Why the trend of dating with no expectations can be good for you

Honesty bombing, hardballing, and astrolove… these are all dating trends for the year of 2021.

And now you can add DWNE to that list – or, dating with no expectations.

Tinder’s latest research has found that Gen Z in particular are ready to date with this attitude, and there’s something to be learnt here.

Dating without expectations might seem like it’s synonymous with dating casually, but this isn’t necessarily true.

Instead it’s about being open to the possibility of things and how they might happen.

After a year of uncertainty, it makes sense that single people are embracing this in their approach to dating.

In their study, Tinder found that daters were looking for ‘no particular type of relationship’ 50% more than in past surveys, and that mentions of ‘no pressure’ in people’s bios has risen by 36%.

People are having to navigate each other’s personal level of comfort with getting back to ‘normal’ on top of the usual dating etiquette.

But dating with rigid ideas and expectations can make it harder to meet someone given that no one ever behaves exactly as you would like them to.

Holding someone up to a series of high standards they never asked to be put up against is something we’ve all been guilty of, and it’s a habit we’d do well to shake.

Michael Kaye, dating expert at OkCupid tells us: ‘When it comes to going on that first date, our expectations are already sky high.

‘Having expectations can help to ensure mutual respect between yourself and your match. However, going into dating with little to no expectations can be a great way to calm any pre-date nerves, as well as taking the pressure off you.

‘More importantly though, it makes it easier to be 100% yourself and allows you to let things happen naturally – whether that be the first kiss, or deciding who plans the next hangout.’

Letting go of expectations can particularly serve overthinkers and those more likely to worry in dating contexts.

These states of mind take you out of the present and into an imagined future or past, therefore preempting expectations of some kind.

Michael adds: ‘It’s important to keep an open mind. You could hit it off from the get-go, but if things fizzle out naturally, that’s fine too – it happens.

‘Keeping an open mind will help you avoid any sadness and keep your confidence in check, so you’re ready to get back out there.’

That’s not to say that having no expectations means having no boundaries – they’re two different things.

Boundaries keep you from settling for things that don’t work for you and are a part of self-care, while expectations create room to experience disappointment.

But, if you’re used to conflating the two, it can be hard to shift that mindset at first.

‘It can be hard to let go of certain expectations, especially if it is what you’re used to, but even taking a small step can go a long way.

‘If you’ve had your first date but don’t hear back immediately, that’s okay.

‘In the first few weeks of dating, you’re getting to know each other so try to not expect constant communication. The same goes for you too – take your time and don’t force the situation,’ Michael advises.

The other thing Michael notes is that we’re all ‘out of practice’ with dating in conventional ways.

Rather than let preconceived ideas dictate what should happen, it’s best to ‘acknowledge [the impact of the pandemic] and lean into it’.

Letting go of expectations doesn’t mean you’ve lost your standards, only that you’re open to something you couldn’t have imagined.

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