'Cookie jarring’ is taking over Love Island UK and the IRL dating world—here's what you need to know

From Love Island to normal dating—why is cookie jarring everywhere?

Love Island 2021,Season 7: Millie, Liam and Kaz
(Image credit: ITV / Lifted Entertainment)

Dating is hard, no matter which of the best dating apps you’re on, or how many dating tips you pick up along the way—sometimes there’s no way to overcome the game-playing. And with new relationship trends like ‘Cookie Jarring’, it’s set to get harder.

With breakups becoming harder to get over (yeah, it's a thing) and dating deal-breakers changing every day, it feels like we’ll never catch a break. As far as dating terms go, we already have ‘ghosting’ and ‘situationships' to contend with, and now you can add cookie jarring to the ever-growing list.

Speaking to TV presenter, life coach and counselor, Anna Williamson, she explains to My Imperfect Life exactly what ‘cookie jarring’ is and why we’re seeing a rise in these trends.

Love Island 2021/ Season 7 Chloe and Toby

(Image credit: ITV / Lifted Entertainment)

Cookie Jarring is a new spin on ‘putting all your eggs in one basket.’ It’s basically having someone you’re dating ‘your cookie’—but keeping your options very much open and ready for when another cookie, that you may prefer, comes along.

Anna explains that it’s essentially "hedging your bets, and comes from a place of not wanting to be left alone or left ‘on the shelf'. It can also however be a case of trying to have your cake and eat it!"

She continued: “Lots of people have a mutually agreed backup option, but some people do end up stringing others along without fully committing to the relationship they’re in and end up risking the other person’s feelings.”

If you need an example of this, look no further than Love Island 2021. This year's Casa Amor saw heads turn left, right and center. We’ve seen the male islanders justify to each other and to us viewers why they are still keeping their options open, even when they have a great romantic connection with one of the main villa girls.

Love Island, Season 7 / Casa Amor: Liam and Lillie

(Image credit: ITV / Lifted Entertainment)

Love Island fans were left reeling over islander Liam Reardon, going from calling the main villa's Millie Court, ‘My Millie Moo’ to snogging Casa Amor’s Lillie Haynes. Tyler behaved similarly, jumping from Kaz to Clarisse, to just go straight back to Kaz again once he returned from Casa Amor.

And it doesn’t end there. We’ve seen Toby try and juggle several islanders all at once, dropping a connection with Kaz to be with Chloe, dropping Chloe to be with Abi, and so on (although it did give us some of the best Love Island memes).

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Seeing Cookie jarring happen at least four times alone this season could give us a glimpse of just how prevalent this dating trend is. But why? 

Why is ‘Cooking Jarring’ becoming a norm? 

Anna explains that it could be that commitment is becoming more blurred in modern relationships. She says: “A lot of this comes from bad communication. It’s so important when you enter into a relationship that you’re clear about what you want. 

"Some people like to date casually and that’s fine as long as everyone knows the score. Blurring comes from a lack of clarity about both people’s intentions.”

She explains that the main reason why others stray or be tempted can be down to lack of satisfaction in a relationship.

“If you are firing on all cylinders; communication, trust, and respect are 100%, you should feel satisfied with what you have. It’s when this starts to break down and arguments go unresolved that the ‘grass is greener' mentality can start to kick in.”

It's also so easy to talk to new people or even get back in touch with your ex, all you have to do is drop someone a text, or sign up to Tinder.

Anna says: “They will typically offer no assurances that the relationship is moving forward, keeping it neutral and constantly considering whether there are better options out there, often with an unrealistic idea of the ‘perfect' scenario—which ultimately doesn’t exist.”

A red flag is making excuses to avoid talking about future plans or getting defensive when asked about where they’ve been. The person blowing hot and cold or being ‘standoffish’ when it comes to affection can also be a big sign of unfaithfulness, or them having an interest in someone else.

When it comes to cookie jarring, making someone feel like they are second best or not good enough can have a huge impact on someone's self-esteem. It can leave you paranoid, self-doubting and really impact future relationships, and trust.

Anna says: “If you’re no longer happy in your relationship, the kindest thing to do is to let the other person know.”  

Naomi Jamieson
Lifestyle News Writer

Naomi is a Lifestyle News Writer with the Women's Lifestyle team, where she covers everything from entertainment to fashion and beauty, as well as TikTok trends for Woman&Home, after previously writing for My Imperfect Life and GoodTo. Interestingly though, Naomi actually has a background in design, having studied illustration at Plymouth University but lept into the media world in 2020, after always having a passion for writing and earned her Gold Standard diploma in Journalism with the NCTJ.

Before working for Future Publishing’s Lifestyle News team, she worked in the Ad production team. Here she wrote and designed adverts on all sorts of things, which then went into print magazines across all genres. Now, when she isn’t writing articles on celebs, fashion trends, or the newest shows on Netflix, you can find her drinking copious cups of coffee, drawing and probably online shopping.