Love in 2021: Dating and User Safety Trends for the Year Ahead

It goes without saying that 2020 was a very strange year, not least when it comes to the world of dating. As lockdown measures took hold around the world, our social backdrops shifted from clubs, restaurants, and bars to strictly 2D interactions, stopping physical dating dead in its tracks. 

While the end of the pandemic is still not yet in sight, digital dating is fast becoming the norm and looks to remain a firm feature in 2021 and beyond. As the dating industry gears up for yet another year of transformation, let’s take a look at the future of love in the time of COVID, while staying safe and secure in on-screen interactions.  

With the dating landscape evolving, it’s important to know that a study conducted by RealMe found that if social distancing stays in place for another few months, 55% of current US users say this will make them use dating apps/sites more frequently. Here’s some dating trends moving into 2021:


We’ve all heard of ghosting and most of us probably have some experience of being the ghost-er or ghost-ee when chatting to potential matches online. This year, however, a new dating term looks set to become part of the modern vernacular. With 45% of Bumble users admitting to looking for serious relationships due to lockdown loneliness, Apocalypsing is the new term for getting super settled down as soon as a new relationship starts, treating each one as if it’s your last and rejecting the idea that there’s plenty more fish in the sea! 

Despite this trend, in-app users are taking a full steam ahead approach to love in 2021, which is why it’s important to take safety into consideration before users become too swept up in romance. On the ever-more-digital dating scene, it’s vital to ensure that people are indeed who they say they are. In a study conducted by RealMe, they found that “nearly 9 in 10 US online daters wish they could obtain more information about the person they are talking to and would be more likely to meet up with them if their profile was verified”. With access to over 275 million verified Reputation Profiles and Reputation Scores, here at RealMe we can identify key facts about users, such as background information, criminal records, financial backgrounds, and court records, as well as revealing their social media posts.

Slow Dating

On the other end of the spectrum, we have Slow Dating. When Bumble asked their users how they would approach dating in 2021, 2 in 5 respondents stated that they would take their time in getting to know a potential partner before committing to meet up in person. With the return to normal life still uncertain and face-to-face dates very much off the cards, for many, it seems that there’s all the time in the world to decide if a potential partner is the right fit.

While app users are undertaking this slow and steady approach to dating, RealMe’s access can help get the journey off on the right foot. By identifying misleading profiles and offering Reputation Scores to each user profile – daters can take one step closer to finding the right match with confidence that their safety or trust won’t be compromised along the way. 


We’ve all had to adapt to the frustrating experience of awkward, glitchy Zoom calls. But with the pandemic putting a halt to normal dating interactions, platforms like Zoom are pretty much the only option for dating right now. If your date can’t stop gazing at themselves in their monitor and absent-mindedly fixing their hair while you’re trying to chat – you’ve got yourself a Zoomlander!

Because RealMe is integrated into the dating app itself, users aren’t forced to rely on video calling alone to ensure that other members of the community are in fact who they say they are. This not only ensures minimal interactions with the dreaded Zoomlander, but also promotes a safe user experience in the time of COVID – and beyond.


With masks now just as essential as our keys, phones, and wallets, a new trend in 2021 will see digital daters being put off by potential matches who don’t appear to be taking COVID safety measures seriously. In much the same way that we are influenced by people’s values, backgrounds, and hobbies, 2021 will usher in a new age of COVID compliance being directly linked to attractiveness. Fronting that you care about masks when you’re really out partying? You’re Maskerading!

Amidst all the new and exciting trends, it’s important that providers don’t lose sight of their core focus on user safety. From fake or misleading profiles to online dating scams, virtual dating is not without its risks – even without a global pandemic to consider. In fact, a study conducted by RealMe found that “98% of US online daters appeal to the idea of a reputation checker that pulls together all public information sources.” This is where RealMe’s solution can really deliver the difference.

We’re building a new era of trust and transparency, giving users fast and straightforward reputation insights and verification like never before. We partner with dating apps to empower providers and their users through our extensive access to user records and data. By identifying key facts about their users, we ensure that people are who they say they are – making dating in a virtual world safer without interfering with the user experience. 

Then, when it eventually comes to taking interactions offline, our CheckPlus solution built in collaboration with Spectrum Labs and UrSafe can seamlessly bridge in-app, off-app, and offline protection. Combining the power of Reputation Scores with Spectrum Lab’s AI technology and UrSafe’s offline personal safety applications, apps can identify patterns of harassing or toxic behavior, eradicate issues and enhance user safety in real-time. 

So, whether daters are taking things slow or riding the rollercoaster of love in 2021, RealMe can help dating apps to instill trust for real users at every stage. 

Source: FTI Consulting (May 2020) — Surveyed 3,303 US general population respondents weighted on age, gender, location and 2016 Presidential vote