9 terms that define modern dating

Add these dating terms to your lexicon.

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Add these dating terms to your lexicon.
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Eugenio Marongiu / Shutterstock

  • Dating these days comes with its own unique terminology.
  • Ghosting, breadcrumbing, and gaslighting are all relationship phenomena people could run into when trying to find their next partner.
  • Here are 9 terms, from a relationship expert, that define modern dating so you can recognize them when they happen.

When it comes todating, it seems as though new terminology is constantly being introduced. For instance, talk of ghosts used to be limited to Halloween or reality shows, and now “ghosting” is popular year-round – at least when it comes to dating.

To help clarify “ghosting” and othermodern dating terms, Business Insider reached out toAntonia Hall, a psychologist, relationship expert, and author. From an etiquette standpoint, Hall filled us in on what’s OK and what’s not in terms of new dating trends.


1. Ghosting

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Ghosting is exactly what it sounds like — someone disappears and doesn’t bother to tell the person they’ve been dating.
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Halfpoint/Shutterstock

Ghostingis exactly what it sounds like – someone disappears and doesn’t bother to tell the person they’ve been dating. However, are there ever legitimatereasons to ghost?

“If you’re just too scared to be honest with the person, it is a very emotionally immature and selfish tactic,” Hall told Business Insider. She also saidthere are times when ghosting is necessaryin order to take care of yourself. “If you’re dating someone who won’t take no for an answer, is emotionally abusive, or makes you feel unsafe, then cutting off all contact can be the best thing to do.”


2. Zombie-ing

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FILE PHOTO: A man is seen walking under mannequins at a shopping mall in Beijing
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Thomson Reuters

Basically, after being ghosted, the ghost may return one day, as a zombie. The best part? They’ll act like nothing’s happened.

“The intention behind someone’s return is the important key to whether or not zombie-ing is OK,” Hall said. “Sometimes, people change and want another chance to make things right, but that should be made clear in their opening recommunication with you.”


3. Caspering

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Instead of just disappearing, someone who caspers basically tells the person they’re dating that they’re going to disappear in a nice way.
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Jack Frog/Shutterstock

If “ghosting” had a cousin, it would be “caspering,” and the latter is the nicer of the two. Instead of just disappearing,someone who caspersbasically tells the person they’re dating that they’re going to disappear in a nice way. “As opposed to ghosting,caspering is a compassionate way to bow out,” Hall said.


4. Breadcrumbing

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No one likes to be led on, but that’s what “breadcrumbing” is all about.
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wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock

No one likes to be led on, but that’swhat “breadcrumbing” is all about– somebody continues to give you hope, dropping crumbs of romantic interest here and there through charming messages or cute emojis. But, issomehope better thannohope? In essence, no.

“When dating, it’s important to be honest about your intentions and to communicate them with potential partners,” Hall said. “Don’t play games with another human being – ifyou’re legitimately overly busy or unready to date, be honest with the person so you’re both on the same page.”


5. Gaslighting

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Gaslighting is very emotionally manipulative, incredibly harmful, and never OK.
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Antonio Guillem/Shutterstock

If something seems off about your partner’s behavior, listen to your instincts andfigure out if they’re gaslighting you– it’s a form of emotional abuse. For instance, they may constantly need to be right and/or tell you that you’re too sensitive. As a result, you may feel crazy, and the cycle continues.

Gaslightingis very emotionally manipulative, incredibly harmful, and never OK to do to anyone, ever,” Hall said.


6. Catch and release

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“Catch and release” is “catching” someone, then letting them go for another fish in the sea.
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Sam Howzit/Attribution License/Flickr

Catch and release” is more than just a method of fishing and a movie starring Jennifer Garner. In modern dating, “catch and release” is what you may assume it to be – “catching” someone, then letting them go for another fish in the sea, so to speak. It’s all about the chase.

“This is very immature and emotionally shallow behavior that treats the other person like a game,” Hall said. “‘Catch and release’ is disrespectful and never a good dating technique.”


7. Peacocking

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People may peacock by showing off their wealth, musical skills, expertise in the kitchen, or level of fitness to prospective partners.
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Alan Levine/Attribution License/Flickr

If you’ve ever seen amale peacocktry to get a female’s attention, you’ll notice how they show off by displaying their beautiful feathers. Dating-wise, the same thing happens when somebody tries to get a love interest’s attention – they do it byputting on a show oftheir most attractive qualities.

People may peacock by showing off their wealth, musical skills, expertise in the kitchen, or level of fitness to prospective partners.

“Peacocking is intrinsic to human nature,” Hall said. “This hardwired technique to garner interest from a perspective partner is usually innocuous, though approaching others honestly is always best.”


8. Mosting

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The moster builds a fake sense of intimacy and connection through flattery.
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Rodel Bontes/Attribution License/Flickr

In mosting, someonecomes on very strongwith compliments – convincingly strong – and then ghosts.

“Mosting is a new term for an old manipulativedating tactic,” Hall said. “The moster builds a fake sense of intimacy and connection through flattery and phrases such as ‘I’ve been waiting for you my whole life’ and ‘You must be my soul mate’ – with the least amount of personal emotional involvement necessary.”


9. Micro-cheating

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If you’re hiding things from your significant other, then you may be micro-cheating on them.
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Ana Blazic Pavlovic/Shutterstock

If you are hiding things from your significant other – like the fact that you and your ex message each other a lot – you may bemicro-cheatingon them.

While you are not having a blown-out affair, your small, secretive actions may actually bemicro-cheating, according todating expertMelanie Schilling.

“It’s important to be honest about what you’re getting from the ‘micro-cheating‘ exchanges and why,” Hall said. “The need to continually seek attention from outside of your relationship is not healthy and can be hurtful to your partner, as well as take a toll on the relationship.”