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Here Are The Dating Trends That You Need To Avoid At All Costs

Dating

Goodness. Life used to be so simple (annoying but still simple) back when all we had to really worry about was some dude possibly ghosting us. Now it seems like not one week goes by when there isn't a new cray-cray dating trend that's gone viral.


Well, out of all of the ones that I've researched (or a single woman has talked to me about), there are seven that have made me exclaim — and yes, I'm yelling this — ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!

Just as a heads up, unfortunately, these are the kinds of trends that you typically won't pick up on until after it happens to you. By then, you're already pissed with a touch of jaded.

As an act of service, what I'm going to try to do is not only define what they are, but provide a red flag that you should look out for beforehand so that you don't have to fall victim to any of this total and utter foolishness.

Haunting.

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Something that I oftentimes say is, "If it's God, you'll run into your ex at Kroger. If it's you, you'll look them up on Facebook." Haunting kind of co-signs on this point. It's when you and someone connect — on and offline — go out, end things but they're still trying to engage you on social media.

What sucks about this is they attempt to do it in a very passive-aggressive kind of way — liking your photos but not commenting on them. Checking out all of your IG stories but never calling or texting. It's "haunting" because if you're still emotionally-attached in any kind of way, you can really get a read on whether or not they are too.

How to Avoid This: There's no cardinal rule that says that just because you know someone that you have to be social media connected to them. If you're like most people, a lot of details of your life are shared online, so before you accept someone's request to follow you, think about if you'd want to stay connected even if you were to stop dating each other. If you're not sure, wait until you are.

Breadcrumbing.

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I can't remember where I heard it, but the author of this quote deserves the offering plate passed to them a couple of times— "The problem with accepting the crumbs of a man is you're always left hungry." A breadcrumber is someone who gives just enough to keep you hanging on but not enough to establish anything lasting or even really real. It's emotional manipulation at its finest.

This is something that narcissists like to do because it's more about feeding their ego than meeting your needs. And a narcissist? You need to run from them at all costs!

How to Avoid This: Be clear about what your wants and needs are before going on your first date. If you make it to Date #3, state some of them. If there is no effort being made into meeting some of them, that's your first clue that he's probably a breadcrumber and that he probably doesn't see you as more than a…duck.

Curving.

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Ugh. Another word for curving is "evil". Only, it's in a subtle kind of way. It's kind of akin to ghosting, only it takes a lot longer to catch on to what's going on. You text and he takes two days to respond. While on a call, he mentions getting together soon but a week later, no concrete plans are made. This cycle continues to happen and it drives you crazy because you can't really tell if they are into you — or not.

How to Avoid This: When you have your first couple of conversations, explain that you're big on communication. That poor communication is kind of a deal-breaker for you. If he wants you in his life, he'll take note. If he's on the fence, his communication will be lukewarm, which is sending the message that he's "iffy" about you. I'm pretty sure you can take it from there.

Mosting.

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Doing the absolute most. We've all said that phrase about someone before. Well, as far as dating goes, when someone is "mosting" you, it means that they're dishing out PLENTY of compliments in the attempts to convince you that they are oh so into you.

What's wrong with that? Nothin'. Other than the fact that they don't mean half of what they're saying and/or they're saying the same thing to five other chicks too.

How to Avoid This: Let's go to the Good Book on this one: "He who speaks flattery to his friends, even the eyes of his children will fail." (Job 17:5 NKJV) I have an ex who once said something to me that was like 10 sermons in one sentence— "Your problem is you receive confirmations like they are revelations."

His point? Never be so grateful for what a man thinks of you that you overlook signs that are pointing to him sneaking around, not being honest or simply playing around with your heart.

Trust me, if you've got a strong sense of self-worth, you'll pick up on "most-ers" quicker than most.

Freckling.

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You might be thinking that I'm making this one up, but we can thank our Caucasian brothers and sisters for this one. The best way to explain it is, it's our version of "cuffing season". Just like a lot of white people get freckles by spending too much time in the summer sun, only to have the freckles fade by fall, freckling is a hot-n-heavy fling that comes with an expiration date — and a return date. That's right, just like freckles come and go, so do those who partake in freckling.

How to Avoid This: If you ask someone what their dating history is (on the first or second date), you can get a feel for if they are commitment-phobes or not. If they are (and you want something serious and lasting), already file them as "not the one for me". That way, it'll be difficult for them to boo-up with you for three months at a time…every six months or so. And if they do, you'll already know not to let them be a repeat offender.

Gatsbying.

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Just when you thought you heard it all, right? On the surface, this one probably doesn't make much sense. But if you're a fan of the book or movie The Great Gatsby, you know that the character Jay was the king of overkill when it came to trying to impress the object of his affection. The modern-day twist of this would probably be The Bachelor (kinda). Fantasy dates that cause you to think you're falling in love with a person when really what you're in love with is the high-class ambiance.

Hmph, there's even a digital version of this where someone has a crush on you and try to make you want them by making their IG look like they are independently-wealthy travelers who want to insert you into their life.

How to Avoid This: I'm not gonna knock an over-the-top date. But try and balance those out with more simplified ones like picnics or hanging out in a coffee shop. That gives you a chance to see if he's got substance behind his finance, presentation, and social media shots.

Stashing.

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STASHING IS THE WORST. The absolute worst. If you're currently seeing someone who constantly calls, texts and takes you out (and it's been this way for a few months now), but when you ask them about their friends and family, they change the subject and/or when you hop onto their social media pages, there's not an ounce of evidence that they are seeing someone — in fact, they seem to represent the epitome of singleness — this is called "stashing".

What they're actually doing is compartmentalizing you. Sure, you are a part of their life, but they are intentional about keeping you from the rest of it. Why? Usually, it's either because they don't plan on things going to another level OR they are seeing others on the side. Or both.

How to Avoid This: After a month or so of dating and chatting, suggest inviting some of your friends and their friends to meet each other. Present it as casual; like it's no biggie. If they give you push back, inquire why. First, it'll give you insight into if they even want to make you a part of their world and two, it will let you know what you should do about it.

Life's too short to be stashed away somewhere. Or to settle for any of these dating trends. Choose wisely, y'all.

Featured image by Getty Images.

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You may not know her by Elisabeth Ovesen – writer and host of the love, sex and relationships advice podcast Asking for a Friend. But you definitely know her other alter ego, Karrine Steffans, the New York Times best-selling author who lit up the literary and entertainment world when she released what she called a “tell some” memoir, Confessions of a Video Vixen.

Her 2005 barn-burning book gave an inside look at the seemingly glamorous world of being a video vixen in the ‘90s and early 2000s, and exposed the industry’s culture of abuse, intimidation, and misogyny years before the Me Too Movement hit the mainstream. Her follow-up books, The Vixen Diaries (2007) and The Vixen Manual: How To Find, Seduce And Keep The Man You Want (2009) all topped the New York Times best-seller list. After a long social media break, she's back. xoNecole caught up with Ovesen about the impact of her groundbreaking book, what life is like for her now, and why she was never “before her time”– everyone else was just late to the revolution.

xoNecole: Tell me about your new podcast Asking for a Friend with Elisabeth Ovesen and how that came about.

Elisabeth Ovesen: I have a friend who is over [at Blavity] and he just asked me if I wanted to do something with him. And that's just kinda how it happened. It wasn't like some big master plan. Somebody over there was like, “Hey, we need content. We want to do this podcast. Can you do it?” And I was like, “Sure.” And that's that. That was around the holidays and so we started working on it.

xoNecole: Your life and work seem incredibly different from when you first broke out on the scene. Can you talk a bit about the change in your career and how your life is now?

EO: Not that different. I mean my life is very different, of course, but my work isn't really that different. My life is different, of course, because I'm 43. My career started when I was in my 20s, so we're looking at almost 20 years since the beginning of my career. So, naturally life has changed a lot since then.

I don’t think my career has changed a whole lot – not as far as my writing is concerned, and my stream of consciousness with my writing, and my concerns and the subject matter hasn’t changed much. I've always written about interpersonal relationships, sexual shame, male ego fragility, respectability politics – things like that. I always put myself in the center of that to make those points, which I think were greatly missed when I first started writing. I think that society has changed quite a bit. People are more aware. People tell me a lot that I have always been “before my time.” I was writing about things before other people were talking about that; I was concerned about things before my generation seemed to be concerned about things. I wasn't “before my time.” I think it just seems that way to people who are late to the revolution, you know what I mean?

I retired from publishing in 2015, which was always the plan to do 10 years and retire. I was retired from my pen name and just from the business in general in 2015, I could focus on my business, my education and other things, my family. I came back to writing in 2020 over at Medium. The same friend that got me into the podcast, actually as the vice president of content over at Medium and was like, “Hey, we need some content.” I guess I’m his go-to content creator.

xoNecole: Can you expound on why you went back to your birth name versus your stage name?

EO: No, it was nothing to expound upon. I mean, writers have pen names. That’s like asking Diddy, why did he go by Sean? I didn't go back. I've always used that. Nobody was paying attention. I've never not been myself. Karrine Steffans wrote a certain kind of book for a certain kind of audience. She was invented for the urban audience, particularly. She was never meant to live more than 10 years. I have other pen names as well. I write under several names. So, the other ones are just nobody's business right now. Different pen names write different things. And Elisabeth isn’t my real name either. So you'll never know who I really am and you’ll never know what my real name is, because part of being a writer is, for me at least, keeping some sort of anonymity. Anything I do in entertainment is going to amass quite a bit because who I am as a person in my private life isn't the same a lot of times as who I am publicly.

xoNecole: I want to go back to when you published Confessions of a Video Vixen. We are now in this time where people are reevaluating how the media mistreated women in the spotlight in the 2000s, namely women like Britney Spears. So I’d be interested to hear how you feel about that period of your life and how you were treated by the media?

EO: What I said earlier. I think that much of society has evolved quite a bit. When you look back at that time, it was actually shocking how old-fashioned the thinking still was. How women were still treated and how they're still treated now. I mean, it hasn't changed completely. I think that especially for the audience, I think it was shocking for them to see a woman – a woman of color – not be sexually ashamed.

I hate being like other people. I don't want to do what anyone else is doing. I can't conform. I will not conform. I think in 2005 when Confessions was published, that attitude, especially about sex, was very upsetting. Number one, it was upsetting to the men, especially within urban and hip-hop culture, which is built on misogyny and thrives off of it to this day. And the women who protect these men, I think, you know, addressing a demographic that is rooted in trauma that is rooted in sexual shame, trauma, slavery of all kinds, including slavery of the mind – I think it triggered a lot of people to see a Black woman be free in this way.

I think it said a lot about the people who were upset by it. And then there were some in “crossover media,” a lot of white folks were upset too, not gonna lie. But to see it from Black women – Tyra Banks was really upset [when she interviewed me about Confessions in 2005]. Oprah wasn't mad [when she interviewed me]. As long as Oprah wasn’t mad, I was good. I didn't care what anybody else had to say. Oprah was amazing. So, watching Black women defend men, and Black women who had a platform, defend the sexual blackmailing of men: “If you don't do this with me, you won't get this job”; “If you don't do this in my trailer, you're going to have to leave the set”– these are things that I dealt with.

I just happened to be the kind of woman who, because I was a single mother raising my child all by myself and never got any help at all – which I still don't. Like, I'm 24 in college – not a cheap college either – one of the best colleges in the country, and I'm still taking care of him all by myself as a 21-year-old, 20-year-old, young, single mother with no family and no support – I wasn’t about to say no to something that could help me feed my son for a month or two or three.

xoNecole: We are in this post-Me Too climate where women in Hollywood have come forward to talk about the powerful men who have abused them. In the music industry in particular, it seems nearly impossible for any substantive change or movement to take place within music. It's only now after three decades of allegations that R. Kelly has finally been convicted and other men like Russell Simmons continue to roam free despite the multiple allegations against him. Why do you think it's hard for the music industry to face its reckoning?

EO: That's not the music industry, that's urban music. That’s just Black folks who make music and nobody cares about that. That's the thing; nobody cares...Nobody cares. It's not the music industry. It's just an "urban" thing. And when I say "urban," I say that in quotations. Literally, it’s a Black thing, where nobody gives a shit what Black people do to Black people. And Russell didn't go on unchecked, he just had enough money to keep it quiet. But you know, anytime you're dealing with Black women being disrespected, especially by Black men, nobody gives a shit.

And Black people don't police themselves so it doesn't matter. Why should anybody care? And Black women don't care. They'll buy an R. Kelly album right now. They’ll stream that shit right now. They don’t care. So, nobody cares. Nobody cares. And if you're not going to police yourself, then nobody's ever going to care.

xoNecole: Do you have any regrets about anything you wrote or perhaps something you may have omitted?

EO: Absolutely not. No. There's nothing that I wish I would've gone back and said to myself, no. I don’t think at 20-something years old, I'm supposed to understand every little thing. I don't think the 20-something-year-old woman is supposed to understand the world and know exactly what she's doing. I think that one of my biggest regrets, which isn't my regret, but a regret, is that I didn't have better parents. Because a 20-something only knows what she knows based on what she’s seen and what she’s been taught and what she’s told. I had shitty parents and a horrible family. Just terrible. These people had no business having children. None of them. And a lot of our families are like that. And we may pass down those familial curses.

*This interview has been edited and condensed

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Feature image courtesy of Elisabeth Ovesen

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