Vanilla Dating Is All About Finding Love & Connection In The Everyday

Dating can oftentimes feel like a sport, competition, or even a full-time job. Even if you utilize time-saving strategies like date stacking, never-ending apps, swipes, and first-date planning can be completely exhausting. Finding a connection can be difficult enough, but the pressure to plan new dates and exciting adventures while searching for that connection can take some of the joy out of the experience. Enter vanilla dating — a low-key and relaxed way to date someone without all of the added pressure and stress of constant excitement.

Vanilla dating allows you to take a very different approach to dating. The trend focuses on embracing the slow and mundane elements of your everyday life through your relationship. If this sounds boring to you, it's important to consider weighing the pros and cons of different priorities. For instance, by prioritizing comfort over excitement, vanilla dating allows for more of a focus on stability which can be extremely important for relationship building. While some might wonder how much of an overlap exists between vanilla sex and vanilla dating, the real core of the trend comes down to the early stages of a relationship. Plus, for some (especially those who might be exhausted by the dating scene) the concept of "boring" can be a nice change of pace or even an ideal situation. Let's explore the world of vanilla dating and see if it could be a good approach for your next relationship.

What makes vanilla dating different?

The key to vanilla dating is rooted in its simplicity. As Tina Wilson, founder of dating app Wingman, explained to Stylist, "The most fulfilling and contented relationships can be found in everyday experiences." Rather than reinventing the wheel with lavish date ideas, activities, and locations, vanilla dating is instead rooted in embracing a slower and more everyday journey. Whether that means staying in and cooking together or enjoying an easy evening stroll, Wilson elaborated that dating "doesn't always have to be filled with grand gestures or extravagant experiences." This can be important for those who might be on a budget or are looking for ways to save money, but can be especially important to those looking to cut out the extravagance of early romance in favor of achieving intimacy sooner. 

By embracing a slower and more domestic approach to your relationship you can allow yourself to relax without the constant need for planned excitement and busy adventures. Without the distraction of external activities, vanilla dating can actually help you achieve a deeper connection with a new partner. Plus, finding joy in the everyday can be an important lesson not just for your relationship, but for your own mental health. Taking the time to truly enjoy the smaller routines and activities in your life can bring you closer to a new partner and also help you feel more connected to your life in general.

Things to look out for

Wilson explained some possible downsides to vanilla dating, "Although there are several positives to enjoying each other's company in a vanilla dating scenario, there is a chance that one of you in the relationship is just going along with things because you don't want to be single. Whether this is deliberate or unintentional, you're doing it because you're in a safe territory with vanilla dating." The urge to be in a relationship can be strong, especially when social media and societal pressures are factored in. Making sure you know your wants and needs (and knowing what the signs are that you're in a relationship just to avoid being alone) can be especially important to ensure you're in a fulfilling relationship.

Knowing your dating goals as well as those of your potential partner can make sure you're on the same page. This can also be especially helpful when finding someone also interested in vanilla dating (which can be difficult in today's dating world). Open and honest communication is key to all relationships but can be especially important when using a specific dating tactic like vanilla dating. Being honest about whether you are trying to play it safe can also be a really important conversation to have with yourself, especially if you are considering or are already utilizing vanilla dating. As Wilson said, "You might be doing it for the wrong reasons or fall victim to cuffing season planning."