New dating ‘phenomenon’ proves traditional relationships are over

Posted on November 20, 2023

Meet a man, get married, have a family.

That’s the timeline women have historically been sold as the most successful pathway to a happy life.

But despite that messaging being shoved down our throats at every conceivable opportunity, women have had enough.

New data has revealed women are sick of the constant pressure to follow traditional relationship timelines, with 1 in 3 now stating they’re “no longer focused” on achieving the societal milestones.

The findings, uncovered in the 2024 annual dating report from Bumble, shows women are “pushing back” and are instead prioritizing finding the right partner instead of rushing to hit “outdated” goals.

“Women are increasingly looking around and wondering why they feel the need to follow an outdated rule book when it comes to their dating journeys and relationship milestones,” Lucille McCart, the dating app’s APAC communications director, told

“In fact, 31 percent of women say they are no longer focused on adhering to traditional relationship timelines and milestones. So timelines are out, and choosing your own path is in.”

Traditional relationships are going out the door. Shutterstock

The “exciting phenomenon” is growing so much momentum, Bumble have dubbed it the “timeline decline”, but explained the shift is not the end of romance as we know it.

“This doesn’t mean romantic relationships aren’t important anymore,” McCart explained, stating 72 percent of women on Bumble are looking for a long-term relationship.

“However only 23 per cent are actively seeking out marriage as a goal. I think that this is a really exciting revolution for Australian singles.

“So often when you start dating someone and it gets serious, it can feel like you are on this hamster wheel, unable to deviate from the traditional expectations around how a relationship should develop – move in together, get engaged, buy a home, get married, have a baby – but it is OK to want something different.

“Bumble was built on the concept that traditional gender roles are outdated and no longer serve us in modern society, so we couldn’t be happier to see this revolution taking place.”

One in 8 of those singles embracing timeline decline also said they were “actively avoiding friends and family who put pressure on them” – this is even more prevalent in Australia, with 1 in 4 women swerving those who didn’t agree with their choices, Bumble said.

Emotional intimacy is a priority in relationships, according to a Bumble survey. Shutterstock

The dating app also uncovered other new trends in its data, including the number of people who now believe emotional intimacy is more important than sex, stating it’s actually more attractive than physical connection.

Stats showed 32 percent of singles are focused on emotional intimacy over physical sexual acts, stating they are looking for safety and security when dating.

While 3 in 4 women said it’s key that their partner has an understanding of both emotional and physical intimacy.

Interestingly, 1 in 4 men revealed that they’ve actively changed their behavior when dating, becoming more vulnerable and open with people they’re romantically pursuing than ever before.

For a quarter of men, this new-found openness has had a positive impact on their mental health, and for 1 in 3, a lack of vulnerability is now a dating deal-breaker.

Women love open hearted men according to the survey.Shutterstock

The popular dating app, which has been around for almost 10 years, also said there had been a rise in the people valuing engagement on issues that matter to them, a trend dubbed “Val-Core” dating.

“In practice, this looks like doing something that our parent’s generation would have thought unthinkable – bringing up topics like politics, the patriarchy, climate change, racial injustices, or even the rising wealth gap on a first date, or even earlier,” McCart said.

“I know when I was growing up my mum told me it was the ‘height of rudeness’ to ask someone how they voted, but for young people, discussion about how they planned to vote in the recent Voice referendum – and asking others how they planned to vote – was all over social media, and dating apps by extension.”

Other dating habits on the rise included “Betterment Burnout”, which refers to Aussie singles who are “rebelling against constant self-improvement”, and a spike in sport as a popular commonality.

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