Intentional Dating Is the Post-Pandemic Relationship Trend We Can Get Behind
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The pandemic has changed a lot of things about our lives, from our workout routines to how thoroughly we wash our hands. Apparently, it’s also changed how we date. That’s according to a new report from the dating app Hinge that points to a rise in what they’re calling intentional dating. Read on for everything you need to know about this relationship trend that’s actually kind of wonderful.

What Is Intentional Dating?

Hinge Labs, Hinge’s research team dedicated to helping people delete the app, found that “singles took time during the pandemic to reflect on their dating lives, leading them to slow down, really think about who they are looking for, put a stop to bad dating habits and become more intentional about dating.” Basically, people are less and less interested in swiping on everyone who doesn't have a major red flag and are becoming more mindful about their approach to dating.

Why? Hinge Lab theorizes that an increased sense of self-awareness and empathy gained during the past year will inspire singles to be more intentional on their dating journeys, and ultimately inspire a new wave of relationships.
Here are just a few stats that point to a shift in the mindset of daters post-COVID-19:

  • 2 out of 3 Hinge users want to change the way they date once it is safe to meet in person again
  • 45 percent of Hinge users reported developing new healthy dating habits during the pandemic
  • Since March, more than two-thirds of Hinge users are thinking more about who they’re really looking for
  • Half of Hinge users said they’ve stopped chasing after people who aren’t interested in them
  • 1 in 3 Hinge users feel even more urgency to find a partner since the pandemic began and more than half reported that they're ready for a long-term, serious relationship

What Does Intentional Dating Look Like in Practice?

It’s actually pretty similar to slow dating. Per the dating app Bumble, slow dating is the trend of “people taking the time to get to know each other and build a connection before deciding if they want to pursue the relationship or meet in person.” Think: Instead of swiping on a bunch of people and setting up three dates in a week with people you may or may not like, intentional dating is about taking a little more time to screen potential partners before meeting in person.

According to experts, taking it slow is probably a healthier approach. Susan Trombetti, matchmaker and CEO of Exclusive Matchmaking sees it as a positive shift. “People tended to swipe too much on dating apps, trying to find their ‘perfect type,’ which doesn't exist,” she says. At a more relaxed, conscientious pace, someone’s once self-fulfilling “non-existent” dating pool has now expanded. And the data doesn’t lie: 38 percent of people on Bumble say lockdown made them want something more serious. In Trombetti’s matchmaking experience, singles haven’t lost anything. Instead, “[They’ve] gained a big dating pool of people that take relationships more seriously, and that has been a wonderful tradeoff for any opportunities you feel you lost. When you do connect with someone, they aren't as superficial about dating and your chances of building a real relationship have increased dramatically.” 

How Do Daters Feel About It?

In a non-scientific poll of some of our single friends, it seems that folks are more than ready to be more intentional about dating. Allie, 30, says, “I’ve been tired of the endless ‘swipe, go on one or two dates, repeat’ cycle that’s been happening for the past few years. I’m not necessarily more interested in being in a relationship than I was before, but I’m definitely more into the idea of being more intentional about how I date.” For her part, Elle, 37, who got out of a relationship just before the pandemic started, notes, “I’m actually super excited to hear about this trend. I only have so many surface level ‘do you have any siblings’ drink dates left in me.” Hear, hear, sister.

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