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Is zen dating going to be your style in 2024?

2024 is all about taking it slow and simple, when it comes to relationships. People are prioritising mental health by looking at ‘zen dating’ and ‘soul snuggling’ in the new year

One of the biggest shifts of the upcoming year will be cross-generational dating.
One of the biggest shifts of the upcoming year will be cross-generational dating. (Pixabay)

In 2023, we heard of many trends gain speed. Terms such as ‘ghosting’ and ‘zombie-ing’ became part of our daily lexicon. The dating terms seem to get only more complicated each passing year. However, 2024 is expected to bring in simplicity. The priority will shift to mental health, with hardly any takers for toxic masculinity. 

The recent forecasts by dating apps, Bumble and QuackQuack,  suggest that people will no longer be willing to accept bare minimum efforts in relationships. They will look beyond the initial sparks, test emotional compatibility, and be less rigid in their approach. Here is a look at some of the trends that are set to take centre-stage in 2024.

Also read: First Bumble, now QuackQuack: Dating trends for 2023 show a mindset shift in relationships

Age-gap will not be a problem

One of the biggest shifts of the coming year will be cross-generational dating. In Bumble’s 2024 dating trends report, two in three of the 25,000 surveyed people said age is not a defining factor any more. QuackQuack’s Dating in 2024 report too revealed a similar trend: About 20% of Gen Z and millennials from tier 1 and 2 cities are dating people from different generations. This brings to the table different perspectives, experiences, and a unique mix of modern and traditional values.

“Today, more people seem to be okay with dating someone who is a couple of years younger or older. The whole idea of women not dating men who are younger is not really relevant anymore. As long as they feel a match in the maturity level, they have no qualms in investing in the relationships,” says dating coach Radhika Mohta. 

Emotional intimacy is key

This year, words such as ‘slow’ and ‘intentional’ appeared often during conversations with people. There seemed to be a growing exhaustion around mechanical right swipes, an array of first dates and meaningless conversations. Bumble’s report shows that more people are looking for emotional availability, and a relationship in which they can feel secure and understood. A third of the surveyed users said emotional intimacy is more important than sex, and also more attractive than a physical connection.

QuackQuack’s report added that 33% of women, between the ages of 20 and 30, are looking for emotionally snug bonds through shared feelings. “It’s the initial conversations and how much they can understand each other that matters. If someone comes on a date with no intention of having a conversation, then people are walking out,” Mohta says.

One of the reasons people are focusing on emotional connections, and taking their time, is because they are noticing the divorces and separations happening around them. “They want to be sure and not rush things,” Mohta adds.

No comprises on mental health

Recognising signs of incompatibility and unhealthy behaviour, and the refusal to put up with disrespectful behaviour are some ways in which people have been intentionally prioritising their mental well-being.

According to QuackQuack’s report, 2024 will be the year of ‘zen dating’, with 41% of daters from across cities revealing that if a match or relationship affects their mental peace, it is not worth pursuing.

Perfection is passe

Nowadays everyone seems to be working on self-improvement and being the best version of themselves. This has left many people feeling that they are not good enough, and have to take up activities much beyond their comfort zone. The Bumble report revealed that 1 in 4 (24%) respondents have felt unworthy of a partner.

However, in 2024, singles are emerging from the cocoon of such expectations and entering the dating space just the way they are. They no longer want to be perfect nor are they seeking perfection from others. In the report, 40% of women said they will now only date people who won’t try to change them.

Keeping it low-key

People are leaning towards keeping their relationship under wraps rather than showing it off. 26% of men and women, above 28 years of age, prefer to not fully reveal their partner’s identity until there's assurance that the relationship has a future.

According to Mohta, this is also because people don’t want to attract unnecessary criticism. “My husband and I told about our relationship just to our family and inner circle. There was no social media posting because once you put yourself out there, people feel the right to judge or ask intrusive questions,” she explains.

Also read: The ‘girly’ trends that signal burnout

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