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Article by Nicholas Voletta

The dating market is becoming increasingly demanding of its participants. We can’t text back right away in fear of looking desperate (“I don’t want him to think I’m alllllways available”). Are we friends with benefits or just prolonging a bad match with good sex? And now, we need a dictionary for all the tech-jargon that people use on dating apps.

Luckily for you, I study this stuff and I’m here to break down 2018’s most memorable additions to the modern dater’s lexicon. Let’s start reading:

Benching

When you string him along even though you know you’ll never make it official. You’re the guy who wants a seat warmer while you wait to find Mister Right.

Breadcumbing

So you hate confrontation. In fact, you hate it so much that you’d rather send non-committal, flirty texts to a guy than tell him you’re just not that into him. Truth is, you’re a breadcrumber, someone who strings guys along in order to avoid “the talk.”

Caspering

A friendlier variation of ghosting, where you tell the person how you feel before disappearing from their life entirely. How thoughtful, right?

Catch and release

The practice of putting all your attention into “catching a guy”, only to release him as soon as he takes your bait.

Curving

To reject someone in a very subtle, usually protracted way (e.g., “He says he wants to hang out but always has a convenient excuse to get out of it”).

Cushioning

Staying in the good graces of one or multiple guys as a backup in case your current trophy boy ends up being a dud. You’re usually walking the fine line between cheating and being a bit too familiar with other dudes.

DTR conversation

Pretty self-explanatory, DTR stands for “define the relationship”. Some of us just call it “the talk,” but hipsters love acronyms, so DTR it is.

Ghosting

Are you even a Millennial if you haven’t been ghosted? Ghosting is shorthand for suddenly dropping out of someone’s life—like entirely—without a warning or excuse as to why. (Hint: he’s over you.)

Kittenfishing

Less intense than their relative catfishers (who pretend to be a different people online), kittenfishers alter their personality online juuuuust enough to get the first date, but not enough to be considered complete frauds.

Love-bombing

Using intense affection to build trust, only to flip a switch and take control over the entire relationship. Honestly, this one is skirting on emotional manipulation, so love-bombers are a lot less sexy than they sound…in fact, they totally suck.

Orbiting

Someone who keeps tabs on your social media but refuses to message you. Orbiters are either creeps, cowards, or cling-on’s. It’s really not a good look.

Phubbing

Ignoring someone by being on your phone all the time. We’re all guilty of this from time to time, but habitual phubbing has serious consequences on relationships (yes, people research this stuff). Experts suggest setting up “no-phone” zones, like during dinner, date nights, and social events.

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Slow fade

When you start talking to someone but realize you’re not into them and sloooowly begin to fade yourself out of their life. (Let’s call it like it is, though: you’re fading them out of your life.)

Slow texting

Waiting an arbitrary amount of time after receiving a message to respond. Where this idea came from, I don’t know. But what I do know is a lot of people seem to think texting back in a timely manner should be reserved only for those we aren’t trying to bone.

Submarining

When he cuts off all communication only to resurface some time later and act like nothing happened. (Basically the same thing as being zombied, but the submariner goes stealth mode before anything gets too serious.)

Tindstagramming

Contacting someone via Instagram after seeing them on Tinder. Because Instagram is for the cool kids, I suppose.

Zombieing

The very special occasion when an ex (who full-on ghosted you) tries to weasel their way back into your life. Get your voodoo doll out boys, because the rage you feel after getting the infamous “Heyyy” text will have you ready to hex a bitch. Best advice for this one: stay away. He dug his grave, let him crawl back into it!

Nicholas Velotta is a sex and relationship researcher and writer located out of the University of Washington in Seattle.

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