The 20 Dating Terms You Need To Know This Year
Modern dating brings with it a whole range of new problems and experiences. No longer do you just meet someone in a bar on a night out. Now you can match with them on dating apps, communicate via texts and FaceTime calls, and stalk them on social media. This new era of dating has thrown up a range of problems and complications that even I sometimes struggle to understand. It has also created a range of dating terms and phrases used to describe a variety of situations and scenarios that many dating today will experience.
It can be a confusing time trying to navigate not only the dating pool but learning what words such as ‘wokefishing’ and ‘breadcrumbing’ actually mean. To give you a little background on these new dating terms, here is a guide to some of the most used words and phrases that make up the modern dating lexicon so you don’t find yourself behind the game. Good luck!
The 12 Dating Terms You Need To Know This Year
One of the most well-known terms to arise during the dating app era is ‘ghosting.’ According to Urban Dictionary, ‘ghosting’ is “when a person cuts off all communication with their friends or the person they’re dating, with zero warning or notice beforehand.” People who ‘ghost,’ especially men, often do so after they have managed to go all the way with a woman. But it can be done after a first date or fourth. It is a pretty crummy thing to do, as the least a person deserves is a text or call to tell them you are no longer interested. But in a world where things are becoming more and more disposable, it seems even people and their feelings matter little.
This is an extension of ‘ghosting’ that refers to someone who has been ‘ghosted’ by the same person on numerous occasions. This term was invented by Cosmopolitan and is another horrible experience to go through. Basically, it means you have been ghosted by someone who comes back into your life and begins to chat and date you again, only to disappear without a trace for a second time. Being ‘ghosted’ once is bad enough, but twice by the same person is just downright despicable. Just like a zombie they keep coming back. If you have been ‘ghosted’ by someone and they try and get back into your life, it might be best to just ignore them or tell them you aren’t interested. You’ve been through enough already.
One of the worst things you can do is pretend to be something you are not, especially when dating. ‘Wokefishing’ is a term created by VICE writer Serena Smith and used to describe men who say they hold liberal and forward-thinking views, when in fact, they couldn’t care less. These men claim to be allies of the LGBTQIA+ community, support the Black Lives Movement and have left-leaning political views, but really don’t have any interest in these things at all. They just say all of this to get women in the sack.
Many guys that use this tactic just to get laid, but there are some who continue with the charade for months and even years until their partner finally finds out their true beliefs. When the truth does eventually get out it results in a lot of problems and usually leads to signal the beginning of the end of the relationship. The simple way to avoid this is by just being honest with who you are and what you believe. It will save a lot of pain in the long run.
This is a term you might be familiar with as it has been in use for a long time. ‘Cuffing’ or ‘cuffing season’ is that time of the year when people decide to find a partner to survive the winter with. Also known as a ‘winter warmer.’ These are usually short-term relationships that end once summer hits.
I, like most people, am guilty of ‘cuffing,’ and while it isn’t a horrible thing to do, it is better if both people enter the relationship knowing that it isn’t going to be forever.
‘Roaching’ sounds pretty bad, and that’s because it is. This phrase is used to describe a situation where the person you have been seeing (usually for a few months) is actually seeing other people at the same time. What you thought was a monogamous situation isn’t that at all. The worst part about ‘roaching’ is the person who has been seeing other people usually uses the defense that they didn’t know you were exclusive.
As Elle so sequentially puts it, “the name ‘roaching’ apparently comes from the theory that whenever you see one cockroach, there are several more that you’re not seeing. So, while you were dating this one person and there was a sense of implied exclusivity, they’ve been seeing a plethora of other people.” Tough times.
This is a term used to inflate your own ego and make you seem a much bigger deal than you might actually be. Coined by journalist Patia Braithwaite, ‘whelming’ is a term used to tell your date that you are being inundated with other matches or receiving a heap of attention from the opposite sex. It’s a mini ego boost meant to show your date how desirable you are. While that may be the case, it makes you come across as a bit of a dick and is not something I would recommend. Your date wants to know she is the center of attention, not all these other women who are supposedly keen.
7. Love Bombing
‘Love bombing’ is a phrase often attributed to people who shower you with affection and love during the initial stages of a relationship. They will send cute texts daily, make plans to experience all sorts of exciting things with you, and generally make you feel like you have met your perfect match. Sounds too good to be true right? Well, yeah, generally it is.
This type of technique is often used by people who are abusive in relationships to make it seem like they are great people. By the time they have lured you into their web of deceit, it is often too late to back out and you will find yourself trapped in an abusive relationship. It can also be similar to ‘ghosting,’ with many people who are keen to ‘love bomb’ just as quick to disappear once they have gotten what they want, which is usually sex. Whichever way you look at it, ‘love bombing’ isn’t a nice thing to do.
Just like the earth orbits around the sun, this word is used to describe people who orbit around your life without actually being involved in it. ‘Orbiting’ refers to people who may follow you on social media and like your posts, leave comments, and even send you a few flirty DMs. But when it comes to actually moving forward with grabbing a drink in the real world, they back away. They are happy to ‘orbit’ your social media without ever actually meeting you in person. Why you would want to do this is anyone’s guess, but it is a big enough thing that The New York Times wrote an article about it.
Another extension of the classic ‘ghosting,’ this term refers to those who just like a text instead of replying to it. So instead of disappearing completely, they will at least dignify your response with a thumbs up or ‘haha’ emoji. While you are at least getting a response, it doesn’t offer much and is more like a token gesture. Whenever anyone replies like this is it a way of ending the conversation without actually ending it. Just be a man and tell them you don’t want to keep speaking or seeing them. It will clear up a lot of confusion.
Heading to the world of sport, ‘benching’ is the process whereby you ‘bench’ a conversation with someone because you have a better offer. It also refers to dating when you are seeing someone you like, but are still keeping your options open. So if you do meet someone better, you can keep them on the bench as a reserve. This requires you to give them just enough ropes so they think things might work out without fully committing to them. Not really nice, but just another byproduct of modern dating.
You thought ‘ghosting’ was bad, wait until you read more about ‘cloaking.’ Similar in theory, with both meaning you suddenly stop communicating or seeing someone. ‘Cloaking’ is worse because it involves actively deleting that person from your life. So not only are you not replying to messages, but you block their phone number. You also unfollow them on all forms of social media. It is almost as if they didn’t exist. This is quite cruel and hurtful but certainly does send the message that you are not keen on seeing that person again. That said, I still don’t recommend ‘cloaking.’ There are nicer ways to break up with someone, like actually talking to them and telling them face to face.
Here is something that most of you have probably experienced at some stage in your life. If you have been seeing your partner for a number of months and things are going great but you are still yet to meet their friends or family, you may have been ‘pocketed.’ This process refers to your partner hiding you in their ‘pocket’ and shielding you from that part of their lives.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, although they could be keeping you secret for nefarious reasons, such as they already have a partner. Generally, ‘pocketing’ is done when someone is unsure if they are ready to take that next step in a relationship and introduce their partner to family and friends. While it seems innocent, it can still be painful, so if you find yourself in that situation it is best just to chat with your partner about how you feel and work things out that way.
This is like the ultra nice version of flirting. ‘Caking’ is where you are super sweet and nice to the person you are trying to date. When you are really interested in them and generally want to know more. You will send them cute texts or continually compliment them on things and generally show you are really interested in them. This is one of the few dating terms that actually stands for something nice and doesn’t involve hurting someone else.
14. Bird Box
This one takes its name from the Sandra Bullock film about a world where people kill themselves after looking at these creatures that have appeared from nowhere. To stop this from happening, people blindfold themselves. This relates to dating when you are seeing someone who treats you badly but you are so in love that you are blinded to the red flags and their bad behavior. Who hasn’t been here?
‘Haunting’ is as scary as it sounds. When someone who has ‘ghosted’ you suddenly reappears and begins watching your stories or likes the odd post but still doesn’t make any actual contact with you, they are ‘haunting.’ Just like a ghost that won’t go away, a person who is ‘haunting’ refuses to completely disappear from your life. This type of behavior can really have a negative impact on someone if the other person is still trying to get over them.
If ‘benching’ is when you put someone on the sidelines to pursue something else, then ‘cookie-jarring’ is when you find out you are the one being ‘benched.’ It is never nice to find out the person you thought you were seeing has actually been going on dates with other people, but unfortunately this is the modern dating experience. Unless things are defined it is open slather. It is never a great feeling to know the person you are keen on is dating other people, so it is always imperative that you make sure you know where you stand.
Ever find yourself listening to music your partner enjoys but you normally wouldn’t, or dressing a certain way because your girlfriend thinks you look good? This is commonly known as ‘eclipsing.’ It is when you begin to change to impress your crush. This can be something small like taking up a sport they enjoy or watching movies they like, to totally overhauling your wardrobe or interests. It is something were are all guilty of participating in but can be dangerous if you start deviating from who you really are to be someone more like what your partner wants. You still have to be your own man and have your own ideas and ideals to live by.
18. Soft Launch
Unlike many of the terms details on this list, ‘soft launch’ isn’t a negative one. It is the process whereby you ‘soft launch’ your relationship and slowly reveal to the world that you have a new partner. It involves giving small hints that you have a new partner without actually naming them or putting your Facebook status as ‘in a relationship.’ Maybe you mention you had a great time with someone special or post a photograph with you holding hands with someone else but not showing their face or mentioning their name.
‘Soft launch’ was coined by actress Rachel Sennet, who tweeted in 2020, “Congratulations on the soft launch of ur boyfriend (pic on story, elbow and side profile only).”
Ever been on a date that felt more like an interview than an actual date? Then you have been on a ‘daterview.’ This is when the other person constantly asks you a stream of questions without really engaging in a conversation. “What do you do for work?” What are your hobbies?” “How did your last relationship end?” These questions just keep on coming and don’t feel natural. There is no flow to the convo, just a series of questions and answers. Not the way you want any date to go.
20. Slow Fade
This is what happens when the relationship slowly erodes away to the point where neither of you bothers staying in contact. It is a general ‘slow fade’ where you both want things to end but neither can actually come out and say it. This means the texts slowly get less, the Instagram likes teeter off, and the dates rarely happen. It is not a great way to end things but is something many have experienced. It is often easier just to let things fade away than actually end things with a text or call.
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