2020 was hard on everyone – including us singletons.
Confined to our homes, many of us entered the murky and unknown territory of virtual dating. Then the summer came, and we finally had the chance to meet those people we had been half-heartedly texting for a few months. Some of us had summer romances which crashed and burned as soon as autumn and the new lockdowns hit. And well, here we are again…
2020 changed the world of dating in so many ways. But even though we are back in lockdown again, I think it will continue to change in 2021.
So here’s my dating predictions for the forthcoming year…
1. Decline in virtual dating
Yes, you heard me right, my first prediction is that less people will be trying virtual dating this year.
Why? Because so many of us spent large swathes of 2020 on those dating apps, and tbh we are TIRED. We all know texting someone and trying to retain their interest takes time and effort, and I simply haven’t got the energy for it when we could all be in lockdown for a few more months yet – and I know others feel the same. It just seems pointless and futile when there is no prospect of meeting someone in the flesh anytime soon.
So I predict people will be pausing the virtual dating when in lockdown, and restarting swiping right only when there is a bit of light on the horizon.
During my research for this post, hardballing came out as the top dating prediction for 2021. But what is hardballing?
Hardballing means knowing exactly what you want dating-wise – and not wasting time on anyone or anything that doesn’t fit with your relationship goals. After lonely lockdowns in 2020, singletons aren’t messing around. We have had plenty of time to reflect on what we want relationship-wise and from a potential partner – so ghosters and breadcrumbers beware!
3. Slow dating
If you do decide to go down the virtual dating path, then you might end up slow dating. This is exactly what it sounds like – taking things slowly, not rushing into anything and building that connection before meeting in person.
The inability to meet anyone means long, deep and meaningful Zoom conversations. There’s also no chance of rushing things bedroom-wise. All this is resulting in daters getting an idea if someone is a good fit for them or not before that first date.
I’m really liking this dating trend. It feels like we’re returning to good old-fashioned courtship – but with a 21st Century twist!
To a certain extent this trend started in 2020. Regulation changes? A new lockdown on the horizon? Then circumstances may force you to make the snap decision to bubble up or – even more seriously – move in with someone.
Pre-Covid, most of us would take our time when considering whether to move in with someone – but the pandemic has taken the luxury of time away from us. I predict the trend to move in with someone pretty sharpish will continue after all this is over, due to the ‘make the most of it/live in the moment’ mentality many of us seem to be developing as a result of coronavirus.
5. Seeing eye to eye on the big stuff
2020 has changed the world in many ways. Forget coronavirus, we were also getting our heads around Black Lives Matter, climate change, Brexit and a whole other range of very serious and life-altering issues.
Of course, compatibility has always been one of the key considerations when choosing a new partner – but now those conversations will be deeper than ever. Yes, we still want to know if you’re a dog or a cat person, or if you see children in your future – but now we also need to know if you see eye-to-eye on the big moral and ethical stuff too.
6. Authentic dating
I truly believe coronavirus has the potential to banish some of the negative aspects of millennial dating.
2020 has made us realise life is too short, as well as giving us plenty of time for self-reflection. This is resulting in increased self-awareness and authenticity for many, which I hope will translate into dating. So be gone unrealistic expectations handed down from social media. Likewise, its time to banish the strategic texting – I’ve waited three months to meet someone face-to-face, so I’m not going to waste anytime in texting them back if that’s what I want to do!
7. New Dawn Daters
New Dawn Daters is a term used to describe people who are newly single after experiencing a break up during the pandemic.
Just what I need – more competition in the dating pool! But I genuinely feel sorry for these people, entering the dating scene at probably the worst possible time. And imagine if you’ve been in a very long term relationship, and having to get your head around dating apps and virtual dating all at once? No thanks.
8. Location, Location, Location – near or afar?
Here’s one trend I couldn’t pin down, and think could go either way.
Lockdown means staying local. And even if you are allowed to move around a bit more, people are generally staying closer to home because of concerns about the virus. If this is you it means dating in your local area with a limited pool of potential matches is your only option. Brings a whole new meaning to the term ‘love thy neighbour’.
On the flip side, 2020 meant we spent about 99% of our life online (hello Zoom quizzes, I’m looking at you). People may be generally more open to the idea of both virtual and long-distance dating then they were before.
And some 2021 trends I think are here to stay…
9. Dating In The Wild
During 2020 restrictions on inside spaces meant that singletons had to think outside when it come to dating – literally.
Instead of the pub bar, the park bench became the numero uno dating venue of choice. And tbh most date venues were a variation on this theme (park walk, mountain walk, beach walk, country walk etc).
One of my best dates this year was a drive through cinema – something I probably wouldn’t have tried if coronavirus had taken away the traditional dating options.
10. Return Of The Ex
Hands up if your ex emerged from the woodwork in 2020 – or worse, too many lockdown vinos resulted in a late night text to the one who broke your heart?
The lockdowns of 2020 inevitably made many of us feel lonely, and during what will undoubtedly be the strangest time of our lives for most of us, we craved comfort and familiarity. For some of us that was in the form of a familiar ex.
As the pandemic continues, our feelings of nostalgia and yearning for a time pre-Covid will only increase. Unfortunately that means the chances of your ex lurking back into your DMs will only increase too!
Lets be honest, which respectable singleton didn’t spend the summer of 2020 trying to secure a suitable bed partner for Lockdown 2.0?
Yes, as the local and regional lockdowns started to hit, many of us tried to pin down ‘exactly what are we?’ with the summer fling in the hopes of securing a plus one for the sofa for the winter nights ahead. Of course, not everyone was successful in this, me included.
As there is still a long way to go with rolling out the vaccine, I predict this is one trend that is here to stay for 2021. Come autumn, let the corona-cuffing season commence!
Like I said, I am hoping that as we move into 2021 coronavirus will lead to a more authentic and positive way of dating. But for now, I’m deleting those apps, sitting tight and waiting for the light to return at the end of the dating tunnel.