Brittney is a licensed professional counselor and a certified rehabilitation counselor. She has a Master's in counseling.
The Dating Game Has Changed
If you have been out of the dating world for a while, you'll need to know a few things as you start your journey to modern dating. Modern dating usually involves online dating, which is a whole different world in and of itself. There is new lingo and slang you'll need to learn before you jump back into the dating game. You'll probably laugh at some of the terms because in all honesty, the words sound funny, but the actions and behaviors associated with them is very real.
Do not be scared because there have been many people who have met their husband or wife from online dating, but don't be naïve either. You have to keep in mind that you are not meeting people in their element, and they are behind a screen. Again, don't let that scare you to a point of never dating again. But you have to be aware that there are bad people in the world, and you need to have your guard up for a bit.
I'm probably making you frightened but that is not my intention. I say these things with such seriousness because the world of dating is not what it was three to four years ago. It has drastically changed. You need to be prepared for anything. The following list of actions and behaviors as well as the signs associated with them is to help you become better informed about dating in the present time.
What exactly is ghosting? The name pretty much sums it up. Ghosting occurs when you or the other person in the dating relationship, whether it is serious or not, vanishes without an explanation or any type of communication. When you ghost someone or vice-versa, it affects your self-esteem and you may possibly ask yourself what you did wrong.
The ghosted person did nothing wrong. The other person was just too emotionally immature to communicate anything so instead, they said nothing at all. Here are some signs to look out for if you feel you may be ghosted.
- Sporadic communication or not texting or calling as much
- You are initiating the plans more often than not
- Goodnight and good morning texts become infrequent
- Doesn't come around as often or seems absent even when you are together
- Seems to have a reason or excuse for not being around or for why things have suddenly changed
Please keep in mind that these are not written in stone, never to be changed again. Also, do not overanalyze the relationship if one of these signs are present. Make sure to take the entire relationship from beginning to end and try to find a pattern of behavior. If there is a pattern, more likely than not the other person will ghost at some point. Patterns are like habits and extremely hard to break or change. Remember that.
Benching means one person isn't into the other person enough to make a commitment. At the same time, the one person doesn't want the other to find someone else. This is a conscious act to string someone along just enough to keep them waiting for you on the sidelines, or on the bench waiting.
Some people think benching is worse than other things because it's a conscious effort to keep someone waiting for another even though a commitment to the other person is unlikely. It's stringing someone along and giving hope to a future commitment when really, it's not in the cards for the person who is doing the benching.
What are some signs of benching?
- Feeds you lines that make you think there is a future for you and that person
- Cancels plans more often than not but still keeps in contact with you, although sporadically
- You become fearful of scaring the person off
- Rarely returns phone calls
- Seems like they are always busy or too busy to make time for you
- Always questioning where the relationship stands
- You get the feeling the person just isn't that in to you
If you ever feel like a person isn't into you or the person shows minimal interest, do not waste your time. In the current dating world, there is no more "playing hard to get" because it's just a waste of your time and the other person's. A person should be willing to put in time and effort for the relationship and if they're not, say your goodbyes now before you get hurt more than you already are.
Breadcrumbing and benching have some overlap in what they entail. One of the differences between the two concepts is with benching, the person being benched is more aware that the other person is seeing other people whereas breadcrumbing the other person has no idea and is being fed "breadcrumbs" to keep them holding on, especially when they are so close to calling it quits.
It's one thing to be open and honest and tell each other you are seeing other people. It's a whole different ballgame when one person is keeping the person out of the loop and consciously throwing them a bone to keep them holding on for something that is most likely never going to happen.
Some signs of breadcrumbing are:
- Sporadic but affectionate text messages or phone calls
- Contacts you when they want something from you
- Refuse to commit to a relationship
- You don't feel good about the situation
- Passive aggressive statements that sometimes make you feel bad
- You're questioning whether or not you did something wrong
Breadcrumbing is becoming a modern dating trend and it's important to be aware of the signs and possibility that someone may be breadcrumbing you. Make sure to note when the other person contacts you, what the messages say, etc. You'll want to steer clear of people who are capable of breadcrumbing because it takes a conscious effort and they are fully aware of what they are doing.
What is cushioning? Cushioning is when a person is flirting or scanning other options in case their current relationship fails. It sounds like a funny concept but what the person is really doing is making sure they have a "cushion" in case their relationship falls through the cracks.
The person doing the cushioning is underestimating their current relationship for some reason that differs from person to person. The person cushioning does not usually cheat. They are lining people up for the rebound in case their current relationship does not work.
Here are some of the signs of cushioning:
- The person has their phone on and out every time you are with them
- Their actions and behaviors vary between extremes of hot and cold
- Secretive when it comes to social media
- Not very interested in being intimate with you
It's difficult to be sure whether or not someone is cushioning you and before jumping to conclusions, make sure you take note of all their behaviors. Determine what you think is odd and what you think is considered "normal". The person doing the cushioning obviously has little faith in the relationship so be sure to be aware of cushioning and if it is happening to you.
These modern dating concepts are essential to know while reentering the dating world. It has changed and continues to change faster than we can keep up with. Don't become hopeless and think you'll never find someone who is true to their core and character because there are many out there.
Unfortunately, there are many selfish and cruel people out there who don't care about hurting someone else. Keep yourself informed. That is always the best practice when you are dating or when you're meeting people in general. There are good people in the world and do not deprive yourself of something good by becoming obsessed with the concepts discussed. It is just providing you with information regarding current dating trends and to make sure you are aware of those trends to protect yourself from getting hurt in the future.
If any of these happen to you, it is a reflection on the other person's character.
© 2018 Brittney Lindstrom
What is your experience with any of the listed trends?
Brittney Lindstrom (author) from Chicago, IL on August 07, 2018:
I'm sorry. It's why I stopped dating for a while. Had to make sure I was emotionally strong enough to deal with certain things, like bread crumbing.
Cackus on July 30, 2018:
Bread crumbing is one reason I stopped dating.
Brittney Lindstrom (author) from Chicago, IL on March 06, 2018:
You are absolutely right. The wording of the concepts might be newer but the acts that are involved in each one have been around for some time.
I absolutely love your outlook on this whole thing. NEXT IN LINE! :)
dashingscorpio from Chicago on March 06, 2018:
In truth none of these things are actually "new"!
The reality is people have been dumping and avoiding people since the dawn of mankind. In the past we simply moved on after rejection. These days we want to name our rejection experiences.
In a world with over 7 Billion people rejection just means: NEXT! Every ending is a new beginning!
Life is a (personal) journey.
Each of us (chooses) our own friends, lovers, and spouse.
Each of us has our mate selection process and "must haves list".
Each of us has our boundaries and "deal breakers".
There are only two ways to experience joy and peace of mind in relationships. We either get what we want or we learn to be happy with what we have. Accept them (as is) or move on.
If someone acts like they're not "into you"; they're not into you!
"Never love anyone who treats you like you're ordinary."
- Oscar Wilde