50+ Modern Dating Relationship Terms Explained

Stylised pop art drawing of a woman with bright pink hair looking shocked because she has been ghosted

We get it! Dating can be tough! Whether you’re looking for a quick hook up or a long term relationship, the dating world has changed. For many singles dating has become a minefield with ghosting, cushioning, mosting and stashing leaving a trail of victims wondering what they did wrong. Whilst some relate to behavioural issues others are just plain rude and dating apps are partly to blame as they provide an almost never ending choice of potential partners online. 

So, here’s our guide to over 50 modern dating relationships terms you need to know. How many do you recognise or have fallen victim to?

Ambigusweetie: A term invented by Chris Dunphy from "ambiguous sweetie" which refers to a relationship which is ambiguous or not clearly defined. In a poly relationship it might be used if you are not a primary or secondary partner and not simply friends. The lack of clarity is often intentional and used because both partners want to avoid labels.

Back Burner: A platonic albeit flirtatious relationship you maintain with an ex love interest in case your current relationship doesn’t work out. 

Backslide: When you get back with your ex even though it didn’t end well. 

Benching: When you're not into someone enough to commit to officially dating them, but you don't want them to move on and find someone else, so you string them along. If messages only come through at the last minute when they want something you are being benched. 

Breadcrumbing: When you send flirty non-committal messages to someone when you're not really interested in dating them but don't have the guts to break things off completely or just want to keep their interest in you alive. 

Breezing: Not playing games has become the new game play. Breezing means being authentic, texting back right away, not over sharing, being honest about what you want but feeling ok about breezing out if it doesn’t work out.  

Caspering:  A more compassionate alternative to ghosting where your love interest gives you an explanation or a warning before they start ignoring your texts or calls or haven’t asked you out again but still reply to your texts.

Catfish: When your potential online love interest is pretending to be someone else.

Catch & Release: When someone puts a lot of effort into pursuing someone until they “catch” them only to lose interest and move on to someone else. 

Cloaking: Not restricted to sci fi fans cloaking is apparently the new ghosting where a potential love interest goes quiet on social media. You’ve been blocked. 

Cookie Jarring: When you discover your love interest has been dating someone else the whole time and you were the back up option. 

Curving: Dating slang for being rejected but in a more subtle way than a flat out no. 

Cushioning: Where you want to keep all of your cards in play so you line up one or several options and have them on the backburner to cushion the blow if your relationship fails.  

Date View: Your date doesn’t actually have to take notes but it feels like they should be. Getting drilled about marriage, kids or your honeymoon destination on the first date makes it seem more like an interview than a date.

Deep Liking: Scrolling through the social media posts of a potential love interest and liking posts sometimes years old. 

Dick & Dash: Essentially the relationship is over as soon as you have sex. It’s sending all the signs that they’re committing to a long term relationship, then dumping you after you’ve slept with them.

DM Slide: When you get a message from a potential love interest via direct message on a social media platform to start flirting with you. They will need to be your friend or mutual likes or risk their direct message lingering unseen in the Other folder. 

Anything sounding familiar?

DTR or Define the Relationship: The pivotal conversation about where the relationship is heading. Are you a couple, exclusive or just friends with benefits?

Emotional Affair: When someone who is in a relationship gets their emotional needs met by someone else but it doesn’t progress to a physical relationship. See also Micro Cheating.

FBO: Acronym for making a relationship Facebook official. 

Firedooring: When the effort in a relationship is one-sided because firedoors only open one way. A love interest may never reply to your texts until they contact you because they want something. Sounds like a booty call.  

Food Baiting: When you’re only dating for the free dinners. 

Freckling: More or less the opposite of cuffing in that coming into Summer you might be on a love interest’s hook up roster but just like freckles they’ll disappear once the cooler weather arrives. 

Friends with Benefits or FWB: A casual arrangement where you like someone and hang out and occasionally sleep together but have no intention of progressing it to a romantic relationship.

Fuck buddy: Similar to Friends with Benefits however you may not hang out outside of the bedroom with your fuck buddy, but you can always depend on them for sexy times. 

Ok, so they’re not all bad! 

Gaslighting: Psychological manipulation which makes the victim question their reality. It can be so subtle that the manipulation can leave victims anxious, confused and unable to trust their own memory. 

Gatsbying: A term coined by an Australian model where your social media posts are staged in the hope that a potential love interest sees them - just like the opulent parties Jay Gatsby hosted to get Daisy’s attention. See also Peacocking.

Ghosting: When the love interest you have been dating disappears out of your life with no explanation and no contact. Like none! At all!

Haunting: A past love interest remains stuck in your online realm silently lurking. They show up to spook you without warning by liking or commenting on the same post as you although you never actually hooked up on social media. Often the notifications are a deliberate attempt to remind you that they still exist. See also Orbiting. Time to block. 

Kittenfishing: When your online date turns up and looks nothing like their online dating profile, eg. 10 years older, a few kilos heavier, perhaps a law student and not an actual lawyer as their profile stated. They are portraying themselves in a flattering way online which is nothing like reality. 

Layby: When you date somebody who is okay while flirting with better options in the fast lane.

Left on Read: You send a text to your love interest, you get a read receipt, then … nothing. Silence.  See also R Bomb.

Lockering: When a love interest ditches you claiming that there’s nothing wrong – they just need to focus on their studies. 

Love bombing: When a potential love interest shows extreme amounts of affection and potentially tries to have an unhealthy level of control very early in the relationship. However, once you've committed to a relationship the love bomber withdraws their affection, showing their true colours and leaving you stuck in a nightmare relationship or perhaps even ghosts you. 

Marleying: Basically your ex showing up and suddenly wanting to rekindle your relationship over Christmas, using the flimsy excuse of the festive season to wriggle their way back into your life again.

Micro-Cheating: Emotional rather than physical cheating, such as flirting or messaging someone. See also Emotional Affair.

Monkeying: Constantly move from one relationship to another without taking a break inbetween. 

Mosting: Where your love interest convinces you that you’re the one, before they disappear from your life … and your social media. For some men this is a deep seated behavioural pattern while for some they know that flattery works so they lay it on thick just to get a casual hookup.

Negging: A backhanded compliment to get your attention where you’re offended but also a little flattered, eg. a guy says he usually only dates blondes but for you he’d make an exception. 

Nonversation: Chat on a dating app that goes nowhere and fails to end in a date. 

On a Thing: The new term for casually dating.

Open Relationship: Where a couple in a relationship agree that they can sleep with other people. 

Orbiting: When a former love interest continues to circle by liking your social media posts so it’s hard to get them out of your mind. 

Keep reading … it’s a very long list! 

Paperclipping: When a former love interest pops back into your life (usually via a msg) months, or even years after the relationship ended, for no other reason than seemingly to remind you that they exist (just like Microsoft’s Clippy, who would jump into Word docs to see if you needed help).

Peacocking: Staging yourself in a social media post to gain the attention of your love interest. See also Gatsbying.

Phubbing: A love interest who loves their phone more than they love you. They are constantly on their phone sending messages or checking social media and totally forget about the person they’re with. 

Pocketing: Another term for stashing. When your love interest appears to be in no hurry to seriously commit. 

Proofing: When you’re only on the date to be able to show them off in social media posts. 

Prowling: When a potential love interest who you are getting to know on a deeper level disappears, avoids your calls and then reappears. They hunt you down and toy with your emotions.  

R-Bomb: When your love interest reads your message but doesn’t reply. See also Left on Read.

Roaching: When a love interest hides the fact that they're dating around and, when confronted, claim there was no agreement of monogamy. In today's more poly-friendly dating culture, this is a slick tactic to shift the blame to the person confronting them, but the truth is it's the responsibility of both parties to be open about seeing other people if that's the case. 

Sex Interview: With old fashioned dating you got to know someone to decide if you might want to have sex. Increasingly some millennials use sex to decide if they want to bother getting to know someone and often have the sex interview to see if it’s worthwhile even going on a first date.  

Situationship: A sexual relationship which falls short of committing to being in a relationship. 

Slay: The act of getting a lot of dates and a lot of action in other words a person who just hooks up for no strings attached sex. 

Slow Fading: The process of ending a relationship by gradually reducing contact and leaving longer time gaps between your replies. It’s a kinder version of breadcrumbing, the person doing the fading will taper off contact.

Snack: We can blame MAFS for this one. A short term fling ‘cos someone looked good enough to eat. 

Soft Ghosting: When a love interest likes you last text but then you never hear from them again meaning technically they did reply and can deny any claims of ghosting.

Sneating: You agree to go on a date with someone who has shown interest but you’re more interested in the date than them as a potential love interest. 

Stashing: When a love interest doesn’t introduce you to their family or friends and deliberately hides you from their social media feed. You are probably being played and it’s not going to turn into a relationship.

Subbing: Indirectly referencing a love interest in a social media post without ever mentioning their name. 

Submarining: When your love interest cuts off all communication or they ghost you but suddenly they re-appear and act like nothing happened and don’t even apologise.

Textlationship or Textual Relationship:  The flirtatious connection between two people that works on messenger apps but never seems to happen face to face. The passion might be there in the texts but never translates to the streets or the sheets.

Tuning: Very pointed and strategic flirting either IRL or liking social media posts in an effort to get a potential love interest's attention. Getting tuned can be flattering but as it doesn’t go anywhere it can also be exhausting. 

Valentighting: When you are dumped by your love interest just before Valentine’s Day to avoid taking the relationship to the next level or having to buy flowers.

Zombie-ing: Basically your love interest comes back from the dead to haunt you. Much like submarining or lockering they might blame something happening in their personal life or work which prevented them from staying in touch. 

8 comments

  • HotAshxxc

    HotAshxxc

    More than a month ago

    Good fun Articles :)

    Reply
  • Account closed

    FreeCoffee

    More than a month ago

    Lying, selfish, a-holes sums up most of these terms. Y can't people just grow up and treat others how they wanna b treated? Truth hurts, but not as much as lies.

    Reply
  • Curvesnextdoor Photo

    Curvesnextdoor

    More than a month ago

    Too many names that can be summed up as
    1.wanker/loser
    2. Indifferent
    3. Hot as ??

    Reply
  • barkly48 Photo

    barkly48

    More than a month ago

    WOW.... a whole new language... who comes up with all these?

    Reply
  • Account closed

    friskypuz

    More than a month ago

    Yep, familiar with some of these, but it just gets a bit complicated.
    I think l will stick with my Fwb /fuck buddy and enjoy the moment..

    Reply
  • SweetestSins Photo

    SweetestSins

    More than a month ago

    Ohhh I’ve been “kittenfished” from here ! It’s mildly satisfying that there is a cute name for it lol
    His thought process (or lack there of) in perhaps assuming I wouldn’t notice he looks nothing like his profile or I would just ignore the fact that he suddenly aged 15 years and 40kg was interesting.

    Quick text to the best friend “I need a bail out call - stat” and I suddenly had to attend an emergency haha

    • Account closed

      Account Closed

      More than a month ago

      I've had this done . I drove 40mins to meet him. I felt really bad as I didnt want to just get up and leave so I drank 3 big glasses of wine to make the night a bit better.

    • Looking4ourfun Photo

      Looking4ourfun

      More than a month ago

      I hope we don't get to the stage where a full body shot with today's newspaper is required as in a kidnapping!

    Reply
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