If there's one thing that I look forward to at the turn of a new year, it's the creative names for dating scenarios that folks seem to come up with. When it comes to 2019, I was not disappointed.
Last year was all about cushioning (keeping people around as extra "cushions" in case the main guy or gal didn't work out), Caspering (someone who doesn't quite ghost you but after a couple of dates, only communicates via texts), and subbing (which is basically short for sub-tweeting an ex on social media).
This year, things are a bit more, well, "cryptic" is the word that immediately comes to mind. I say that because unless you know what kind of red flags to look out for, you could very easily become the victim of one (or several) of these forms of manipulation.
No one said that dating was easy. But the more information you have about what goes on out in these streets, the better equipped you'll be to spot straight-up foolishness way before too much of your very valuable time gets wasted.
Basically, this is a cute term for cheating. Well, kind of. Although cookie jarring is all about dating two people at once so that you'll have one of them waiting in the wings if it doesn't work out with the other, this doesn't really apply to serious relationships. It's got more of a casual dating feel to it.
What's wrong with that? Nothing — at least not on the surface. Where this gets tricky is when you've been dating a guy for a couple of months and you think it's headed towards something serious. Then some girl implies that he and her spend quite a bit of non-platonic time on her IG page. While you were out here thinking that things were heading towards exclusivity, he was out here giving more women than you that very same impression.
Cookie jarring folks have the "don't put all of your eggs in one basket" mentality. That's fine so long as you know that's where they're coming from. Unfortunately, when someone is cookie jarring you, usually, you don't.
Prowling is the dating form of playing cat and mouse. Initially, things are all good. You know for a fact that the guy is into you because he texts "good morning", calls at night, and plans dates on a fairly regular basis. He's been consistent long enough that you start to let your guard down and relax in the relationship. Oh, but just when you exhale, he gets ghost.
As if that already doesn't suck, what makes matters so much worse is right when you let the shock-then-anger-then-expectations-of-hearing-from-him again go, he has the nerve to pop up — just so he can start the cycle all over again.
I'm not really sure what a man gets out of being a prowler other than getting off on knowing that he can leave and come back at any time (when women let him). Oh, I guess I got my answer, didn't I? My bad. Next.
Out of all the dating terms that I'll share with you, this one is probably what most of us become the victim of (or victimize others with) whether we realize it or not. Case in point — have you ever gone on a date with a guy, things went really well and, a few days later, he mentioned wanting to hang out again? Only he didn't do this on the phone. He did it either by hitting up your inbox or DM'ing you? He was polite and engaging but the plans he brought up were super vague and he never followed through? He didn't only do this one time, though. Over the course of several weeks, you've received similar messages.
Ladies, I present to you e-maintaining. It's when someone is on the fence about actually going out again, but says something along the lines of "We should catch a movie sometime", just so they can stay on your radar. SMH.
Back in the day, R&B singer Stephanie Mills used to sing a song with a chorus that said, "I just can't go on being your secret lady, mystery baby, you're the one I want." It's talking about an affair but when you're caught up in pocketing, it almost feels like you must somehow be the other woman.
That's because a person who's trying to pocket you is all about spending time and gettin' it on. The problem is, they'd prefer that no one on the planet knows about it other than the two of you. Even months into the relationship, you haven't met a friend, family member, or even a co-worker if they can avoid it. In fact, if they can get away with keeping you off of their social media, they'll do that too.
If you like being an undercover lover, do you. But if you want a relationship that has a real future, pocketing is NOT the way to go.
This one cracks me up, mostly because I know GROWN MEN (and yes, I'm yelling that!) who continue to pull this stunt. OK, we all remember A Christmas Carol and how ridiculously stingy Ebenezer Scrooge was. All that money and resources and until some ghosts visited him in his sleep, he kept it all to himself.
With that as your clue, can you guess what scrooging is? It's when a dating situation is all good. That is until Valentine's Day, Christmas, or your birthday rolls around. Then all of a sudden, dude needs some space.
Rather than chalking this up to being cheap or even broke, I'd prefer to go with him being uber-selfish. A guy without a lot of money who still wants to keep you in his life will figure out something. On the other hand, a guy who is willing to end a relationship just because he doesn't want to give or get you anything probably didn't have long-term plans for you anyway.
Valentine's Day is steadily approaching. Pay very close attention to if you've got a Scrooge on your hands — or not.
Catfishing is when you're pretending to be someone you're not. Kittenfishing is when you're exaggerating about who you are. You might post a pic from when you were 10 years younger (or 20 pounds thinner). You may claim that you're on staff at a top media company, when the real truth is you did some contract work for them a couple of times several years ago. You get this gist. Kittenfishing is presenting yourself in (what you think is) your best light, even though you know you're not being totally forthcoming or honest.
If you catch a guy kittenfishing you, while I'm not saying that it has to be an automatic deal breaker, he is showing you that he's not the most truthful person on the planet. Be careful. White lies are still lies.
I decided to save the best for last because it really is good to see that some of us are growing weary of always swiping left and/or hooking up. Some people want to get back to old-fashioned dating, taking things slow and falling in love.
Making lasting connections. Being in the moment. Organic dating. Romance. Emotional intimacy before physical involvement. All of these things are making a comeback this year and I couldn't be more thrilled about it!
In the midst of all of the ridiculous that comes with dating, don't get too jaded. Dating with a purpose is trending this year. Lucky us!
Featured image by Getty Images.
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