Dating trends ‘open casting’, ‘guardrailing’ and ‘ethical sex-ploration’ are about to change our love lives


But, there is a new year ahead, which means new trends – and 70% of people globally feel positive about the romance that lies ahead.

It’s predicted by dating app Bumble that next year dating will be more focused on challenging the norms and finding more balance.

Studies also show that more men are considering how they treat women in dating contexts, in an attempt to move beyond toxic masculinity. 

Naomi Walkland at Bumble says: ‘We’ve seen that people on Bumble are now prioritising identifying and clearly articulating their boundaries.

‘These boundaries can be emotional, like being upfront about what they want, or recognising red and green flags.

‘They can also be physical, like ensuring they don’t overcommit themselves, or financial, like encouraging candid conversations about previously taboo topics.’

The dating landscape is changing – and here’s what you should expect more of.

Open casting

This involves doing away with unhelpful dating ideals.

Always gone for someone tall? It’s time to let that go and look at who else you’re missing out on.

The narrow search for our physical ‘type’ is not serving us. 

The opposite of type-casting, open casting is a result of 1 in 3 people now being more open to who they consider dating beyond their ‘type’.


There’s a feeling of overwhelm socially, culturally and politically right now.

This has forced us to assert our boundaries and more than 52% of Bumble users have established more boundaries over the last year. 

This includes being clearer about what we need emotionally and being more intentional about how we put ourselves out there.

Love-life balance

Career ambitions are no longer top of the list – more than half of people are prioritising rest and play, even more so since the pandemic.

Perhaps surprisingly, 13% of people are no longer willing to date someone who has a very demanding job.

It’s becoming more important to be on the same wavelength about finding balance.


A third of people on Bumble say they are now more open to travel and relationships with people who are not in their current city. 

Post-pandemic working from home flexibility means that 14% of us have explored the idea of being a ‘digital nomad’ – which naturally changes your dating life.

Ethical sex-ploration

More of us are approaching sex, intimacy, and dating in an open and exploratory way – over half of us now believe it’s important to discuss sexual wants and needs early on into dating. 

Over the past year, 20% have explored their sexuality more, and rising numbers are considering a non-monogamous relationship.

But this doesn’t mean we’re having more sex – a third of people weren’t having any at all at the time this survey was done, and are content with that.

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