After a few years of emotional chaos, 2023 is looking more and more likely to be the year of ROMANCE, with more singles than ever – 70%, in fact – feeling positive about what lies ahead for them in the dating world next year.
So what are people vibing when it comes to dating? What can singles expect during their first dates, and what, if anything, is different for people looking for love in 2023? In a new survey of more than 10,000 Bumble users, singles are getting better and better at articulating what they do and do not want from their dates (LOVE that for us) and connecting on our own terms. It’s the summer of love team – but they way WE want it!
A 2023 forecast – what will be the new trends for next year?
So, let’s gaze into the crystal romance ball to figure out just what is going to be the vibe for 2023, and honey, she looks like she’s going to be a ride.
Tall, dark and handsome is dead and long live the new sexy: emotional maturity. The whole ‘I have a physical type’ thinking is a thing of the past – type casting, if you will – with a much more including open call now the preferred way of thinking. One in three (38%) people are now more open to who they consider dating beyond their ‘type’ and one in four (28%) of us are placing less emphasis on dating people that others ‘expect’ them to. So, what are we looking for? In a heart-warming and hopeful statistic, the overwhelming majority of people (63%) are now more focused on emotional maturity than physical requirements.
2023 is the year of BOUNDARIES, people and we are here for it. With the return of office culture and busy social schedules, the majority of people are feeling bloody overwhelmed right now as we adapt to a new normal, and we are tired. More than half of singles (52%) have established more boundaries over the last year, including being more clear about emotional needs and boundaries (63%), being more thoughtful and intentional about how we put ourselves out there (59%) and (hallelujah) not overcommitting socially (53%).
You’ve heard of work-life balance, welcome to love-life balance! There has been a shift in the way we think about, and value, our work and our partner’s work. Gone are those days that our job titles and demanding work days are seen as a status symbol – since the pandemic, we’re increasingly craving time over work and wealth, with half of people prioritising work/life balance (49%).
When it comes to their partner, more than half of people care more about their work/life balance than their career status (54%). Over the past year, more than half of people (52%) are actively creating more space for breaks and rest and more than one in ten (13%) will no longer date someone who has a very demanding job. How times change, huh?
But on the other side of the coin, we’re also embracing our adventurous side and looking for an eat, date, love moment, with one in three (33%) people on Bumble saying that they are now more open to travel and relationships with people who are not in their current city.Post-pandemic WFH flexibility, and a desire to travel again, means that one in eight (14%) of us have explored the idea of being a ‘digital nomad’ – opening up how we think about who and where we date. In fact, nine per cent of people actually find it easier to date in another country. Less admin, less worries?
Yarns about gender norms and expectations have been front and centre for a while now, but 2023 will see a huge embrace of the modern man. Over the last year, a whopping 74% of men say they have examined their behaviour more than ever and have a clearer understanding of ‘toxic masculinity’ and what is not acceptable. (Miracles happen?!)
More than half of men on Bumble (52%) are actively challenging stereotypes that suggest that men should not show emotions, for fear of appearing weak. One in three (38%) now speak more openly about their emotions with their male friends, and just under half (49%) of men agree that breaking gender roles in dating and relationships is beneficial for them too. (LITERALLY what women have been saying for years but cool, good for you guys).
Some of my friends and I have a joke that when you get to a certain age, you’re just waiting for your lobster to get divorced and come back on the market in the ‘round two’ category, and honestly according to this, we might not have been far off. Much like a well-known Queen B, many of us are having a renaissance with one in three (39%) people on Bumble having ended a marriage or serious relationship in the last two years. These people are now jumping into their second chapter with one in three (36%) using dating apps for the first time, and are now learning to navigate new dating language and codes.
(It’s also worth noting that, especially if you haven’t used/ haven’t been on Bumble in a long time, the app now offers a ‘recommend to a friend’ feature if you stumble across someone who isn’t your vibe but would be perfect for a mate.)
What does it all mean?
Basically, we’re ready for romance – but it’s all on our terms, baby. Says Lucille McCart, Bumble’s APAC Communications Director, “Twenty twenty two brought about a significant social shift with the return of international travel, a drastic increase in the volume of social commitments, as well as a number of turbulent global events. For some people this post-pandemic shift left them feeling out of control and exhausted.
“In response to this we’ve now seen that people on Bumble are now prioritising identifying and clearly articulating their boundaries. These boundaries can be emotional, like being up front about what they want or recognising red or green flags, or physical, like ensuring they don’t overcommit themselves and protecting their time and energy.
“All of these shifts are changing the ways that people are thinking about what they are looking for, and how they better balance their relationships, work, and life. As we head into the new year, we are encouraged by the many ways single people are challenging the status quo and taking control of defining what a healthy and equal relationship means for them.”
Looking back on 2022’s predictions – what did this year in dating look like?
Bumble’s biggest prediction for 2022’s dating trends was the return of the PDA, with 68% of users saying they were more open to public displays of affection with vaccination rates increased.
Aaaaaand if the constant images of Kourtney Kardashian and Travis Barker on my Instagram feed are anything to go by, this one was CORRECT!
Bumble also reckoned dry dating – no drinking on dates – would increase dramatically, which also seems to be on the money, especially for Wellingtonian Kate, who has opted to not drink on most of her Bumble dates this year.
“I’ve been so much more mindful about drinking in general, especially after that first lockdown we had in 2020 where I think I consumed the entirety of the drinks cabinet!” she says.
“But I figured that as a 34-year-old woman, I wanted to be a little more thoughtful about my approach to dating, and I figured if I was looking for a special connection, that probably shouldn’t be done when I’m half-cut. So now I prefer a coffee date, at least at the beginning, to get to know someone and see if we vibe sober. After all, if you’re looking for a relationship, you’re (hopefully!) going to sober a vast majority of the time!”
And what are Kiwis wanting to DO on dates?
In what shouldn’t be too much of a surprise to most of us, Kiwis can be rather adventurous when it comes to dating:
When Kiwis were asked if someone they were dating proposed an adventurous activity, (hiking, bungee jumping, skydiving, etc.) would they go? Well, 83% of us would consider it!
- 17% No, that’s not my thing
- 43% Absolutely, I love adventurous dates
- 40% It’s not my preference but I would consider it if I really liked them
But when asked what our ideal first date would be, your best bet is a good old fashioned feed!
- 10% something outdoors like hiking
- 30% a good meal at a restaurant or pub
- 7% an adventurous activity like bungee jumping
- 9% a trip to see a movie
- 18% a casual drink at a bar
- 26% a coffee date
Maybe a meal before a skydive then?!