Jana Hocking on dating trends: ENM, vulnerability can stay but power PDA is over

As we reach the end of 2022 I’ve had time to sit back and ponder on my crazy year of dating. It’s safe to say that, like many of you, I left lockdown well in the past and hit the ground running.

There was the grand romance that ended in absolute fireworks (and me choofing off overseas) before an epic make up. The guy who was perfect for me on paper but failed to light a spark in real life. (Still a bit annoyed at myself over that one).

The brief experimental stage I went through that allowed me to explore a certain fantasy. Turns out something I’d been wanting to try for quite a while really wasn’t for me. Sooooo now I know.

There’s the one guy who has been an absolute constant through it all but lives too far away for it to work. Plus a few cheeky hook-ups in between that kept me happily distracted.

Yes, my Peter Pan tendencies are still there, and I’m still fairly avoidant of commitment, but you know what, I’ve learnt to accept that’s just who I am. So, with all that in mind, I’ve put together a list of dating trends I would like to bring into 2023 and those which belong in last year’s trash.

Dating trends: IN


Judging by the number of people now stating they are ‘Ethically Non-Monogamous’ on their dating app profiles, we’re really opening our minds to new ways of dating.

Gone are the societal rules that tell us we must find one person, marry them, buy a house and bring up kids in the suburbs.

Nope, this year we’ve seen couples living outside the norm, trying new things and feeling more comfortable to discuss them publicly.

Whether that be delaying marriage until later in life, choosing to go child-free, discussing your sexual fantasies with your partner and actually acting on them, satisfying your bi-curious side or trialling the more risky dating apps, this has been a year of experimentation.


This year many of us embraced the triple threat – therapy, self-care and emotional maturity. It’s made us feel far more comfortable opening up on dates. Instead of small talk we’ve shared deep thoughts, made it clear what we are looking for, and resisted playing games.

Just last week a guy asked me out and admitted on our first date that it actually took a lot of nerve to send me the first text. I found this brief moment of vulnerability to be really attractive and it quickly broke down our barriers.

The best thing is, the more we learn to be vulnerable, the better we become at it. Plus, the stigma around going to therapy is basically no longer existent. In fact, many people admit they would rather date someone who has done the work. So here’s to more of it in 2023.


Blame it on the pandemic, but if you found yourself locked indoors with someone for a ridiculous amount of time, you may have discovered that your partner makes really lame dad jokes, or has fairly misogynistic views, or God-forbid, says “let’s circle back” on Zoom meetings. This year, we made sure we were dating people that actually align with what we are looking for long-term.

Dating trends: OUT

Splashing out

I never realised how much money I spend on dating until I was locked up during the pandemic and the purse strings stayed fairly closed. Zoom dates made for cheap and cheerful courting, requiring only a bottle of wine (purchased for roughly $20-$30) and an outfit usually found in the back of my wardrobe.

This year saw us racing out the door in search of real-life dates once again, and with that came split bills at fancy wine bars, and outlandish dinners if we made it past the first date stage.

I say we go back to picnic dates and cute walks at the start of the courtship stage. The amount of money wasted on dates that go absolutely no where is shame, shame, shameful!


This form of public displays of affection is truly gross. It’s safe to say many people came out of lockdown extremely horny, and now we’re all suffering for it because there are people making out on the street everywhere!

Think Kourtney Kardashian and Travis Barker smooching with far too much tongue on every red carpet this year, Megan Fox grabbing MGK’s crotch in public. No No No. Save it for the bedroom people, we don’t need to see your saliva in public.

Beige flags

Enough with low-effort people! If you’re making me snore on a date, you’re not putting in enough effort. Beige flags people are those who put really boring answers in their dating profiles such as I like pizza and Harry Potter. Or their first text to you is “Hey.”

If you fear you may be a little dull, come to the date prepared. Think of a hilarious story to share, put on an outfit that shows some personality, comb your hair, answer back to texts with something witty. Basically do anything that won’t put us to sleep.

Jana Hocking is a columnist and collector of kind-of-boyfriends | @jana_hocking

Read related topics:Dating AdviceJana Hocking

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