Ghosting, Benching, Love Bombing, Freckling: Do you know what each term means? How about being DTF for an ONS with an FWB? Our little glossary of dating tells you everything you need to know about the latest dating terminology, from trends to abbreviations.
Dating trends – sometimes with bizarre words that need decoding – are piling up online and on dating apps. If you want to understand what everyone is going on about, check it out. Our dating glossary clarifies all the new, strange and unfamiliar terminology and provides answers to every question you may have – once and for all.
“Down to F**k”. Willing to engage in sexual intercourse. This person knows what they want.
One Night Stand. Meeting someone, having sex with them, then never seeing them again. Can be exciting, can be dull. You may see the variation MNS (Many Night Stand) – ie. shallow, sex-led dating.
FFM / MFM
People looking for a threesome will specify what configuration they are looking for – FFM means “Female, Female, Male” and MFM means “Male, Female, Male.”
If someone’s Tinder profile has a unicorn emoji, it means that they’re looking to be the third – or the “guest star” – in a threesome. Either that, or they are just a bit whimsical and not aware of the connotations.
Friends With Benefits. You’re not in a relationship, you’re not particularly romantic with each other, you’re just mates who have sex together sometimes. It can be a nice set-up, but it’s easy for one or both to catch feelings, so treat carefully.
Bondage, Domination, Sadism, Masochism. This is what a lot of people refer to as “kink” or “hardcore,” the stuff that goes beyond vanilla. Getting tied up, hitting, pain, humiliation, and all sorts of practices that wouldn’t generally be considered as pleasurable are on the table. Good to know if this is something you’d like to try out – or avoid! – on the dating scene.
You’ve met at a party and instantly clicked. Maybe you’ve already been on a few dates and it went well. But suddenly they break off contact and don’t respond to any of your attempts to get in touch. There’s no call, no email and no explanation. Baby, you’ve been ghosted. Ghosting is when lovers or friends withdraw without warning or giving a reason why. This can be painful for the person who is ghosted, left with no reminder of the relationship but feelings of hurt and rejection.
On the other hand, maybe you’ve ghosted someone. Maybe you felt them getting too attached and had to peace out before things got too serious. Maybe you got anxious and didn’t know how to explain you just didn’t want to see them anymore… Ghosters often ghost people simply because they can’t deal with telling someone something they don’t want to hear: that they’re just not that into them. If you’ve ghosted before, just remember it’s probably better to be upfront about what you want – you’re dating an adult and will be able to handle it if you just tell them you’re no longer interested. And if you’ve been ghosted, just remember that dating is more about compatibility than it is about being “accepted” or “rejected” by another person. If someone ghosts you, it’s not because you’re not hot or funny or interesting enough – there’s just something about your dynamic with that person that’s not clicking – and that’s fine!
Have you ever been to a party with a friend and gotten the feeling that they only invited you so there’d be someone to hang out with if nobody more interesting came along? People do this in the dating world too. Benching – or “breadcrumbing” – means keeping in contact with someone you’ve dated purely to have a back-up option if more desirable dates don’t work out. The term comes from sport – a substitute player waits on the substitute bench in case a better player is injured. Not a flattering feeling! In order to keep the benched person interested, the bencher will provide small morsels of interest and affection – “breadcrumbs” – to fake a more genuine interest in a relationship.
You can tell if you’re being benched a mile off – they cancel plans, only call you late or last-minute, only feign interest in details about your life, and would never dream of introducing them to the people in their life who are actually important. It’s pretty rude, sure, but we have busy lives and maybe we’ve all been a little guilty of having “back-up” friends or dates, a reliable, no-stress hang-out in case nothing more exciting comes up? As with ghosting, a lot of time and emotional effort could be saved by just being upfront about what you want. A simple “I’m not looking for a relationship, but maybe we can hang” would be easier than a whole intricately laid trail of breadcrumbs, no? If you get the feeling you’re being benched, walk away. As Florence Given says, you don’t deserve crappy little breadcrumbs. You deserve the whole goddamn cake.
#3: Binge Dating
Everyone knows what binge watching means: the marathon-like consumption of an entire season of a TV show. In the dating world this model becomes binge dating. Binge daters will have five dates a week from five different Tinder matches. Lots of people do this post break-up: at first, the dates boost self-esteem or create a great distraction from that break-up pain. However, after the initial dating high, binge dating can lead to feelings of emptiness. If you’re looking to get over someone by getting under someone, remember to be an ethical sl*t – be honest with your dates that you’re not looking for anything serious.
#4: Love Bombing
Love bombing is the opposite of ghosting or benching. Maybe you’ve met someone new and everything is going well. Even better, they’re showering you with love. You’re together 24/7 and may even feel like you haven’t just met a new lover, but a soul mate. But then, as soon as you want to do something with your friends (and not with your new partner) their behavior rapidly changes. You may be labelled as egotistic and be punished through withdrawal or even verbal abuse. In short, when you are love bombed, you are showered with “love” – of course, it’s not really love, but only a pale imitation – but only for as long as you behave the way your love bomber wants you to. This is emotional manipulation, making you believe that they can’t possibly be controlling or jealous because they just care about you so much. If you’re dating a love bomber who tries to control you, what you do or who you see with justifications that sound like “I only want what’s best for you because I love you so much!” then this is your cue to Run For The Hills. Drop their ass and don’t look back. You deserve better.
Orbiting is Ghosting Lite. Your date breaks off direct communication with you but still – irritatingly and confusingly – maintains contact in minor ways. They like your insta post. They comment on your Facebook in some random, meaningless way. Orbiting is not complete ghosting, but it’s a method of benching – they’re not really interested, but keeping their options open. If you’re being orbited, don’t get hung up on it. It can be nice if you’re both each other’s back up option – as long as you know where you stand and nobody’s feelings are getting hurt.
Summer love affairs aren’t exactly new, but they’ve been given a new name – freckling. The term describes a light-hearted affair that only lasts during the summer months, just like the freckles that appear on the skin. When the first leaves fall in autumn, the romance is over.
The term stashing is fairly straightforward – you’re dating someone but they don’t want to be seen by friends, family or the wider public with you. They don’t want you to be mentioned on their instagram or other social media. Take a look: did they ever post a photo of the two of you together or tag you in a video?
If you’ve only been going out for a short time, this may be totally normal. You probably wouldn’t introduce someone as your partner right away! People have boundaries and it’s wise not to rush into a relationship when you don’t fully know someone yet. That’s perfectly okay and should always be respected.
However! If this behavior continues over a longer period of time it could be a case of stashing, and unless you have a fetish for being someone’s dirty little secret, you deserve better. Especially if you get the feeling that they’re hiding you from their “real life” because they’re embarrassed to publically admit they’re dating someone like you. Not cool. Get outta there.
No joke, the Great American Novel has inspired modern dating terms! Gatsbying is when you post something showy, impressive or cool purely to get your love interest’s attention. Come on, we’ve all done it…
The origin of the term “Gatsbying” is the F. Scott Fitzgerald novel “The Great Gatsby” and the movie of the same name starring Leonardo DiCaprio. The story describes how the young, mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby tries to win the love of his childhood sweetheart Daisy by organizing lavish parties to attract her attention.
That is exactly what Gatsbying is: the attempt to impress. In recent times, this means making a bomb ass post on social media, especially Instagram. If you’re trying to impress someone by posting dozens of photos and stories that only show you from your very best side, it’s likely that you’re Gatsbying. As dating ruses go, this one is fairly harmless. Everyone likes to look cool on Instagram.
You’ve met someone who has just recently come out of a relationship. Never mind – everything’s going well so far. And they only occasionally talk about the ex. But what if your new partner is only looking for reassurance from you? And as soon as their self-confidence has recovered, you’re left behind? That’s exactly what “hyping” refers to. It simply means taking advantage of someone as a gap filler.