Finding love was already complicated in the 21st century, what with casual hookups being the expected norm in today’s world, and along came the COVID-19 pandemic, locking people in their houses and making conventional dating something of the past.
This meant that single people had to get extra creative in order to adapt to the changing times, and one such futuristic trend to look forward to is explori-dating.
The trend was first predicted by Bumble, one of the most popular dating apps in the U.S., which reported a 10.9 percent increase in monthly active users in the final quarter of 2020, amid the ongoing coronavirus health crisis.
Bumble, a dating app where women get to be in the front seat when it comes to making the first move, has come up with a list of dating trends for 2022, and explori-dating happens to be one of them.
What is explori-dating?
Explori-dating is a mash-up of the words “exploring” and “dating.”
For single men and women, who are fully vaccinated, going back into the physical dating world from what they got used to – essentially chatting on online dating apps with that occasional video call snuck in – would feel like being reintroduced to humanity at large. At a time when people kept their physical interactions with each other at a bare minimum for months or even a year, preferring to work from home, the order in groceries, and stay away from public places, having a face-to-face rendezvous with a date is going to take some getting used to.
So, it’s going to be “new.” And explori-dating is exactly that. The trend is all about wiping one’s brain clean of what one normally thinks their “type” is and instead, do diving in the pond for potential fishes that one would not have otherwise gone for. The pandemic has taught most people to venture out of their comfort zones and try out hobbies they either did not have time for before or would have never typically taken up. This has made them adventurous in a way, more open to taking risks.
The endless dating apps have already given millennials and the Gen Z population and a platform to understand the kind of relationships that would work out well for them and the ones which wouldn’t. With that understanding, they now want to explore and see if they can ‘vibe’ with a probable romantic interest. They also want to find out which ones are complete deal-breakers.
So come 2022, most of the people who are getting reoriented with the dating scene might categorize their “type” as “exploratory.”
Explori-dating: Prioritizing emotional availability over appearance
After the pandemic claimed millions of lives worldwide, an increasing number of people are turning to genuine connections rather than carrying on with meaningless casual flings. As a result, 61 percent of people globally have said they are now focusing on choosing someone who would be emotionally available, while almost a quarter – about 23 percent said that they care less about physical appearances.
“For some people, they have broadened their definition of what they are looking for,” Lucille McCart, APAC Communications Director at Bumble, told ELLE.
“And others are making completely new choices when it comes to what they are looking for in a partner.” She added that people “are now prioritizing emotional availability” and “care less about a partner’s physical appearance than they did before the pandemic.”
If one thinks this is too big of a change, McCart assures that it was, in fact, a healthy behavior. She added, “Physical attraction is important, but it’s not what makes you fall in love with someone while being able to connect emotionally with your partner is what will build the foundations of a strong relationship. Don’t just go for the same old type that you have always gone for—think outside the box, and you may find your perfect match.”
Other dating trends
Some of the other trends as predicted by Bumble to be potentially game-changing in 2022 include “fast-forwarding,” “consciously single,” and “power PDA.”
For example, “fast-forwarding” refers to daters drastically changing what they are looking for in a partner in accordance with their priorities in life. On the other hand, the trend of choosing to be “consciously single” is pretty much self-explanatory – the fact that you choose to be partner-less and are in no hurry to find a love interest. Such a mindset can be quite strong and empowering in a way where self-love is the individual’s primary focus.
With vaccination rates rising across the globe, so is the trend of “power PDA.” Celebrity couples like Megan Fox and Machine Gun Kelly, and Kourtney Kardashian, and Travis Barker can be cited for explaining this trend.
Globally, nearly 70 percent of couples have said that they were more open to public displays of affection even though the pandemic is still on.