abundance of dating options and an aversion to awkward conversations," he explained. "It's human nature to want to take the easy way out. Ghosting is a reflection of that."

Social media is the new go-to meeting place

In the next few years, the way we meet potential partners will continue to change and shift toward the digital world. Most of us previously met our partners through friends or at the local bar. Now, more and more of us are meeting online. In fact, according to Statista, the number of couples in the U.S. who met online jumped from 2% in 1995 to 39% in 2017.

By the sounds of things, this trend will continue, with more and more people meeting on dating apps and social media. "Social media is the new town square," dating expert Connell Barrett told The List. "A lot of singles are burnt out on online dating. Connecting on social media can feel closer to normal and real-world, sort of the way we used to go and socialize at pubs or bars."

Added Holmes, "This trend is definitely here to stay. It's easy and convenient, and you don't even need to leave your couch — it's no wonder social media is the new go-to meeting place."

We may be looking at a future where virtual reality relationships become a thing

In the future dating world, we won't only be meeting online, we may also be dating in a virtual world altogether. As sociologist Jess Carbino told Bumble, "I'm talking about putting on a headset, syncing into a Starbucks, and then you both are virtually meeting for the first time — but you're sitting in your living room." Virtual dating will be the next step after Zoom dating. Instead of chatting across a screen, you and your date will be in the same virtual reality — when in reality, you're still at home.

As Holmes notes, this means that our dating pools will dramatically expand. "No need to travel halfway across the world to meet interesting people," he said. "You can experience that from the comfort of your living room." But, he adds, eventually, we may start to turn away from VR dating. "Sooner or later, we'll start to crave actual human interaction. We're just wired like that."

TikTok will continue to dictate dating trends in the future

In the past few years, the world of dating has not only been interpreted by users on TikTok; it has been influenced by it. TikTok has become a breeding ground for dating trends. Scroll through your feed, and you'll probably see a fair few videos explaining the latest dating trends. We are getting more and more of our dating education from Tik Tok — and this phenomenon is here to stay.

This means that we'll continue to refine our collective language around dating, and we'll continue to develop names for the trends we are experiencing. "Navigating relationships today can be confusing," relationship Laurel Holmes explained. "The collaborative nature of Tik Tok gives one a sense of community. When you have millions of people confirming whether what you're experiencing is normal, healthy, good, or even bad, it can give you a sense of security."