3 women on what it’s like to be ‘consciously single’ and how it's changed them for the better

Written by Leah Sinclair

According to Bumble, people are becoming more mindful and intentional in how and when they date – and we spoke to 3 women who are embracing this way of dating and how it’s changed their lives.

Being in the dating game for a number of years often means learning a lot about yourself and others around you.

You begin to truly understand what you like and what you don’t like, what kind of dater you are and who you tend to gravitate towards, making the dating scene a constantly evolving machine through which we learn to navigate.

With the growing popularity of dating apps and an entire pandemic to deal with, the concept of dating has become even trickier for some – but it’s also presented another opportunity to learn about who we are as individuals and what matters to us – and this can be seen in Bumble’s recent dating report.

The women-first dating app has released its top five trends that will define dating in the new year – one of which being the emergence of a dating trend known as ‘consciously single’.

According to the dating app, the pandemic has made half of us (53%) realise that it’s actually OK to be alone for a while.

Looking ahead, people are consciously making a decision to be single, with the majority of singletons (54%) being more mindful and intentional in how and when they date.

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, more and more people are remaining consciously single, and being more mindful and intentional about how they approach dating,” says Naomi Walkland, head of Bumble UK & Ireland.

“Taking relationships at their own pace, we’ve seen a trend of ‘slow dating’ with two in five people really taking their time to get to know people before moving to the next step. People have applied this approach to other stages too in the relationship lifecycle, through ‘soft-launching’their relationship on social media for example.”

While the trend is predicted to be big in 2022, it is evident that the pandemic has resulted in many reassessing how and who they date, including SEO manager Olivia Day.

“I’ve never been super active in the dating world, but I kept “accidentally” falling into relationships out of convenience, and then I’d be shocked when they’d only last a few months,” she says.

In her early years of dating, Day says she’d “hopped around from relationship to relationship” and found that the pandemic and subsequent lockdown gave her a chance to “really slow down and prioritise me for the first time in my life, and simply just exist on my own.”

“Being physically on my own for the first time in years was really refreshing, and gave me the chance to learn more about who I am outside of a relationship,” she admits. 

Consciously dating: Olivia Day

“I was one of those odd people who really enjoyed lockdowns, and I really cherished the peace and calm of not having anything to do or anywhere to be. Now, I do all I can to maintain that tranquillity – and not dating is a big part of that.”

As we slowly return to some level of normality, previous dating norms for Day have changed, as she says she feels “a lot pickier” as she became accustomed to being on her own.

“Coming out of lockdown, I still wanted to keep putting myself first, enjoying all my new hobbies and reuniting with friends. Dating just dropped way down my list of priorities and so it would take something really great to make me want to leave my single life now.”

For writer and blogger Kelle Salle, dating has been a journey full of ups and downs.

“Pre-pandemic, I was all about work, travelling, going out with friends, and spending time with my family. Dating didn’t really feel right at that point in my single journey because I called off my wedding and went through a really bad break up, which led to an 18-month hiatus from dating,” she reveals.

“It took time for me to get to a place where I could let my guard down and get to know someone.”

While dating with intention has always been key for Salle, the combination of getting older and becoming more comfortable, confident and understanding of what she wants has allowed her to hone in on her dating wants and needs.

Consciously dating: Kelle Salle

“Dating is so much better for me now. Maybe it’s an age thing because I’m in my 30s, but I date with intention. I know what I’m looking for and I’m not prepared to entertain someone just to pass time. I take pride in my ability to choose who I connect with.

“I am definitely more mindful and intentional of how and when I date, which took a lot of self-work and therapy. I’m finally in a place where I realise that I am enough.”

“Before the pandemic, I was on Hinge and Bumble and was actively dating. I’d go on dates at least once a week, I was in the mindset of finding a partner,” says Wales-based graduate Chisomo Phiri.

“But prior to the pandemic, I actually decided to put myself on a dating hiatus. I was in a situationship with someone for a couple of months but I was still dating and talking to other people. I suddenly realised that it wasn’t going anywhere and my conversations with people were very boring so that’s when I decided to take a break from it all.”

During this time, Phiri says she realised that she was no longer interested in dating apps due to the lack of stimulating conversation and enjoyment she was having.

Consciously dating: Chisomo Phiri

“For me dating should be fun and exciting and I just wasn’t getting that,” she says.

While Phiri says her dating life is now “pretty non-existent” she would love to meet someone organically when the time is right and feels her approach to dating has become more mindful since ditching dating apps.

“I’ve only been on a handful of dates and that was with someone I knew before. Now I only date people who I see a future with rather than just dating for the sake of it. I don’t stress about not talking to anyone, for me dating is a bonus rather than a necessity in my life.”

Images: Getty; Olivia Day; Kelle Salle; Chisomo Phiri

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