The Future of Dating: 8 Dating Trends Singles Can Expect from 2021

The Future of Dating: 8 Dating Trends Singles Can Expect from 2021

Between a worldwide pandemic, the biggest civil rights movement of our generation, and the most important U.S. presidential election in modern history, this year has been a wild ride for singles around the world.

But through the ups and downs, one thing was clear: people wanted to find love more than ever before. Love under lockdown sparked a new wave of romance, and we’ve seen relationships form and flourish even while in isolation. 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.

As 2020 is coming to an end, we analyzed this year’s dating landscape shift to help us predict the dating trends for 2021:


Over the years, daters on apps have mentioned climate change more than 6 million times. Not only do nearly 2 million people on OkCupid believe climate change is real, but 85% of Millennial respondents and 84% of Gen Z respondents are concerned about the climate crisis. With climate change continuing to be a major talking point globally, we are finding that more and more people’s passion for the planet is becoming a steamy subject and a topic to bond over.


In the past year, more than 340,000 people on said they consider themselves activists — and young women are really leading this trend. Recently, 48% of Gen Z women and 41% of Millennial women said they consider themselves activists, and Gen Z overall was 11% more likely than Millennials to self-identify as activists. And 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.

Borderless love

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. Plus, more than 1.5 million people on OkCupid are now open to a long-distance relationship. But it’s not just cross-border love people are looking for. Singles are dating outside their cultural backgrounds at unprecedented rates. On OkCupid, 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.

Inner-Party Dating

On OkCupid more than 2 million people answered the question “Do you prefer that your date shares your political views?” with 64% of respondents agreeing: cross-party dating 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 2019, 53% of respondents said they couldn’t date someone whose political views were the opposite of theirs — and that ratio jumped to 60% in 2020.


Dating app usage reached unprecedented levels this year. In fact, 92% of Plenty of Fish respondents around the world said they were continuing to find love under lockdown, and almost 30% of singles reported going on at least one virtual date while quarantining. With people continuing to spend more time on the app, we’re going to see a shift towards singles paying closer attention to their dating profile pictures. Since daters are stuck at home with no concert or vacation photos to upload, they are taking more selfies to keep their profiles up to date.POF latest research reveals that 95% of daters think smiling selfies are best.


More than 5 million people on said couples should live together before considering getting married — 89% of respondents in 2020 agkCupidree — and the pandemic only accelerated couples shacking up. As daters continue to match on what matters, this relationship milestone will come sooner than ever before in 2021, especially as 1 million daters admit they don’t like living alone.

Slow Dating

As the pressure of rushing to meet up with someone IRL vanishes, we’re going to see a rise in “slow dating” — a blend of deeper conversations and more romance through digital and virtual dating. Among 1 million respondents during lockdown, 84% of people on think it’s important to have an emotional connection before a physical one. And this slowdown in dating is leading to more women taking control of their love lives. For example, women on in the US are sending more intro messages during the pandemic than they were this time last year


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. More than half of OkCupid respondents from around the world (59%) said the recent pandemic has made them more motivated towards future adventures, with outdoor dates proving a popular option for socially distanced meet-ups. So once the weather’s warm, a social-distanced hike or run in the park might be the way into your match’s heart.

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