Dating trends are shifting in the U.S. as singles opt for cheaper and more intentional dates. The pandemic, the economy, and a changing cultural landscape, are having a prolonged effect on how people are looking for love.
One of the biggest changes is the relationship between dating and alcohol. A recent survey found that over a third of the people using the dating app Hinge are more willing to go on a sober date now than a year before. This is especially apparent among young people using the app, with 31% of 18 to 24-year-olds using Hinge saying they don’t drink on their dates.
The dating app Tinder shows a similar trend. From 2020 to 2021, references to “sober” went up 26% in members’ dating profiles, and this year it’s up another 22%. “Beach” and “picnic” references also went up from the start of this year, which might mean that people are more interested in outdoor dates rather than meeting at bars.
The non-drinking aspect of dating might stem from the pandemic and alcoholic recovery programs that a lot of people got into after lockdowns shifted their habits. When people returned to normal life, a lot of them noticed a potential problem with their drinking habits and took action to fix it.
Another aspect of the shift is the state of the economy. Going to the beach or on a picnic is also a lot cheaper than buying drinks, and there is evidence that single people are trying to be more economical with their dating habits. Out of 3,000 people on Hinge, nearly 41% said they were more worried about how much dating costs now versus last year. OKCupid, another dating site, found that 34% of 70,000 users said inflation was affecting their dating life.
Money is also impacting the type of people users find attractive. OKCupid users who say they stick to a budget got 16% more matches and 7% more likes over three months than those who said they didn’t.
According to Match’s most recent “Singles in America” survey, which includes 5,000 Americans ages 18 to 75, 86% of singles want a partner with the same or higher income, which is up from 70% in 2019. The same report also found that more people are prioritizing someone who is emotionally mature over a person who is attractive physically.
People are also being more honest and upfront on their dates — something that Hinge’s director of relationship science last year called “hardballing.” People are being more open about what they want early in a relationship. A Mashable report suggests that since the pandemic, dates have also included more intense discussions, which has continued into this year.