Preparing for the New Dating World in 2022: Improve Dating with Psychology

January 1, 2022 |Gideon Hanekom

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The same way technology and business has changed, the world of romance is quickly changing as well. In this post, we’re discussing how that change might affect dating in 2022, what to expect for our prospective romantic partners and how to possibly improve dating using some psychological insights.

Learn about the new trends in dating and relationships.

The dating and relationship landscape is constantly changing and you want to stay ahead of the curve, it’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest trends.

So before we look at how to improve your dating life, what are some of the new trends in dating and relationships you need to be aware of?

improve dating

According to a Plenty of Fish poll of nearly 6,700 USA-based PoF users (ages 18-60 with 62% identifying as male and 37% female) in October 2021, 2022 data backed dating trends include things like:

  • Baecationing: this is the practice of inviting a blind date or someone you’ve just started dating on vacation because life is short and you only live once! This tendency has affected more than one-third (38%) of singles and 43% of Gen-Z.
  • Communidating: This is the act of using dating applications for purposes other than dating and intimate relationships. In fact, 50% of singles, including 57% of Gen-Z, have formed new friendships this year through dating apps.
  • Dar-WIN-ing: This is the practice of refusing to date someone who does not believe in science. From flat-earthers to anti-vaxxers, one-third of singles, including nearly a quarter of Gen-Z, know someone who has done this.
  • Déjà vu-ing: This refers to repeating actions with a new partner that you did with your ex. One-third of singles have done this to someone they were dating, and 52% know someone who has.
  • Gambiting: This refers to the idea of approaching dating in a strategic and methodical manner, similar to a game of chess (like in the Netflix series “The Queen’s Gambit,” hence the term). As it turns out, 31% of singles admit to gambiting, including one-third of Gen-Z.
  • Handticipation: This refers to anxiety caused by not knowing what physical boundaries are acceptable due to social distancing from the current pandemic, such as whether to embrace, handshake, or wave to your date. This trend has been experienced by 64% of singles recently.
  • Hesidating: This relates to feeling apathetic towards dating, confused whether to date seriously or casually because life, in general, is so uncertain right now. According to this poll, 70% of singles feel hesidating is a very real thing.
  • Megxit-ing: This refers to leaving a poisonous relationship with relatives and friends that is affecting your relationship. A staggering 50% of singles, including 57% of Gen Z, have done so, following in the footsteps of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle who walked away from the Royal family in 2020.
  • Moderna Love: is a desirable attribute that takes into account COVID-19 vaccination statistics, including which vaccination was received. Vax status is now a dating must-have.
  • Resigning: This refers to the act of terminating a serious relationship as a result of new insight and clarity gained because of the pandemic. One in every five women has done so, as have one-quarter of the Baby Boomers.
  • Transformate-ing: This refers to morphing into your counterpart by wearing similar clothes and behaving like them. 26% of singles, including 49% of Gen-Z, have experienced it.
  • Weekend Up-Dating: This refers to the idea of using each new relationship as a springboard to meet someone even more gorgeous, successful, and with whom you have greater chemistry. According to this poll, one-in-five singles claim they “upgrade” with each new relationship.

Now, some people would argue that apart from the new terms, some of these concepts aren’t novel at all. They have been around for ages.

Regardless, however, the more important question is how should you respond to these in an attempt to improve dating in your life?

The simple answer is, it depends.

It depends on the situation, person involved, your dating goals, your season of life, and a whole range of other stuff.

So, the honest answer here is there’s no one way to approach the new trends in dating like it’s always been the case with anything new, but there are a few things to keep in mind.

First, be open-minded and willing to try new things.

If you’re not comfortable with something, that’s OK, but don’t be afraid to communicate openly about it and also venture outside your comfort zone.

Second, be respectful of your date’s interests and boundaries.

If they’re not interested in something, don’t disrespect them.

If they don’t want to try something, then respect that.

It doesn’t matter if you don’t understand the reasoning behind it.

Finally, dating should be enjoyable, so relax and go with the flow.

If something doesn’t work out, accept that.

Move on and find something that does.

The goal is to not hurt anyone’s feelings but to explore different situations and meet different people in the hope of finding a good match.

So, it’s supposed to be fun.

improve dating

But apart from approaching dating with an open mind, what else could you do to potentially improve dating in 2022?

More specifically, what can you learn from psychology that can help you improve dating in the future?

Understand the psychology of dating and relationships.

First of all, I would point out that to be successful in dating and relationships, it is important to understand the psychology of dating and relationships.

This includes understanding how people think, feel, and behave in romantic relationships.

It is also important to understand the different stages of a relationship and how to navigate them.

However, in this section, I want to refer to a research paper that looked at the ideal in relationships that positively correlate with relationship satisfaction and fulfilment.

The reason I want to do that is that I believe there’s an argument to be made for how to approach and improve dating by starting with the end in mind (to quote the late Stephen Covey).

I believe that should a person understand what decades of relationship research are telling us about what makes for a happy and lasting long term relationship, and apply that to dating, they can instantly start playing the dating game more strategically (“Gambiting”), with more intent, and avoid time-wasters.

In her recent NZ Herald article, “Top ways to improve your dating life in 2022,” New Zealand-based podcaster Jana Hocking refers to the advice by dating coach Mel Schilling who says,

“Get clear on your goals – what do you want from dating…The key is to make sure that the tactics you are using match the goal you are working towards. So stop making yourself available to people you know who are only looking for a good time.”

Mel Schilling, Dating Coach

I like that a lot and is what I’m getting at here.

Intention determines one’s action, and it’s no different when it comes to improving your dating life.

So, what does some psychology research say about dating and relationships?

In their 2015 paper, “Not All Ideals Are Equal: Intrinsic and Extrinsic Ideals in Relationships,” Rodriguez et al. discuss a couple of critically important concepts regarding relationship satisfaction and fulfilment, which one could argue could (and should) change how someone approaches dating in 2022.

One could argue that if a person makes these elements that actually contribute to relationship fulfilment and satisfaction their criterion for dating, the dating experience as a whole will improve.

For instance, they examine whether all ideals (intrinsic and extrinsic) are equally predictive of satisfying relationships.

To begin, that appears to be a critical question to ask if you want to improve dating.

Secondly, their findings indicate that not all ideals are equally predictive.

In other words,

Not all qualities we seek in potential partners are equal, since not all qualities predict long-term happiness and fulfilment.

Unless you’re only dating for casual sex or meeting new people, this is a crucial notion to keep in mind if you’re looking for a potentially successful love connection.

Rodriguez et al. (2015) discovered that more intrinsic values, such as being warm, empathetic, and honest, were significantly more correlated with relationship satisfaction than more extrinsic criteria, such as being attractive or possessing resources (i.e., being wealthy).

improve dating

Additionally, and perhaps most significantly, when these internal ideals were attained, extrinsic ideal-perception consistency played no role in predicting relationship quality.

In other words,

When you find someone who is warm, caring, and honest, exterior qualities such as appearance and income have little bearing on the quality of the relationship.

Therefore, one must instantly consider this and question, “What does this suggest for the way I select or have selected dating partners thus far?”

Furthermore, Rodriguez et al. discovered that satisfying extrinsic ideals are relevant only when intrinsic ideals are not fulfilled.

This finding is consistent with earlier studies indicating that when basic needs are not satisfied, individuals may compensate with extrinsic desires such as fame or fortune.

In other words,

When we find someone who lacks the goods necessary to fulfil us internally, we settle for exterior factors such as wealth and reputation.

This effectively results in the cliche of marrying a wealthy person and ending up with a miserable life but sucking it up because the perks are pretty good.

Additionally, they found it intriguing that this compensating relationship developed for satisfaction but not for need fulfilment.

Moreover, they note an intriguing tendency in their findings, namely that greater endorsement of extrinsic values (e.g., wealth and appearance) was associated with lower need fulfilment.

This finding is consistent with research on self-determination theory, which has discovered that placing a higher premium on extrinsic aspirations (e.g., wealth, fame) is associated with lower well-being because it obstructs the pursuit of intrinsic aspirations, which are strongly linked to need fulfilment.

While this may seem like a lot, if you wrap your head around what this research study is saying, it’s easy to see why so many people who are now dating are encountering difficulties and relationship dead ends.

While modern internet dating tools have simplified the process of connecting, they have also accidentally transformed the entire dating game into a figurative shopping spree with actual people as commodities.

As some psychologists have noted, while elements such as online dating apps and websites have altered the dating landscape and necessitated new techniques or ways to find potential mates in the modern era, when it comes to relationships, certain things must be done the old-fashioned way.

improve dating

I would suggest that by returning to this fundamental idea, one might potentially alter how dating occurs in general, regardless of the technologies available.

When we recognise that online dating tools are just that, tools, and cannot replace the essence of human connection and what makes for successful and enduring relationships (as already observed), a person’s approach to dating as a whole can be improved, hopefully with greater results.

However, when we begin to view online dating apps as online menus from which we can select whatever “meal” we’re in the mood for, and treat others accordingly, we’re not only setting ourselves up for dating failure, but also for a disastrous future with romantic relationships in general.

Start the new year off by evaluating your goals for dating and relationships.

If you’re single, it’s time to set some dating goals for yourself in the New Year.

And as the dating coach mentioned earlier, when you set out to improve dating in 2022, it’s crucial to be very clear about what you want to get out of dating.

Maybe you’d like to find someone to date, or maybe you just want to improve your relationship skills.

Perhaps you just want to have casual sex with more people.

Whatever your goal, make sure that you’re clear about it, so that when a date comes along, you’ll be able to focus on the actions need for the outcomes you desire.

Whatever your goals may be, make sure to take the time to evaluate them and make a plan to achieve them.

Ensure to set clear goals because setting clear goals allows you to focus your efforts on a specific target.

However, without clear and specific goals, you may find yourself working hard on achieving a certain outcome without making much progress because your actions might not align with your actual intent.

Moreover, when you have clear and specific goals, you can measure your progress and make adjustments as needed rather than stumbling ahead doing the same thing over and over again hoping to get different results.

If what you’ve been doing hasn’t yielded the desired results, your intentions are either unclear or you’re not being honest about what you actually want (not what you say you want), your actions aren’t the right or appropriate ones for the goals you want to achieve, or you’re sticking with a strategy that doesn’t work, has never worked, and will never work.

In order to reach your goals, it is important to be honest with yourself.

This means acknowledging your strengths and weaknesses, and being realistic about what you can achieve.

It also means being honest about your true motivations, current actions, and staying true to your values.

improve dating

If you’re already in a relationship, make sure to set some goals together as a couple for 2022 as well.

Take action and put what you’ve learned into practice.

I appreciate that dating can be a daunting task, but armed with the right advice, you can make it a lot easier.

So take the knowledge or an idea you’ve gained here and put it into action!

Start by making a list of your favourite dating hot spots and plan some dates for yourself.

And don’t be afraid to ask your friends for help – they’re probably more than happy to set you up with someone they know. You never know what might come of that.

About the author

Gideon Hanekom

Gideon Hanekom is the creator of, a popular relationship blog that ranks among the top 50 relationship blogs in 2024. The website helps couples to create happier, healthier, and more intimate relationships. Gideon is a trained professional counsellor and holds post-graduate degrees in Theology and Psychology. His articles have also been featured on respected platforms such as and The Good Men Project.

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