10 Brand New Terms to Add to Your Growing Dating Dictionary
Terms like “ghosting” and “benching” have not only grown in popularity — most have experienced them firsthand, only it was too late to realize it. Now, thanks to things like dating apps and social media, that glossary has grown tenfold, and there’s a slew of other terms to get familiar with.
While they can range from harmless and hilarious to a bit on the vicious side, understanding what they mean will only give you a leg up when it comes to operating the ever-changing world of dating and relationships.
RELATED: Is Benching the New Ghosting?
Find yourself a bit lost when it comes to new jargon of this variety? That’s where this list comes in. We enlisted relationship expert April Masini to help define all the new dating terms you need to know.
Just like a vulture circling its wounded prey, some people out there can sense when a relationship is on its last leg. That’s their signal to swoop in, using that opportunity to pick up the pieces and make everything better. As you can probably guess, that’s how the term “vulturing” came to be.
“When people sense a relationship is on the rocks, they may start to circle their prey — the person who is about to break up or divorce — in order to be able to date them or just sleep with them,” explains Masini.
It’s important to note that simply waiting and hoping for a chance with someone who’s in a flailing relationship is not necessarily vulturing. The distinction here? When someone is vulturing, they are specifically taking advantage of someone who is in a weak or vulnerable state.
If you’ve ever had a suspicious feeling that someone was dating you just to take advantage of your VIP status at a club of sorts, you may very well have been throned. Think of it as another form of gold digging that extends beyond wealth. Past the money aspect, this person wants to reap the benefits of your reputation and status, too.
“It’s a behavior used to increase your own power simply by dating someone who already has it,” says Masini. “Throning is most obvious when one person in the relationship has significantly less power and status than the other.”
According to Masini, his type of relationship has little chance of surviving for very obvious reasons: One person is in it with an agenda, and the other person is bound to feel taken advantage of once they figure out what’s going on.
Ghosting, when someone cuts off communication with zero explanation, is bad enough. It can leave you feeling hurt and confused as to why things ended without any sort of warning. But when, out of the blue, they come back to life with a desire to rekindle that old flame you once thought to be dead, they’ve taken things a step further than ghosting. Say hello to zombieing.
Your zombie may get in touch with you via DM, text or by seeking you out in person. Hearing from someone who totally dipped out on you can bring up some conflicting feelings, but if you’re looking for a positive, the situation does have the potential to offer some clarity or closure.
“It gives both people another shot at the relationship,” says Masini. “And if the person who’s zombieing feels that they made mistakes or left things unsaid, it’s an opportunity to speak up and apologize.”
So you’ve been seeing someone for a while. Although things are going really well — you hang out regularly, your connection seems strong and it’s obvious that you’re compatible in several ways — you’re a bit curious why you still haven’t been introduced to any friends or family. Well, that might mean that they’re pocketing (or stashing) you.
This typically happens when someone is uncertain about where a relationship is going, keeping you on the DL for a period of time while they try to figure out how they feel.
“People who pocket or stash their dates do so in order to control the relationship,” explains Masini. “They may do this because they’re not serious and they don’t want you to know that, so they keep you from friends and family who would clue you in to the fact that you’ve never been mentioned. Sometimes, people who do this are actually married or living with someone, and they’re trying to keep you from learning that.”
That’s not to say that taking some time before you introduce someone to your loved ones isn’t normal. Let’s be clear: Just because someone you’re dating isn’t ready to do that doesn’t mean they’re pocketing you. But if you get the sense that they’re deliberately hiding you from their immediate circle with no real explanation, or even going as far as lying about their whereabouts to avoid having you meet them, that’s a different story.
Is there anything more confusing than someone ghosting you, only to show face by doing things like commenting on your Instagram posts and watching your Snapchat stories? Unlike with zombieing, there’s no text to try and make amends. In this case, they just pop up in your notifications as someone orbiting you would.
“They’re in your orbit, but you don’t have any direct contact with them,” says Masini. “This can be particularly frustrating if they avoid your efforts to connect one-on-one, but they’re all over your social media accounts.”
While it can be easy to start obsessing over what the oribiter’s behavior means, Masini says it’s best not to read into things too much. After all, if someone really wants to date you, they’d probably make more of an effort than tapping on a “like” button.
There’s being direct with someone you’re not interested in … and then there’s curving. According to Masini, this entails rejecting someone in the most passive way possible.
When someone says they want to hang out soon, but always seems to be busy when you try to make plans (or just cancels plans last minute), they may be using this cop-out of a strategy. Unlike ghosters, people who resort to curving don’t disappear — they just keep coming up with new excuses to dodge you.
Don’t waste your time on people like that.
This trend is all about attention. As you’re eager to get your crush to notice you, you start tailoring all of your social media posts to make yourself seem more appealing. An example would be sharing how pumped you are for that big hockey game … even though you hate sports. Maybe there was casual mention of a love for IPAs, so you hit up the nearest brewery ASAP. It’s a bit like a thirst trap, but less racy in nature. The idea is that you’ll get their attention, and hopefully inspire them to comment or message you.
Masini says that while Instagrandstanding can actually be pretty effective, it’s easy to come off as inauthentic. If you’re posting a bunch of things you actually have zero interest in, it’s inevitable for that to come out.
Catfishing, the act of cultivating a false persona to lure someone in, is very similar to this next trend. According to Masini, kittenfishing refers to someone misrepresenting themselves on their dating apps by lying about their interests, career or appearance.
If you show up to your first date only to be towering over the person who claimed to be over 6 feet, or their appearance clearly suggests they’ve used photos from 10 years ago, you’ve officially been kittenfished.
“Anyone employing either of this dating behavior is missing some important self-esteem and wasting your time,” says Masini. “It’s much better to be honest with yourself and others, so you can find someone who will be a good match for the long run.”
According to a 2017 study by eHarmony, one in 10 singles are contacted by exes hoping to rekindle things around the holidays. And if you think about it, it makes sense — that hit of winter nostalgia may inspire someone to reminisce about good times from their previous relationship. Not to mention, social media feeds tend to be packed with end-of-year gatherings and work parties where you’ll most likely want a date to bring.
There’s where Marleying comes in. The term refers to Jacob Marley, the ghost who haunts Scrooge in “A Christmas Carol.” But before you get too excited about your ex coming back into the picture, be sure to take note of their true intentions.
“It could be dating simply for convenience, and you don’t realize you’ve been Marleyed until the holidays are over — and so is the relationship,” warns Masini.
Just as when you spot one cockroach, there’s probably several more out of sight, roaching is when someone secretly dates a slew of other people even thought things were exclusive. The worst part? When you bring up the implied exclusivity, they act clueless.
“You’re essentially playing the field, but hiding that fact from a partner,” says Masini. “When they confront you, you remind them that there was never any monogamy agreement to begin with.”
If you feel like you’re being roached, have a direct conversation about exclusivity instead of relying on an assumption. In the age of dating apps, it’s all too easy to keep evaluating your options while you’re casually dating, and until you clearly define the relationship, there’s always the risk of it happening to you.
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