‘Wanderlove’: the 2023 dating trend all about looking for long-distance relationships

'Wanderlove may allow you to take a fresh perspective on dating and find your motivation to date again.'

casualnews
December 2nd 2022

‘Wanderlove’: the 2023 dating trend all about looking for long-distance relationships
A graphic of two hands reaching for each other over a map
‘Wanderlove’ may allow you to take a fresh perspective on dating and find your motivation to date again’ (Picture: Metro.co.uk/Getty)

Have you ever been tempted to widen your dating app catchment area?

Do you feel a bit bored with dating in your city?

Are you looking to explore possibilities back home?

Well, then you could be a Wanderluster.

This dating trend describes the idea of people looking further afield than their own city, town or area for a match.

It’s looking like it’ll be big with singles in 2023, with a third of the 14,300 Bumble users surveyed saying they are now more open to traveling for relationships with people who are not in their current city. 

The new normality of working from home has also meant that 14% have explored the idea of being a ‘digital nomad’, which necessitates a change in the way we date.

And Bumble isn’t the only dating site to have clocked this trend, with Seeking’s own study of singletons finding that 39% are open to travelling outside their city when looking for love online.

Emma Hathorn, the site’s dating expert, said: ‘Dating (TV) shows with singletons based in different locations has helped to popularise the notion of looking further afield when it comes to romance – which is also combined with our love of experience and travel.

Happy same-sex female couple walking with arm around on footpath
There are challenges to dating long distance, but you may well come to find it’s worth it (Picture: Getty Images/Westend61)

‘With the prevalent rise in dating app burnout, many are opening up to the idea of looking further afield if they find a romantic connection, and now with remote working post-pandemic the idea of long-distance relationships is much more attainable.’

Hayley Quinn, dating expert for Match, highlights plenty more reasons why we might be expanding our dating searches.

She says: ‘You may feel like you’ve exhausted your supply of local dates, or that you want to escape the frenetic dating environment of a big city.

‘Perhaps you feel like you’re more likely to click with someone from your hometown. Or you’re just so done with your current dating life, that you’re prepared to date way out of type to see what clicks.

‘Trying something new with your dating life is a great way to jolt you into the optimistic, exploratory frame of mind you need to meet someone. Whether or not someone who lives in a different part of the country (or a different country period) is really that different from your local dates, is debatable; but participating in wanderlove may allow you to take a fresh perspective on dating and find your motivation to date again.’

Laura Wilkinson-Rea, senior director of communications Northern Europe at Tinder, thinks another knock-on impact of the pandemic has been our renewed desire to spread our wings after all those restrictions.

She says: ‘After two pandemic-filled trips around the sun, singles were finally able to get back to exploring new horizons with fewer or no restrictions. Social activities, especially travel, have rebounded in record fashion this 2022.

‘This was just revealed in Tinder’s Year in Swipe report too, as mentions of “city break” reached the second spot of top UK date activities in member bios this year and 18–25-year-olds passported [a feature that allows you to search for matches in new locations by dropping a pin on a map] on average nine times a month with top passport destinations including LA, New York, and Stockholm.’

But long-distance relationships certainly still come with their own challenges.

Hayley says: ‘There’s a bigger financial and time commitment involved to keep [long-distance relationships] going, and most aren’t ultimately sustainable. At some stage, someone’s likely going to have to move.

‘You may also find it harder bringing up the topic of exclusivity when you’re not living in the same area. All of these challenges are surmountable though, and if it opens up a new pool of people to meet, why not?

‘The good news is, even if the cost of living means your travel budget is looking meagre for 2023, there are lots of principles of Wanderlove that you can incorporate into your everyday dating life. If you can give yourself permission to have fun, to explore your type, and be open-minded as to where things can go there’s no reason why you can’t experience the same outlook on dating on your own doorstep.’

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