9 mins read
September 24, 2021

7 Terms to Help You Navigate The Modern Dating World

Facing issues in modern dating? Find 7 valuable dating terms to help you navigate the process smoothly and efficiently.
Courtney Hyzy
Courtney Hyzy

According to a study conducted by the Pew Research Center, nearly 30% of adult Americans say they have tried online dating. And honestly, it's not surprising now that most people have a dating profile.

In real life, we are intrinsically linked to our phones to see how others have committed relationships and how their romantic relationships are going, ignoring warning signs for us. This made us have relationships like them: a romantic relationship or a committed relationship!

Romantic partner OR Potential partner: Confusion

Relationship expert says that seeing other people enjoying their romantic partner can make us expect a romantic relationship from our partners. We forgot all people do not have the same nature.

  • Some want to go into committed relationships, while some need love bombing.
  • Some people look for romantic partners, while others look for potential partners.
  • Some go into a thirst trap, while others genuinely care about their partners.

What matters is what you need in your real life.

If you are single and looking for solutions to online dating, you have landed in the right place. Here, you will find seven valuable dating terms to help you navigate online dating smoothly and efficiently.

Navigating Modern Dating

Online Dating is always tricky, but the added technology layer has made things a little more complex. Before dating apps and social media, you must follow through on dating plans to get to know the person.

There's more fish in the sea!

If you get bored talking to one person on an app, you can jump to a different conversation or expand your radius to find more matches.

The people start to blend, and before you know it, you're not thinking twice about standing someone up for a first date. It might not feel that shitty to stop responding to messages suddenly…

But remember, there's another human on the other side of that screen with hopes and emotions. So, how do you protect your emotional energy on dating apps or online dating in general?

What's the solution?

Well, for starters, know what you're looking for - casual hookups or someone with the potential for long-term companionship.

Once you know your goals, you must remember that not everyone you swipe on and meet will be compatible with you or want what you want or have to offer.

7 Terms for Modern Dating

To be successful in having a relationship of your own choice, you must have clear goals. So, let's watch for some shifty and shady dating behaviors from others and ourselves.

1. The Not So Friendly Ghost

The most common dating term most of us are familiar with would be ghosting. Ghosting is so prolific that it's even entered Webster's dictionary! If you're unfamiliar with the term, it's when your romantic interest suddenly stops responding to messages or phone calls and disappears out of thin air. It's like a Vegas magicians' act but way less fun.

Unfortunately, ghosting has become reasonably common. In a 2018 study conducted by BankMyCell, 29% of women reported they had had well-experienced ghosting compared to 20% of men, primarily to avoid confrontation.

What to do:

  • Remember, there is an actual person on the other side of that screen with hopes, expectations, and feelings.
  • Instead of ghosting a person, we encourage you to communicate in your own words.
  • Sure, confrontation is uncomfortable, but you need practical communication skills if you're trying to date and form a relationship with another.

2. I Feel A Strong Presence

So, you've been ghosted. It doesn't feel good, but the confusing part is they're still watching your stories and liking your photos on Instagram. What's that about? They're haunting you.

Haunting is when someone has ghosted you but continues following your social media accounts and interacting with your posts.

Before you get upset, remember that social media connections are a two-way street. You could've unfollowed or deleted them after their disappearing act, too.

If someone ghosts you, accept it as closure and delete them off social media because what's the benefit of keeping them around?

What to do:

  • You don't need to prove you're "better off" or that they're "missing out" by posting stories and pictures of your fun adventures.
  • You need to move on, too.

And for you haunters, remember that the person you ghosted or abruptly broke things off with is a human being. Seeing that you've watched their stories might make them think there's a chance you miss them and have regrets when you don't; you're just bored on Instagram.

Unfollow them and stay a ghost!

3. From The Depths Of The Sea

Wait... but what if they don't stay a ghost who only creeps your social media accounts? One day, like a submarine returning to the surface for air, they reappeared months with the beautifully worded, poetic text of "hey." Hey yourself.

You call them out and get an "I'm sorry, I just had a lot going on. My mom's best friend's grandfather needed a hip replacement, and it was just a lot to deal with," or whatever bullshit excuse they give you.

Whatever the reason, they're back now, and you have a decision to make -- whether you give them another chance or not.

What to do:

  • If you're dealing with a submariner, take a minute and think about how it felt when they dropped off the face of the earth. You can listen to their explanation, but you don't have to accept it as fact or give them another chance.
  • If you're contemplating coming back into someone's life after disappearing, we ask you to pause and honestly think about your reasons why. Is it because you're lonely or bored?

Do you miss your connection with them, or do you miss having someone around?

4. Don't Follow The Breadcrumb Trail

So, let's say you've made it past being ghosted or haunted but forming the connection with them is starting to feel Sisyphean at best. You're confused because they send sweet good morning texts, tell you they miss you, but flake the second you try to make plans.

You might accidentally follow a breadcrumb trail that Hansel or Gretel left behind.

Breadcrumbing is when a romantic interest sends sporadic, non-committal texts to keep you interested when they have no intention of taking things further. It's a modern way of saying they're leading you on.

What to do:

  • Establish boundaries for yourself and set a limit to the number of times you will exert effort in an attempt to make plans with someone before ending it.
  • Remember: you're worth more than being put on the back burner.

Do you have someone on your dating roster that you know you have no intentions of pursuing romantically?

Cut them LOOSE!

  • Be mindful of that person's wellness and tell them you're not interested in pursuing things further than your few dates.

5. Put Me In The Game, Coach

Have you been talking to someone who seems great, but it feels like they're indifferent to where things are going?

They might keep you "on the bench" for those lonely nights or when other dating prospects fall through.

Benching and Breadcrumbing seem similar, but there is a core difference. Those who use benching want your companionship… when it's convenient for them.

The Bencher's Issue

If you text a bencher asking to hang out, they will probably say yes, so long as they're free. Text a breadcrumber to get together? You'll probably get an "I can't tonight, but let's reschedule!" with no definitive date.

The bencher probably genuinely enjoys your company, but they're either not ready to settle into a relationship or date multiple people simultaneously. And honestly, unless you've had a conversation with them about monogamy or what you're looking for, they're not technically doing anything wrong.

What to do:

Are you the bencher?

  • We encourage you to work on being comfortable with being alone or transparently communicate with your prospects that you are dating multiple people or not looking for anything serious.

6. It's Like A Relationship, But It's Not

Not knowing where you stand with someone can be anxiety-inducing regarding online dating. Do you and your current prospect make plans for the future, spend most nights together, and are together but not together? You might be caught in a situation.

A situation is when you're effectively dating someone, but there are no labels, and the "what are we" conversation never comes to fruition or resolution. This usually happens because one (or both) parties get all the benefits of a relationship without the commitment. But depending on your dating goals, a situationship might not be fulfilling if you're looking for a reliable long-term partnership.

What to do:

  • If you want something more casual and non-committal, communicate it to the person you see.
  • Leading someone on, even unintentionally, is hurtful.

7. Going, Going, GONE

And finally, the slow fade. If you're an experienced dater, you've most likely been part of (or done) a slow fade. This is when the person slowly pulls away from you by gradually texting less and being non-committal with plans, and you can feel excitement fading. A slow fader might think they're doing the right thing over ghosting, but they're still missing the point on the importance of communication.

The slow burn is frustrating because it feels like you're watching hope and potential slip through your fingers like sand, and most of the time, you're not sure why and what changed.

  • Did they meet someone else?
  • Are they just no longer interested?
  • Did I do something wrong?

What to do:

Grabbing on tighter to the person giving you the brush off will likely not keep them around. Ask them if you feel like the person you're talking to is slowly fading. You can say, "I feel like you're not as invested in this connection as you once were, and I would like to talk about that."

And if you're losing interest in your prospect, we encourage you to talk with them instead of doing a slow burn. Why drag it out for weeks when you can rip the bandaid off? Not every relationship we get into will work out, and that's okay. What's not okay is giving someone false hope when there is no hope to be had.

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Modern Dating Terms: Tips & Tricks

Modern dating is constantly changing, making it seem like unfamiliar ground. Understanding current dating terms is crucial in the age of dating apps and social media. To enjoy healthy online dating, you must make it an exclusive relationship. Our dating advice for an exclusive relationship is to work to:

  • Build strong compatibility
  • Develop communication skills
  • Set relationship goals
  • Set intimacy limits
  • Open relationship chemistry
  • Set healthy boundaries

Step 1

  • Start with the cuffing season. Autumn leaves increase the longing for a warm spouse for the winter. A quick fling or a more committed relationship is sought at this period.

Step 2

  • Beware of social media's tempting thirst traps when you date. These carefully produced articles are meant to entice you, but what you see isn't necessarily what you get.

Step 3

  • Staying alert for social traps is essential to mental health in contemporary dating. While meeting new people and exciting prospects is expected, knowing the warning signs and love bombing may safeguard your heart and mental health.

Step 4

  • Your digital entrance to this world is a legitimate and engaging dating profile, which helps you attract genuine contacts and find a happy romantic relationship.

Final Words

Dating is hard. Period!

Getting back out there can feel daunting, but knowing what shifty behaviors look for can help protect your heart, time, and energy.

And remember: the actions of others are not a reflection of you. If someone ghosts you after a few dates, it's a them problem, not a you problem. Their lack of communication or maturity should not dictate your sense of worth! It hurts to have the potential disappear, but be mindful that you're not just excited about a person's potential than the reality of a person.

What are your early dating or relationship red flags?

Let our community know in the comments below to learn from one another!

When in doubt, our trustworthy relationship expert can help you through contemporary dating's twists and turns.

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