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Image / Self / Relationships

The 2024 dating trends say a lot about our relationship priorities


By Sarah Finnan
16th Nov 2023
The 2024 dating trends say a lot about our relationship priorities

Cuffing season is here, but what's in store for the dating world in 2024? We asked the experts to weigh in.

Every year around this time, the phrase “cuffing season” reenters our lexicon. A term used to describe the phenomenon of singletons wanting to settle down for the colder months, it seems to be in direct contrast to “hot girl summer” (a time of year when people generally just want to have fun and aren’t necessarily interested in getting into a relationship). 

Needless to say, dating terminology has changed dramatically over the last few years – largely thanks to the internet and the myriad apps out there. Not only that, but dating trends have changed too… particularly in the wake of the pandemic. 

Whether you want to partake in cuffing season or not, there are a few things to look out for and Bumble, the women-first social networking and dating app, has kindly shared their annual predictions for the new trends that will shape dating in the new year. 

2022’s trends focused on rediscovery as people emerged into an almost Covid-free world with new priorities, new learnings and yes, new dating goals. This year, the world of online dating was more focused on challenging the status quo and finding balance in how you juggle life, love and everything in between. As for next year? According to Bumble’s research, 2024 is set to be ‘Year of Self’. 

Compiling insights from a survey of 25,000 users, the data shows that over the next 12 months, singletons will be looking inward when it comes to establishing what they value and want in a relationship. You might have dating fatigue right now but don’t lose hope as it’s a time for great optimism – more than half (57%) of women surveyed said that they’re going into the new year with a clear view of what they want from their romantic lives, which is uber positive.   

So, what exactly should singletons expect from the dating world? Below are the key dating trends to look out for in 2024…

Age is but a number
For 63% of people, age is no longer a defining factor with more than half (59%) of women saying they are now more open to dating someone younger than them. Times are changing as are our attitudes with 45% of Irish women claiming that age gaps in relationships become less significant as partners get older. 

Take me as I am
Looking ahead to 2024, experts predict that singletons will be rebelling against the constant self-improvement pressure that social media has cultivated with 68% of women taking active steps to be happier with who they are here and now. In fact, 40% of women surveyed said they will now only date people who won’t try to change them. 

What matters most?
Singles today are looking for shared priorities and expect their partners to not only care about social causes, but to actively engage in them too. ‘Val-Core’ refers to the rise of people valuing engagement on issues that matter to them. Research also cites that women are less open to dating someone with differing political views to them – for a third of women, it’s a turn-off if potential paramours aren’t aware of current societal issues. 

Quality over quantity
As per Bumble’s research, daters are reframing how they date to better protect their mental health, with almost 1 in 3 people actively ‘slow-dating’ – i.e. being more considerate/intentional about how much they are dating. 

Right in the feels
While attraction is obviously important in a relationship, it’s only one of many factors that should be taken into account. According to the data, almost a third (32%) of people said that emotional intimacy is now more important to them than sex – with many admitting that it’s actually more seductive than physical connection. Of the women surveyed, 83% noted that it was important to them that potential partners have an understanding of both emotional and physical intimacy.

Ken-ergy
Conversations about masculinity and gender roles have dominated public discourse this year… when it comes to relationships, 25% of male survey respondents said that they have actively changed their behaviour, becoming more vulnerable and open with people they are dating than ever before. For a quarter of men, this new-found openness has had a positive impact on their mental health while 32% claim that a lack of vulnerability is now a dating dealbreaker for them. In Ireland, Gen Z is driving this trend with almost a third of men saying that their male friends are increasingly practising healthy masculinity.

Timeline decline
People, especially women, continue to feel constant pressure to follow traditional relationship timelines. Into 2024, experts predict that we’ll see the decline of timelines in favour of women choosing to actively build their own path, with 1 in 3 (31%) women saying they are no longer focused on adhering to traditional timelines and milestones. Of those surveyed, 72% admitted that they’re looking for a long-term relationship while only 23% said they’re looking for a spouse. For nearly a third (31%) of women, this means only dating people who have the same perspective on timelines and milestones. More than 1 in 4 (28%) of Irish women say seeing posts from friends online makes them worry that they aren’t meeting traditional timelines.

MVP (Most Valuable Partner)
Perhaps it’s the influence of Taylor Swift and her new beau, American football star Travis Kelce, but experts say that sports is set to take a front seat in dating next year. For 1 in 3 (31%) singles, a shared love of sports has now become a ‘must have’, regardless of whether you’re a player or simply a spectator.  Our obsession with sports is also changing how we date with almost a quarter of people (24%) saying that attending sporting matches/events together is important to them. This is especially true amongst Gen-Z and Millennial singles.

Research was conducted by Bumble using internal polling between September 21st – 26th 2023 with a sample of 26,849 Bumble members around the world, including Ireland.