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Dating trends for 2024, as explained by an expert

Dating trends for 2024, as explained by an expert
From "micro-flirting" to "slow dating", a new year has brought with it new dating trends. We dive into the latest with relationship coach Jonathan Hartley
Typically, with the new year, we set new goals and resolutions and often re-download dating apps to get back on the market and find someone special.
Relationship coach Jonathan Hartley from PositivesDating has revealed the top dating trends of 2024. This year, trends focus on mental health, wellbeing, and trying new things. These trends can help you understand the mindset of the dating pool and prepare you for potential connections in 2024. 

Contra-dating 

The term "contra-dating" is used when you want to broaden your horizon and contradict yourself and your usual type by going for someone you would not usually go for. Having a type when looking for a romantic connection is very normal. However, this can narrow down the dating pool and decrease your chances of finding a potential partner.
"Dating someone not your type may indicate to yourself that what you want is not what you necessarily need"
If your preferences are all physical, it is best to reevaluate and open up to some other potential candidates. Physical attributes will change over time, and core values will remain the same. It is best to remember that emotional connection, beliefs, and reciprocity affect your physical attraction to someone.
Furthermore, dating someone not your type may indicate to yourself that what you want is not what you necessarily need. You may experience a different outlook on life and relationships or even be exposed to activities, foods, or hobbies you usually would have passed on.

Age is just a number   

2024 is the year to experience connections with people older or younger than you. According to Bumble, users are widening their age range filters, with over 63 per cent of people surveyed revealing that age is not a defining factor when dating.
Happy couple
Let go of any personal rules surrounding how old a potential partner must be; not only will this widen the dating pool, but you will also realise that what a partner has to offer is less about age and more about values and personal goals.
Though an age gap may seem daunting, remembering that some celebrity couples have significant age gaps may make the idea of dating someone younger or older more desirable. Some examples include Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds, who have an age gap of 11 years; Beyonce and Jay-Z, who have an age gap of 12 years; and Heidi Klum and Tom Kaulitz, who have an age gap of 16 years.

Micro-flirting 

"Micro-flirting" is a fairly new term, used to describe flirting in a subtle, not-so-obvious way and is usually done to gauge if one person is interested in the other. Micro-flirting will be on the rise in 2024 as highlighted through search volume data, as worldwide searches for micro-flirting have increased over the last month, according to Google Trends.
"This subtle form of flirting is excellent if you want to protect yourself from rejection"
Some examples of micro-flirting include noticing small details that have changed, subtle changes in body language when the other person is around or becoming defensive or protective of the other person. This subtle form of flirting is excellent if you want to protect yourself from rejection.

Death to ghosting

Ghosting, used when someone suddenly ends all communication with you, is very common in the dating community and must be left in 2023. Ghosting can leave people feeling confused, irritated, and unwanted, negatively impacting self-confidence. Therefore, it should be considered an immediate red flag and a sign of poor communication.
Getting ghosted
There are numerous reasons why people may "ghost" you; these range from emotional unavailability, attachment styles, or just feeling overwhelmed. If you suspect you are getting ghosted, do not let feelings linger; try to communicate with them maturely. If they do not respond to your messages, it is better to protect your feelings and avoid contacting them further.
If someone has ghosted you, one way to deal with this is by hearing the experiences of others. The TikTok hashtags #Ghosted, #IGotGhosted and #GotGhosted have over 1.7 billion combined views and include videos highlighting ghosting experiences and comebacks and how you can protect yourself if it happens again.

Putting your foot on the break

Experiences such as ghosting can impact mental health and the dating experience can become very draining. This is why it is vital to protect yourself and prioritise self-care. According to a survey carried out by dating site Bumble, 58 per cent of users are becoming more self-aware and cautious when dating to protect their mental health.
"It is vital to protect yourself and prioritise self-care"
They also found that 31 per cent of users surveyed are "slow dating", the term used for when one is more considerate of how often they go on dates and generally takes things slow to build an emotional connection in a pressure-free and relaxed environment. The build-up to creating a connection with a partner can be overwhelming; if it does not go well, it can be mentally draining, which is why slow is best.

Real men do cry  

2024 could be the year when men realise that vulnerability is vital to improving relationships and breaking cycles of toxic mentalities that can plague young men. 2023 prompted many conversations regarding masculinity and vulnerability, with significant moments in pop culture, such as the Barbie movie, having underlying themes of toxic masculinity and gender roles.
Vulnerability is an essential aspect of a relationship; it can signify trust as you are willing to put yourself at "risk" by sharing the most emotionally intimate part of yourself. This can help build or improve a strong foundation for a lasting relationship, regardless if the relationship is platonic or romantic.
It is important to remember that people have varying emotional needs; some prefer emotional connection prior to any physical connection, and some may need a physical connection before opening up to an emotional connection.
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