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The Dark Side of Modern Dating

The Dark Side of Modern Dating

Nerve-wracking: most people would agree this is a reasonably accurate summary of modern dating. Ghosting and blanking are now well-known terms, but have you heard of haunting? Stashing? A slow-fade? Breadcrumbing? A fresh pit of soul-perishing possibilities seems to be re-emerging in the dating world. So here is some advice on navigating the question: “Why does my date act this way?”

Is Dating Trickier Now Than Ever?

Guaranteed – dating has never been a walk in the park. However, in the era of social media, it should be easier to find a match, right? Ironically, having more options makes the whole process a lot more complicated. As the saying goes, the grass is always greener on the other side – a concept that applies to dating now more than ever. If you think about it, dating apps fool you into thinking that your options are unlimited. Are there no more single folk left in your area? Not to worry – you can always extend your search to a different city or even another country. There will always be someone attractive to swipe right on.

In theory, this should mean you can make a satisfactory selection. In reality, it might make you wonder if you’ve made the right choice. Evidence for this paradox comes from several studies. For example, researchers in the US conducted a study on online daters’ satisfaction. They found that participants who picked their partner from a large dating pool were less satisfied than those who had fewer options. [1]

Since love is so very romanticised (thank you, Disney), it’s difficult not to wonder if somewhere out there, there’s someone perfect for you.

Toxic Dating Behaviours You Might Have to Deal With

Another downside to having more options is that you’ll almost inevitably have to face more disappointment. Texting a few people at a time can be exhausting. But the challenge doesn’t end here. You might also have to deal with many toxic dating behaviours that make you wish rejection had reared its head earlier.

So, here are a few terms you need to be aware of:

Dating: Ghosting & Haunting

I’m sure you’ve heard of this one. Ghosting describes the act of disappearing on someone when you’re no longer interested and can be very hurtful if you’re on the receiving end. When this happens to you, it’s helpful not to take it personally (easier said than done, I know). People who ghost usually don’t have enough courage to tell you the truth. They might have low emotional intelligence and believe it’s kinder not to be honest, or even struggle mentally and find it easier to disappear without explanation. Regardless, you don’t want a haunting.

© HBO

When you get ghosted, getting back together is rarely on the cards. Nevertheless, the person might not disappear from your life entirely and start haunting you instead. Sticking around like a persistent poltergeist, they might follow you on social media, like your posts, and occasionally comment on your stories, giving you a false hope they might return your affection one day. Try not to fall for it, though, because in most cases, they’re just feeling horny. You deserve better.

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Breadcrumbing

No one likes being the second option, but sometimes it might be hard to tell if this is the case. When someone is breadcrumbing, you get just enough attention to keep you interested. However, the culprit will never commit to plans and definitely not to a relationship. For many people, it’s a way to boost their ego. Some might also feel lonely and string you along to avoid ending up alone. Whatever the reason is, accept it’s not about you and move on.

Slow Fade

A slow fade (and no, we are not talking about the haircut) happens when someone gradually withdraws from a relationship. For example, the person might become busier than usual, take longer to reply to your texts or appear to have lost interest. When someone pulls a slow fade, it’s usually a sign that they lack maturity and communication skills. Other times, the reason behind it might be entirely selfish; they know that having a difficult conversation will make them feel uncomfortable, so they avoid it altogether.

Stashing

What if your relationship is going well and you spend every moment together but never in public? Stashing means that your partner is reluctant to introduce you to their friends and family, often meaning that they’re keeping their options open. If you feel that’s what’s happening, have an honest conversation with them first. Then, if they don’t – or can’t – give you an explanation, it might be time to run.

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