By Stacey Freeman
Dating after divorce can be scary, mainly if you haven’t been out there in a while. No wonder so many of the terms used to describe poor dating practices sound like they’re straight out of a horror film. So rather than be taken by surprise as most movie victims are, here’s a chance to educate yourself.
Here one minute, gone the next? No, this isn’t a magic trick. It’s the person you’re dating, and “poof” they’ve disappeared. Without a word, your date, like a ghost, has vanished into thin air. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been dating a week, a month, or years either. This disappearing act happens when you least expect, leaving you wondering whether the feelings you experienced were ever real.
2. Slow fade
Ghosts sometimes have a conscience, or so they tell themselves. People who use the slow fade as a breakup technique gradually disappear from a dating interest’s life without explicitly saying they’re on their way out. At first, the person who they’re fading doesn’t realize what’s happening. They rationalize the person they’re dating is just busy when texts go unanswered, or the phone doesn’t ring as much as it used to. They try and decipher the mixed signals, coming up with any explanation other than the obvious one – they’re getting let down easy. The only problem is, for the faded, this technique is far from easy and only prolongs their agony.
Ghosts who disappear tend to reappear again at the precise moment when you’re no longer thinking about them, especially if you’ve moved on to someone better, i.e., someone with the integrity (euphemism) not to disappear from your life without a trace. Zombie-ing occurs when the person who ghosted suddenly starts liking your posts on social media, sending a request to connect on social media, or contacting you directly out of the blue. Beware though. Zombies often turn back into ghosts.
Unlike ghosting, haunting occurs when the person you were dating doesn’t entirely disappear from your life. This individual hovers in the background, staying connected with you on social media so he or she can keep tabs on your life without making direct contact. Inexplicably, you feel this person is watching you but have no concrete evidence to substantiate your suspicions. Chances are, though, your sixth sense is right.
Breadcrumbing takes its origins from the German fairy tale, “Hansel and Gretel.” In the story, Hansel drops a trail of breadcrumbs so he and his sister, Gretel, can find their way home after their stepmother and father lead them into the woods to abandon them there. After birds eat the breadcrumbs and the children find themselves lost, a beautiful bird lures them to a gingerbread house owned by a witch who eats children. Daters who breadcrumb drop multiple compliments and hints about making plans but never follow through, misleading their victims. The moral of the story is that getting crumbs from a romantic interest will lead you nowhere good.
If you feel like a body stashed away and out of sight from others, you’re probably not imagining things. Stashing occurs when the person you’re dating doesn’t want to connect with you on social media, be photographed with you on social media, introduce you to their family and friends, or any combination of the above so they can keep their options open.
A practice increasing in its occurrence, stealthing happens when a sexual partner removes his condom during sex without consent. Scary and dangerous.
8. Cuffing season
Handcuffs can be fun in the right context but do you honestly want yourself locked in with a romantic interest who’s staying with you just because it’s chilly outside? The time from October to February where the change of seasons bring cold weather and shorter days is known as cuffing season because, hey, the weather out there is frightful! Why venture out to meet someone new when you’ve already got a warm body at home? Just beware, when the weather warms up your relationship may quickly turn cold.
Benching is the dating practice where a romantic interest puts you on the list of potential prospects but doesn’t put you into play quite yet. They may keep in contact with you mildly, even schedule dates, only to cancel them repeatedly. It’s not that they’re not interested, they’re just otherwise occupied right now, either with one person or many. Keep in mind, when you’re on the bench, you may wind up getting cut.
In many ways, dating is a numbers game, meaning we sometimes have to deal with a lot of tricks before finally getting a treat. But when we do, it’s oh so delicious.
About the Author
Stacey Freeman is a writer and blogger from the New York City area, a divorced single mom, lifestyle editor at Worthy.com, and the founder and managing director of Write On Track, LLC, a full-service consultancy dedicated to providing high-quality content to individuals and businesses. A respected voice for divorce issues affecting both women and men, Stacey has been published in The Washington Post, Entrepreneur, Good Housekeeping, Cosmopolitan, Woman’s Day, Town & Country, The Huffington Post, xoJane, Scary Mommy, The Stir, MariaShriver.com, The Good Men Project, and various well-known platforms worldwide. Stacey is frequently called upon for her expertise and insights on the divorce experience and has repeatedly been quoted in The Huffington Post’s divorce vertical. Stacey holds her B.A. in English, summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, from the University at Albany and her J.D. from Boston University School of Law. Email Stacey today at Stacey.Freeman@WriteOnTrackLLC.com or call 800-203-1946 for a free consultation and proposal. For more information, visit www.WriteOnTrackLLC.com.