How We're Dating Now

how to date now
How We're Dating Now Emily Lord

To navigate the modern dating landscape with any degree of success and (hopefully) a modicum of dignity intact, you’re going to need more than the fabled GSOH (good sense of humour) of old although that is a non-negotiable. You’ll also be wanting reserves of creativity and can-do spirit, open-mindedness and laser focus, not to mention a weekly
appointment with your therapist. Above all, you absolutely must have energy to spare.

Because isn’t it tiring, all this putting yourself out there? Sure, in the way that dating has always been tiring by asking us for an arsenal of sparkling small talk, the requirement to be sociable on a Tuesday night and the willingness to be interviewed about the desirability of your entire personality by a stranger who may or may not possess less emotional intelligence than a toothbrush.


But dating in 2024 is fatiguing for another reason: the rules are changing. And quickly, too. Never mind the ‘good old days’ of your parents’ generation – things are moving so fast that even 2023 can feel like a land far, far away. Even those of us who are normally plugged into the zeitgeist can find ourselves identifying with the foppish, chronically old-fashioned Tory MP Peter Mannion in The Thick of It: ‘Why is it, this last year, I’m being made to feel as if I’m always two steps behind, like I can’t program the video or convert everything back to old money?’

Things that the long-term coupled up might not understand, then: red flags and what they look like; therapy-speak and the weaponisation of it; the cost-of-loving crisis. The dating site Plenty of Fish adds ‘vision-board dating’ and ‘rizz-coloured glasses’ to its 2024 relationship predictions. But it was the apps that really changed everything, even for the cynics who actively avoid them. They have shaped romantic (or, you know, ‘romantic’) culture off-line in that they appeared to offer radical transparency: this is who I am and this is what I want.

Maskot - Getty Images

But the excess of options can leave us feeling paralysed by choice, in much the same way that you might find yourself scrolling Netflix for hours. There’s also the ease and speed that dating apps promise – when you know you can order sex faster than a takeaway pizza, it ironically leads to even more time wasting. (Side note: melted cheese rarely lets you down.)

Given all that, it’s no wonder many of us feel like heading to bed – alone. This begs the question: why do we still bother? Because… magic! There is something deeply touching about how hopeful us humans remain in our pursuit of love, even when presented with all the evidence to the contrary, with the odds stacked against us.

And it is magic that is important to highlight for the person who is single (which, by the way, is more and more of us). One of the great hopes for the new era of dating, relationships and romantic love is that it can become a part of our story, not the entire plot. Connection is essential, but if the pandemic taught us one thing, it’s that you cannot get that from just one person.

Perhaps, hopefully, just as there is a shift to saying ‘childfree’ instead of ‘childless’, we can reframe singledom not as a state of lack but of fullness. The trade for the insecurity, the tedium and the occasional loneliness of flying solo is the serendipity, the exploration, and the potential adventures that await. Just remember – having a GSOH about it all really helps.

ELLE Collective is a new community of fashion, beauty and culture lovers. For access to exclusive content, events, inspiring advice from our Editors and industry experts, as well the opportunity to meet designers, thought-leaders and stylists, become a member today HERE.

You Might Also Like