‘Thunderberging’ and ‘advo-dating’ will be 2021’s biggest dating trends

It’s no understatement that dating has changed a LOT in the COVID-era. Just what looking for love look like in the year following? Dating app OKCupid had some insight. 

2020 has been a transformative year for dating around the world. The pandemic and subsequent lack of socialising have forced more singles than ever to embrace dating apps and foster relationships online; while climate catastrophes have led many to wanting a partner who shares their world views.

Drawing on recent data from their well-known matching questions, OKCupid is predicting the biggest dating trends of 2021 from 450 million answers from around the world, and interestingly political and social values at the forefront.

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2021’s biggest dating trends


2020 witnessed civil rights protests around the world, after the killing of George Floyd by police officers in Minneapolis shed global light on the issue of excessive force towards Black people not just in the USA but Australia, too.

Protests took place globally, attended by many who had never participated in a demonstration before, and more than 310,000 people on OKCupid consider themselves activists.

“With over two million responses to our new questions about racial equality, we’re confident this trend of daters looking for fellow advocates will only increase in 2021,” the study says.

Inner-party dating

Could you be in a romantic relationship with someone who voted differently?

In an increasingly polarised world, 60 percent of OKCupid daters said they prefer their date to share their political views, while 60 percent also said they flat out couldn’t date someone whose political views were the opposite of theirs.

Most respondents agree “cross-party dating does not work in modern relationships,” said OKCupid.

“In 2021, we’re going to see more people are refusing to date outside party lines.”


Climate change is a major existential risk facing humanity, with its effects felt around the world, and this dating trend in relation to teenage environmental activist Greta Thunberg.

Singles are also using their opinions on climate change to mould their dating pool, with 85 percent of Millennial respondents and 84 percent of Gen Z respondents in OKCupid’s data said they “are concerned about the climate crisis”.

“With climate change continuing to be a major talking point globally, OkCupid is finding that more and more people’s passion for the planet is becoming a steamy subject and a topic to bond over,” the dating app said.

Other big dating trends for 2021:

  • Slow dating and prioritising romance

84 percent think it’s important to have an emotional connection before a physical one.

The pandemic accelerated couples shacking up as 1 million said they didn’t like living alone.

30 percent reported going on at least one virtual date while quarantining leading to a shift towards singles paying closer attention to their dating profile pictures.

1.5 million people are now open to a long-distance relationship. 15 percent more likely to connect with users of a different religion.

59 percent said the recent pandemic has made them more motivated towards future adventures, with outdoor dates proving a popular option for socially distanced meet-ups.