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2023 Dating Trends – The Year in Review

2023 brought with it an entirely new vocabulary of dating trends. With the continued rise of social media, trends spread across our screens like wildfire, giving us a new way to discuss our relationships, situationships and sneaky links.

At Seeking, we decided to decode these dating trends, and define which ones you need to keep an eye out for, and which you need to be incorporating into your dating life (looking at you, Edudating and Dating Up!).

Glossary of Dating Terms:

Barbenheimer Dating

Barbenheimer Dating is based on the concept of the “Barbenheimer effect,” which is the idea that people are often drawn to partners who are very different from themselves, particularly in terms of personality, interests, and worldview (think Barbie meets Oppenheimer). This trend challenges the traditional notion of compatibility and suggests that opposites might actually attract.

Dating Up™

Dating Up refers to the practice of pursuing romantic relationships with individuals perceived as being out of one’s league or higher in social status, attractiveness, or other desirable qualities. It relates to an older, more ancient trend, called Hypergamy— which was the act of marrying above one’s station. Dating Up is about raised standards, raised expectations, and partners who are a source of admiration.

Delicate Dumping

Delicate Dumping is a term used to describe a manipulative and cowardly way of ending a relationship. It involves gradually withdrawing from the relationship, being noncommittal, and avoiding difficult conversations to force the other person to break up with you. This behavior can be hurtful and emotionally damaging for the person being “delicately dumped.” Delicate Dumping is often seen as a way to avoid the responsibility of ending a relationship and to protect oneself from the other person’s reaction to the breakup.

Dopamine Dating

Dopamine Dating is a positive dating approach that emphasizes seeking partners who positively impact your overall well-being and consistently elevate your dopamine levels, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure, motivation, and reward. This approach encourages individuals to raise their standards and seek out compatible partners who align with their values, goals, and aspirations. Dr. Aria’s formula for Dopamine Dating suggests that reducing stress is a key factor in maximizing dopamine levels in dating. By minimizing stress-inducing factors such as emotional baggage, unresolved conflicts, or incompatible lifestyles, individuals can create a more conducive environment for experiencing the positive effects of dopamine.


Edudating is the act of seeking romantic partners with similar educational backgrounds, academic interests, or intellectual pursuits. This trend emphasizes shared intellectual interests and compatibility in academic endeavors. A derivative of Sapiosexuality, it involves a focus on a person’s intellectual attractiveness over physical.

Fast forwarding

Fast Forwarding is the practice of discussing future plans and expectations with a romantic partner early on in the relationship to assess compatibility and determine whether the person aligns with one’s long-term goals and aspirations.

Gen-Blend Relationships

Gen-Blend Relationships are romantic partnerships between individuals from different generations, typically with a significant age gap. These relationships challenge traditional societal norms and often involve navigating generational differences.


Ghostlighting is a term used to describe the act of gradually fading out of communication with someone you’re dating or pursuing romantically without providing a clear explanation. This behavior can be hurtful and confusing for the other person, as it equally involves making the person believe that the distance between themselves and their partner is their own fault.


Milestoning is the act of intensifying online dating activity during specific periods to increase the chances of securing a date for an upcoming milestone life event, such as a significant birthday or a wedding. This trend reflects the pressure to find a partner for such occasions.


A situationship is an informal, undefined, and non-committal relationship that falls somewhere between friendship and romance. In a situationship, there’s often a lack of clarity or defined expectations about the relationship’s status. The involved individuals may engage in romantic or sexual activity, but they may not consider themselves to be exclusive or committed. There may be unspoken rules or agreements about the relationship, but these are often vague or unspoken, leading to confusion and mixed signals.

The term “sneaky link” refers to a person that someone is secretly hooking up with without the knowledge or consent of their partner or others involved. It typically implies a casual or non-committal relationship, often characterized by secrecy and discretion. “Sneaky link” is often used in the context of romantic or sexual relationships, but it can also be used more broadly to describe any type of secret or clandestine meeting or interaction. For example, someone might refer to a friend as a sneaky link if they are secretly helping them with something that they are not supposed to do.


Snowmancing is a term used to describe the act of dating someone exclusively during the winter months, typically from December to February. This trend is often associated with the holiday season and the desire for companionship during colder months. It involves a sudden ramping up of affection and gift-giving during the holidays, in order to mimic a rom-com holiday movie romance. The negative side of this trend is that it tends to fizzle out once the holiday season has ended.


Spider-Webbing is a term used to describe a complex network of manipulative behaviors woven over time, which can entangle individuals in a tumultuous and unhealthy relationship. This trend can involve gaslighting, breadcrumbing, love bombing, and other tactics designed to control and manipulate the other person. The term “Spider-Webbing” is derived from the way a spider carefully weaves its web to trap its prey. Similarly, individuals who engage in Spider-Webbing tactics carefully construct a web of lies, deceit, and manipulation to ensnare their partner and maintain control over them.

Dating in 2024

With 2024 quickly approaching, we all need to be more self-aware in our dating lives, and while these 2023 dating trend terms might seem extra or confusing, it’s always going to be positive to be able to address subtle issues in our relationships. This just leads to a better understanding of what we want, and what we don’t want.

Here’s to leaving those situationships, snowmancers, and spider-webbers behind us in 2023— Dating Up, though? We’ll see that trend in 2024.

The first step is joining Seeking.com.