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The Single Pinay's *Ultimate* Guide To Surviving Modern Dating

PHOTO: Delmaine Donson/Getty Images

The pandemic has definitely turned the pause button on in terms of our love life. From seeing your S.O. regularly to being stuck in an LDR (even if it's just a North-South situation), it's been tough. But with the return of office culture (hybrid or otherwise), and now that our social calendars are filling up once again, the sudden increase in social interactions have us feeling *slightly* (read: very) overwhelmed RN.

There's actually a term for it, btw. GUARDRAILING. More than half the people (52%) on Bumble have established more boundaries over the last year, and for Filipinos the number is even higher. 72% are now extremely clear in terms of their emotional needs—whether that's choosing how to put themselves out there (75%), or being selective in RSVP'ing to events so they don't overcommit themselves socially (71%). So if you're someone who is all about setting boundaries and protecting your energy while dating, then it's time to adopt the guardrailing term, stat. 


Last year the spotlight was on "Power PDA" (think PDA taken to the next level without caring who's around to see it) and "explori-dating", but in 2023 Bumble is predicting relationship trends that focus on topics like mental health, work-life balance in dating, travel romances, dating after a breakup, and "modern masculinity".

To answer all your burning questions about love, Cosmopolitan Philippines was lucky enough to interview Bumble's APAC Communications Director Lucille McCart, and Bumble's Relationship Expert Dr. Margaret Holmes.

Get tips on how to dive back into the dating scene in 2023, according to the experts:

The talking stage can feel like being in limbo. How do you keep conversations interesting? How do you move forward to the next stage?

It can be difficult to get to know a new match over text, and keeping the talking stage going before you feel ready to go on a date can be challenging—especially if you're feeling the pressure to keep the convo interesting. Our tip? Look through their profile and see what stands out to you! Then comment or ask a question about it—people love to talk about their interests, and if you can find a common passion, all the better. It's also a compliment to your match—it shows you took the time to view their profile and ask them something personalized. No generic "what's up?" here!

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Cat got your tongue still? Why not try the Question Game on Bumble? Once you start a chat with your match, look for the yellow speech bubble next to the text box. Click on it see some pre-prepared questions, and shuffle to find one that suits you. *winks* Now here's the fun part: You *and* your match have to respond in order for the answers to be revealed!

Ultimately, take things at your own pace and do what makes you comfortable. Remember: If you aren't ready to meet IRL but you want to continue getting to know someone, you can try audio or video calls from within the Bumble app to get to know each other on a more *intimate* level.

"Situationships" suck. How do you bring it up in a conversation? Is there a correct timeline to talk about properly defining or putting a label on your relationship?

A *situationship* is a romantic relationship that hasn’t been formalized. It has no labels, so if you're seeing someone but aren't exactly sure what's going on, you're probably in one. JSYK.


People in situationships often find themselves going on dates with someone without having discussed relationship statuses or exclusivity. There's nothing wrong with this, but if both people aren't on the same page, the relationship can become confusing—and can also lead to one or both people getting hurt due to mismatched expectations and things left unsaid.

The biggest danger of situationships is that feelings can develop at a different pace, and the lack of communication can make it even more confusing and difficult to navigate. If you're feeling insecure or don’t know where you stand, try and bring it up in conversation in a low-pressure setting. You might not find a label that works for you at that time, but what matters most is that you and your match are clear on the boundaries.

How do you establish boundaries in FWB/friends with benefits setup? (AKA, how do you not fall in love with the person!)

Healthy and open communication is essential if you are going to make a "friends with benefits"-style relationship work. From the beginning, you and your partner need to establish boundaries and be clear about what you each want from the situation. If you do not want feelings involved, then make sure you say so; *do not* leave room for confusion!


Remember to check in regularly with your partner to make sure that you both still feel the same way, and are comfortable with the arrangement. Things can change, and you may no longer be on the same page! Whether you want to be in a situationship, relationship, or something else, you should feel empowered to pursue the type of connection that feels right to you.

Apparently "open casting" is a thing. Since dating apps act like a virtual "meet-cute" by using filters (location, interests, etc.) to sort out potential partners, how does dating outside one’s "type" affect this?

ICYDK, "open casting" is the opposite of "type casting." It refers to how 38% of people around the world are now open to dating someone outside of their so-called *type*. In the Philippines in particular, an overwhelming majority (77%) are more focused on emotional maturity than physical requirements. "Tall, dark, and handsome" is no longer the priority!


There's less of a focus on superficial qualities like looks, and on dating apps like Bumble users are more concerned with emotional compatibility. Features such as Interest Badges and Profile Prompts allow you to show off your personality, sense of humor, and interests to make the best connections for you. So show your authentic self and put your best foot forward!

People are placing a higher value on work-life balance. How can people make time for their significant other if they have a demanding job? How does one balance "me time" versus "relationship time"?

People don’t just want work-life balance for themselves, but for their partner, too. The times of seeing someone's career as a status symbol is now over—job titles are no longer a tick in the box, with 49% of people prioritizing work-life balance.

This tells us that right now, people really value quality time with their romantic partners. For example, 13% of Filipinos will no longer date someone who has a very demanding job. Pre-COVID, finding a partner with the "right" kind of job might have ranked high in terms of romantic partner goals, but after the past few years, people see more merit in someone who is a good match for them over someone who has an impressive career. A potential match's lack of availability or investment in a relationship are definite turn-offs, since more than half (52%) are actively creating more space in their calendar for rest and leisure time. After all, if your partner won't make time for themselves, how will they make time for you?


Post-pandemic WFH flexibility means people are more open to dating outside of their current location. Can you share tips on starting—and maintaining—an LDR? Especially if they met online and have no common friends between them!

The wanderlove trend is no surprise—the return of international travel leaves 1 in 3 people on Bumble all more open to the idea of a holiday romance. In fact, nearly 10% of Filipinos on Bumble actually find it easier to date in another country! This might just be your eat, date, love moment waiting to happen. *winks*

As more people dip their toe into holiday romances in 2023, we may see an increase in the number of long distance relationships. And it's *absolutely* possible to have a healthy long distance relationship! Good communication has to be the foundation of a LDR. Be open and honest with each other, and make use of technology to keep in touch: video dates are a thing, and talking on the phone is often more romantic in the days of quick texts and social media likes.


Always have a plan or a date in your calendar for when you are going to see each other—counting down the days until you next see each other will make the reunion all the more sweet, amirite? When you *do* see each other in real life, make sure to prioritize quality time—don't just do the regular things you would normally do without them there!

Since we're all living in the so-called "now normal", people have really had to think about what they want and how to balance their relationships and career. As we enter the new year, this is our challenge to you: Defy the status quo by taking control of your love life, and (re)define what a healthy relationship means to *you*.

Look out for yourself, and remember: Don't rely on someone else to be your entire world. Be that source of happiness and self-love for yourself—because you can't pour from an empty cup, right?



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