It’s rough out there for singles. Not only do you have to sit through date after date with disappointing Tinder matches, there’s a whole new lexicon of dating terminology to keep up with.
Below is a by-no-means-exhaustive list of all the annoying dating trends modern singles have to deal with every day.
Algorithms: The mathematical models most dating apps use to predict compatibility among users. A 2017 dating study suggested that the algorithms companies like Match.com and OkCupid use for finding good matches don’t really work ― though they do expose users to more singles, allowing them to cast a wider net. May the odds be ever in your favor.
Example: I have an algorithm to thank for my last crummy boyfriend. Now I’m much more open to my grandma’s matchmaking skills.
Backburner relationship: A lingering, platonic (but flirty) relationship you maintain with someone ― usually an ex ― just in case your current relationship doesn’t work out.
Example: Lisa is dating Jim but has a backburner relationship with her ex Dylan. She comments and “likes” all of Dylan’s photos so he knows she’s still into him.
Breadcrumbing: Engaging with a prospective romantic match just enough to keep them on the line, usually via flirty messages.
Example: Just when I stopped thinking about that elementary school teacher I was into, she texted me out of the blue. She’s totally breadcrumbing me.
Catfishing: Popularized by the 2010 documentary “Catfish,” the term refers to someone who creates a fake social media profile to seduce another person, usually with the intention to scam them.
Example: Jane was in a long-term online relationship with a guy who claimed to be an investment banker from New York, but he was actually a teenager from Nigeria. He was catfishing her the whole time.
DMs: Direct or private messages on social media apps like Instagram and Tinder. To “slide into someone’s DMs” usually means you’re interested in them and discreetly want to make it known.
Example: Way to slide into that hot guy from the gym’s DMs, girl.
Emotional affair: Emotional infidelity happens when one person in a relationship gets their emotional needs met by someone else. Unlike a platonic friendship, there’s sexual chemistry between the two people engaging in the affair, even if they never consummate it physically. In a 2014 Kansas State University study, two-thirds of women said they would be more hurt by a male partner’s emotional affair than a physical one.
Example: John from accounting and Terry in management are having an emotional affair. Haven’t you heard John complaining to Terry about his marriage during happy hour?
F**kboy: A man, usually a younger one, who sleeps with people without the intention of pursuing the relationship further.
Example: I need you to set me up with someone who wants to settle down. For some reason, I only attract f**kboys.
F**k buddy: Essentially a “friends with benefits” situation. A f**k buddy is a pal you can always depend on for a hookup.
Example: Every time Gina is in town, she hits Matt up for sex. They’re f**k buddies.
Ghosting: When one dater ends a relationship by simply disappearing, without a trace or text.
Example: I was seeing this woman and things were going great, but then she ghosted me.
Half-night stands: An abbreviated version of the one-night stand, where instead of staying the night, one person makes their exit after sex.
Example: Not to go all half-night stand on you, but mind if I Uber back home? I’ve got an early conference call tomorrow.
Example: She took you to Napa on your first date? Be careful, it sounds like she’s love bombing you.
Monogamish: A term coined by sex columnist Dan Savage to define couples who are exploring versions of monogamy tailored to their own needs. They may, for instance, give each other permission to go outside the marriage to meet their sexual needs.
Example: Lena and Rachel have a monogamish relationship. They’re both allowed to hook up with other people while away on business.
Example: This guy on Tinder asked me to send nudes, and we never messaged again.
Phubbing: A word that combines phone and snubbing. To phub someone means to ignore them in favor of your phone ― a cardinal sin in any romantic relationship.
Example: Josh spent the whole date phubbing me because he was checking the World Series score. Now Josh is single.
Raw dogging: Sex with no condoms, which is increasingly common among singles. A 2017 national report revealed that since 2002, withdrawal ― or the pull-out method ― has nearly doubled among unmarried men.
Example: Raw dogging is a pretty unsafe form of contraception. Be careful out there.
Stashing: To stash someone is to almost make it official, but never introduce the other person to your family or friends. You also refuse to acknowledge them on social media.
Example: She was seeing this guy on a regular basis, but ended it because she felt like he was stashing her.
Tindstagramming: When you sneak into someone’s Instagram DMs after failing to match with them on Tinder. It is creepy.
Example: I swiped left on him on Tinder, then I received an Instagram DM from him telling me he “rarely messages people off Tinder” but that I “seemed like a pretty cool girl.” Total Tindstagram moment. I hate being single.