Loving relationships of the romantic kind are pretty important for human well-being and survival, but 2020 brought a whole new set of words, and challenges, to the ancient art of romance.

According to research from the online dating site eharmony, there were several major new trends this year.

Care for a spot of Chimneying?

A new festive dating trend coined Chimneying is doing the rounds, as over one in ten (14%) love-starved singles admit they’re planning a series of brief encounters over Christmas.

Research indicates motives include missing sex due to lockdown restrictions (35%), as well as wanting to feel less lonely after tough months alone (28%).

While Chimneying may be tempting, it won’t give singles the chance to explore emotional compatibility, so sadly these unions will probably melt like snow by New Year.


What would Jane Austen think?

At the other end of the spectrum, 2020 also saw Darcying become popular, taking inspiration from the chivalrous characters in ‘Pride and Prejudice’ – and marking a rise in slower, more romantic dating, due to social distancing.

With lockdowns and a steady wave of social distancing this year, even beachgoers were warned to stay a ‘towel-length apart’.

But there was an upside. With intimate contact off the table, many singles embraced video dating and quaint outings like taking a socially distanced walk in the park or along the shore together.

Two thirds of those surveyed predicted that video dating would become the ‘new normal’ earlier this year, and they were right, with people using tech to get to know each other gently in safe space, rather than rushing into physical relationships.


One isn’t always the loneliest number

Many Australians will be Partridging (enjoying their own company) on December 25, much like the partridge in the pear tree from a certain annoying song.

Singles have had a challenging year, with COVID-19 causing separations, lockdowns and a tide of social distancing. But that hasn’t stopped many determined individuals getting their romantic needs met.

In many ways, 2020 was the year of single empowerment. Research suggested that while some battled loneliness, over a quarter (29%) realised they are happier alone.

Turbo relationships

It’s been an intense time for couples living together in lockdown. Research from eharmony and UK-based charity Relate found that nearly one in ten (7%) feel their relationship had been fast-tracked in 2020 as a result of Covid-19, which created a wave of ‘turbo relationships’.

In addition, over a third (36%) of people newly living with a partner believed the first couple months of lockdown felt equivalent to two years of commitment – and common relationship milestones (like moving in together) were met quicker.



During the first lockdown back in April, the term PandemEx factored into singles’ conversations. This is because many singles found themselves either contacting or being contacted by an ex.

In the lead up to Christmas, nearly one in ten (6%) have since admitted that the challenging landscape this year has also made them want to revisit a relationship with an ex.

This festive behaviour is known as Marleying, which has nothing to do with dreadlocks, but is a reference to the ghostly Jacob Marley revisiting his former love and friends in Dickens’ celebrated tome, ‘A Christmas Carol’.

What weird new romance words will 2021 bring?