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The dating trends to know about in 2021 as we pray for IRL meet-ups to make a comeback

Things can only get better. Promise.

Needless to say, 2020 was a weird one for dating. Meeting someone the old-fashioned way finally died a death, 'virtual dating' became a legit thing and with all the social distancing, casual sex was pretty much off the table.

Back in 2019, when we predicted this year's dating trends, little did we know the sh*t show 2020 had in store. Though actually, some of the trends have totally rung true.

Last December, we told you that Retroshading would become a phenomenon. It's where we would bring back a potential unwanted lover into our lives. And hey, they all came crawling back this year didn't they?

And what about Manisfesdatetion - spot on, no? We just about manifested everything we wanted this year, including a new partner, more money and stronger friendships, because how else we were going to get what we wanted from 2020?

So as we look to the year ahead (with very eager anticipation), we have some confidence that we know what's coming for your dating life and we've called upon the experts at Bumble for their insights because they have literally seen it all this year...

Here's a sneak peek of your year in dating, according to Bumble.

New Dawn Daters

Whether it was the long-distance or getting way-too-close for comfort, the pandemic put a lot of relationships to bed, meaning many will be back on the dating apps in search of new prospects in 2021 - and for some of us, it's been a while.

It's estimated that a fifth of people on Bumble next year will be ‘New Dawn Daters’ - an eclectic mix of those that are newly-single and ready to mingle or new to digital dating and just a little bit nervy...


2021 daters are not messing around. After a v. lonely year in lockdown, around 46% of users will be looking for something serious. If you're ‘Hardballing’ next year, it means you know exactly what you want and you’re not messaging around with anyone that doesn’t tick all the boxes.

It turns out 2020 might have changed us for the better. Apparently, 38% of Bumble users felt more confident saying what was - and very much wasn't - right for them in their dating lives this year and a third of us weren't afraid to tell someone they just weren't right. This is serious now.


Amidst all of the unpredictability, horoscopes helped us look to the future lots this year. You wouldn't be the only one who was searching them for some kind of sign about our love lives, either. It's called astrolove - how romance could be written in the stars - and it could be here to stay with more than 1 million people in the UK adding their zodiac sign to their dating profiles in the last six months, which (amazingly) has been shown to improve your chance of matching by up to 53% (!!)

NB. Leos have been the most successful in 2020!

Slow Dating

Finally, people are taking the time to get to know each other and build a connection before deciding if they want to meet in person or pursue a relationship. Thanks to quarantines and bans on inter-household hook-ups, around 2 in 5 people were taking longer to get to know someone, apparently using this slowly-slowly approach to think critically about what they want in a relationship.


While we're used to tapping into new dating pools every time we change locations, we're going to be dating on a much smaller scale in 2021.

Bumble found that post-lockdown more people were inclined to date locally, especially since we've all become a bit more familiar with the communities right on our doorsteps. So could this be the year you finally fall in love with thy neighbour? At least we'll all be giving it a chance...

* Bumble survey of users in US, UK, Ireland, Canada and Australia, August 2020.

**OnePoll research in UK and ROI, June/July 2020.

This was originally published on GLAMOUR UK | Becky Freeth

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