30 Dating Terms You Should Know in 2023

The growing popularity of online dating has led to some interesting new dating terms in recent years. We’ve created an A to Z list of 30 dating terms to know in 2023 so you can familiarize yourself with these terms and navigate the dating world with more knowledge and confidence.

30 Dating Terms You Should Know

1. Beige Flags

You’ve most likely heard of a red flag, a huge warning to avoid starting a relationship with someone. So what is a beige flag? This is a term that refers to people who lack personality on online dating apps. A beige flag indicates that a person may simply struggle to describe themselves in a profile. Or, it could mean that the person is boring online and in real life.

2. Benching

Just like a player benched on the sideline of a game, benching refers to the disrespectful action of keeping someone stuck on the sidelines waiting for you. Even though you don’t want to commit to that partner, you also don’t want them to find someone else.

If someone is benching you, it’s time to move on and find someone who values you. If you are benching someone, own up to your actions and be honest with them so they have the chance to move on and find the type of relationship they are looking for.

3. Breadcrumbing

Breadcrumbing is a dating term that refers to keeping barely enough contact to keep someone hanging on. It’s quite similar to benching someone. Essentially, it’s the new term for stringing someone along.

Breadcrumbing is keeping just enough contact or interest in place to make the other person think there is still a chance of the relationship turning into something.

4. Casual Relationship

A casual relationship refers to two people who enjoy spending time together regularly but do not want anything serious. Casual partners participate in date-like, romantic activities without exclusivity or commitment.

Although a casual relationship can turn into a long-term relationship, casual relationships are usually short-term, lighthearted partnerships. As with any relationship, communication is crucial for a casual partnership.

5. Cuffing

Have you ever noticed that some people pair up around big holidays? This is known as cuffing, or cuffing season. It’s the concept that refers to people who pair up to avoid feeling lonely on special occasions, such as Valentine’s Day, Christmas, or New Year’s Eve. Typically, these relationships are seasonal and end as soon as big holidays are past.

6. Cushioning

Cushioning is a dating term that refers to staying in touch with one or more people so you have backup possibilities if your current relationship ends. Typically, cushioning is done by staying in touch with potential partners through casual exchanges such as texting.

7. DTR Conversation

A DTR conversation — define the relationship — refers to the moment in a relationship where you discuss exactly what you are as a couple. Is it a casual relationship, friends with benefits, or do you both want to commit to something exclusive and serious?

The timing of a DTR conversation is especially important. If you try to define the relationship too soon, the other person may get cold feet. If you wait too long to discuss exactly what the relationship is, both partners may be on different pages.

For instance, one partner may have assumed it was an exclusive relationship while the other partner only wanted a casual relationship and was seeing other partners the entire time.

8. Eclipsing

Have you ever had a friend start liking all new hobbies, passions, and interests that happen to match exactly what their new partner loves? This is known as eclipsing.

9. Freckling

Do you have skin that shows freckles once you spend time in the sun? This inspired the term freckling, where a partner only seems to want a relationship when the weather is mild. Then, when cooler months set in, that person disappears. Freckling is the opposite of the term cuffing.

10. Gaslighting

Gaslighting is a term that refers to psychological manipulation. This emotional manipulation can be seen in abusive relationships.

It can cause the person being gaslighted to doubt their memories, question their feelings, and believe they are the one to blame for any issues in the relationship.

Gaslighting is a serious form of manipulation that often occurs in abusive relationships, and its real psychological impact on victims should not be devalued.

11. Ghosting

Ghosting is when a partner completely and suddenly stops communicating with you for no apparent reason. If you find yourself wondering why you were ghosted, remind yourself that it was likely an issue associated with them, not you. Often, ghosting comes down to an individual who chooses to run away from tough situations rather than face them and take responsibility.

12. Groundhogging

Groundhogging refers to someone who gravitates toward the same type of romantic partners all the time yet expects a better outcome.

If you find yourself winding up in the same toxic relationships or repeating the same harmful dating patterns, it may be time to call in some professional backup. Our relationship coaches have years of experience pinpointing toxic patterns and evaluating imbalanced areas to help clients transform their lives.

By recognising your patterns and working on yourself with the help of an experienced relationship coach, you can open yourself up to meet a match who complements you and fulfils what you need in a relationship.

13. Haunting

Have you ever followed every post or picture your ex put on social media without any intention of actually interacting with them? This is known as haunting.

If you are being haunted by an ex and feel uneasy about it, feel free to block them and set some boundaries.

14. Kitten Fishing

Kittenfishing is misrepresenting yourself in an online portfolio with tiny inaccuracies. From lies about your physical appearance to stretching the truth about other aspects of your life, it is important to avoid kitten fishing.

For instance, claiming to be 180 pounds when you are 190 or using an outdated photo of yourself may seem harmless, but it is best to represent yourself with honesty and integrity.

15. Left on Read

Have you ever sent a text or message and noticed that your date or partner saw it but never replied? This is known as ‘left on read’.

16. Love Bombing

Love bombing might sound like a nice term but it refers to a manipulatory, deceptive action. Love bombing is when an individual goes over the top with romantic gestures, constant admiration, gifts, and positive attention to woo a new partner.

Once the love bomber gains the trust and affection of their partner, they’ll start showing their manipulative nature by withdrawing affection. This can be confusing to the person who was love bombed as they’ll want to believe in the goodness and potential of their partner based on how the relationship began.

Love bombing is emotional abuse and can leave you trapped in a toxic relationship. If a new romantic partner seems too good to be true or goes over the top with admiration, gifts, and affection, be wary. Narcissists are notorious for love bombing at the start of a relationship.

Related reading: 11 Signs You May Be Dating a Narcissist

17. Microcheating

Microcheating involves secrecy, emotional affairs, and heavy flirting. This type of cheating doesn’t cross physical boundaries but would still hurt your partner if they knew.

Microcheating may seem harmless but it can easily progress into a full affair. Ultimately, if it is something that you hide from your partner to avoid hurting them, consider it cheating.

18. Orbiting

Similar to the term haunting, orbiting is the act of following and interacting with an ex via social media. Often, a former partner will ‘orbit’ your social media without actually connecting with you or responding to you if you happen to reach out.

19. Phubbing

Is there anything more annoying than going on a date only for your partner to stare at their phone the entire time? This disrespectful, irritating habit even has a name now: phubbing.

20. Pocketing

Pocketing refers to a person who keeps a relationship secret by failing to announce their partner to their family, friends, or loved ones. Even if you’ve been dating for months, a ‘pocketer’ will keep your relationship out of the spotlight by never mentioning you to their family and avoiding any posts about you on social media.

In some cases, it may be a simple mistake. If it bothers you, be sure to bring it up with your partner.

21. Roaching

If you see one cockroach, there are probably a hundred more you don’t see. And it’s the same with the online dating term ‘roaching’.

This dating term refers to disrespectful people who date a new partner while secretly continuing to sleep around with other people. If the new partner realises what is going on and confronts the ‘roacher’, they will deny accountability by claiming they didn’t realise the relationship was monogamous.

Roaching is the gross dating trend of a new partner hiding the fact they’re still sleeping around and dating other people.

22. Situationship

A situationship is very similar to a casual relationship. Terms to describe a situationship often include “lighthearted”, “no labels”, “not serious”, “just having fun”, or “we’re seeing where things take us”.

For some individuals, a situationship fits where they are in life. However, both partners need to be clear, upfront, and honest about their expectations for the relationship.

23. Slow Fade

Similar to ghosting, slow fading refers to a person who slowly begins to be less connected and available in a relationship. Rather than being clear about their feelings, they gradually fade away, make themselves unavailable, and stop communicating with you.

24. Soft Ghosting

Soft ghosting is another way of saying slow fade. Both terms involve a partner who slowly disappears by making themselves less available and communicating less and less.

25. Soft Launching

Soft launching is a dating term that describes a partner who slowly and carefully shares details about their relationship rather than outright announcing it. For example, a partner who is soft-launching his or her relationship may start by posting a vague photo with their partner. Maybe a few weeks after that they’ll share a photo that shows them holding hands with their partner. They’ll continue sharing small tidbits about their relationship over a long period until the relationship is fully in the open.

26. Stashing

Stashing is a dating term, similar to pocketing, that refers to a person who refuses to introduce their romantic partner to anyone in their lives and does not mention the relationship anywhere on social media. This is often done by individuals who are emotionally unavailable or resistant to commitment.

27. Textlationship

A textlationship refers to two people who have a good connection and chemistry in texts and messages that do not translate to real life.

28. Whelming

Whelming is a term that refers to a person complaining about how many online dating matches they have. It is just a form of bragging. If you notice your date is whelming, consider it a sign to walk away.

29. Wokefishing

Wokefishing is a deceitful act where a person pretends to be something they’re not, usually in a way that makes them seem more open-minded than they are.

For instance, wokefishing may involve a person acting like they are actively working toward improving social injustices even if they hardly care about the subject.

30. Zombie-ing

Zombie-ing is when a former partner who ghosted you comes back into your life and tries to pretend as if nothing happened. Partners who show up unannounced and try to pop back into your life without acknowledging their absence should be avoided. Most likely, these people are not good at taking responsibility for their actions or handling any sort of confrontation.

There are so many new terms that are part of the online dating lexicon that it’s hard to keep up, and the list just keeps getting longer.

Need Help Navigating the Dating World?

We know it can be overwhelming and disheartening to try to find a true connection and genuine partner.

Whether you need help pinpointing toxic relationship patterns or are too busy with your professional life to meet potential romantic partners, our team of professional matchmakers can help.

Once we have an understanding of who you are, your values, your beliefs, what you are looking for in a relationship, and who would be an ideal match for you, the fun begins! Our team uses our years of knowledge and experience in the matchmaking world to help elite professionals find like-minded, successful matches to connect with.

Contact us today for a consultation or to ask any questions. Rest assured, inquiries are always handled discreetly and confidentially.