Perhaps the most divisive show on TV – Love Island is back on our screens to make us cringe, coo and question what the hell is going on.
Maya Jama has taken over as new host of the winter version of the show, this time set in South Africa. On Monday 10 new islanders were introduced – as well as one ‘bombshell’, semi-pro footballer Tom Clare, set to stir things up
“As usual there seems to be a mix of singles who want to ‘try all the flavours’- we’re looking at you Ron – and singles who seem more genuine,” says Hayley Quinn, a dating expert from Match (uk.match.com).
Quinn describes one of the new islanders, Kai, as “comfortable with being more vulnerable” and self confessed ‘cougar’ Olivia as “ultra-confident”. On the show, contestant Anna-May described Haris as: “My type, but then he’s also not”. Make of that what you will.
Aside from skimpy outfits, cocky opening gambits and everyone describing each other as ‘unreal’, what dating trends might we see in the villa this winter?
The first of our sports-named dating trends that could be on our screens soon enough, is benching – i.e. when you have a back-up person, in addition to the person you’re actually dating.
“There is another person you would happily start a relationship with if the current one doesn’t work out. The Islanders will have to navigate benching in front of one another,” says Tina Wilson, Wingman founder and dating expert (wingmanapp.com).
Group dating is standard on the show and it could make its way into real life dating too.
“A one-on-one date can be stressful for some: meeting a stranger for the first time and breaking the ice with awkward conversation can make it difficult to navigate how you really feel about a person,” says Quinn.
“To avoid this and keep the act of dating fun, we’ve seen a trend of singles arranging dates with other couples. Helping to break the barrier of first-date embarrassment and creating an environment where they can see their dates interact in a group set up, group dates make it easier to assess compatibility.”
Could this 2023 trend mean the Islanders don’t jump in at the deep end for a change?
“Taking it slow is no novel approach to dating, but singles today are implementing an extra layer of patience in their dating life,” says Quinn. “As the slow movement has spread across many aspects of our day-to-day experience, singles take each date and encounter with caution, ensuring their time is kept precious and only used for those they really care about. ”
On the other end of the scale, cannonballing is the new term for committing quickly – and Quinn thinks we might see more of that too this year.
“We’ve had too many years of ghosting and breadcrumbing – singles are fed up with idle daters,” she says.
“They’re ready to cut to the chase and dive into the deep end with their potential partner. Gone is intermittent, endless messaging and going to great lengths to postpone dates. Now people are taking a more direct approach, prioritising meeting others quicker than ever before to ensure no time is wasted.”