It can be pretty confusing when faced with a whole new lingo, and let’s face it, if you’re a Gen X-er like me, you’ve had a few years to amass a pretty useless collection of slang, jargon and cleverclogs terms that only a select few understand.
Here I take the mystery out of a whole bunch of words, phrases, names and pastimes in today’s online dating world. If I’ve missed any, be sure to let me know!
BDSM: A combination of the abbreviations B/D (Bondage and Discipline), D/s (Dominance and submission), and S/M (Sadism and Masochism). BDSM is used today as a catch-all phrase covering a wide range of activities, forms of interpersonal relationships, and distinct subcultures. (Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BDSM)
Benching/breadcrumbing: Being put on the back burner or putting someone on the backburner while someone pursues other paramours. They often give you just enough contact to keep you attached but never really commit. You’re usually their backup plan.
Catch and release: Like cultivating laybys, this is a tactic used by people who need constant affirmation and validation, another type of ‘advance and retreat’ game playing.
Catfishing: “On the internet, a ‘catfish’ is a person who creates fake personal profiles on social media sites using someone else’s pictures and false biographical information to pretend to be someone other than themself. These ‘catfish’ usually intend to trick an unsuspecting person or persons into falling in love with them.” (Wikipedia)
Catch & Release: People who are one-date-wonders, they lure you in, you have a fantastic date and then they move on looking for the next exciting thrill. They thrive on the chase rather than looking for the actual relationship. Similar to Monkeying: bouncing from date to date, relationship to relationship, like a monkey swinging from tree to tree.
Chat, talk: Messaging or texting unless context is otherwise stated here.
Cougar: A slang term [for] a woman who seeks sexual activity with significantly younger men. (Wikipedia)
Cougar Life: A dating app aimed at cougars and men seeking them.
Cub: A younger man who is attracted to or in a relationship with a ‘cougar’.
Cuffing / Uncuffing: Cuffing season is usually during winter when people really want to have someone in their life to snuggle when it’s cold. Uncuffing season is when the weather warms up and people enjoy being single and mingling.
Demisexual: A person who does not experience sexual attraction unless they form a strong emotional connection with someone. Comes from the orientation being ‘halfway between’ sexual and asexual. (Wikipedia wiki.asexuality.org/Demisexual)
Friends with benefits (FWB): Friends who have a sexual relationship without being emotionally involved. Typically … casual sex without a monogamous relationship or any kind of commitment. (Urban Dictionary http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=friends%20with%20benefits)
Fuck Buddy: See friends with benefits.
Ghosting: “The propensity to evaporate into thin air, or more accurately cyberspace, when confronted by situations you don’t want to deal with, people you’d rather not see, or feelings more complex than you care for.” (Mariella Frostrup ‘My New Boyfriend Has Vanished’ The Guardian April 2016)
Hiding accounts/deleting accounts: Some dating apps or sites allow you to ‘hide’ your profile so that it is invisible to others. Other apps allow you to delete your photo so that you are somewhat incognito. Deleting accounts means closing it completely.
Icing: Defined by Esther Perel as ‘manufacturing a reason to suspend the relationship’ – equal parts anxiety and ego; fastest path to resentment. (Esther Perel www.estherperel.com/relationship-accountability accessed 24 July 2017)
Kik: A chat app that allows users to be anonymous, send pictures, videos and messages.
Kink: Sexual practices [that] go beyond what are considered conventional sexual practices as a means of heightening the intimacy between sexual partners…sexual practices, concepts or fantasies. (Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kink_(sexual))
Layby (also known as breadcrumbing or cushioning): People already in relationships who seek to get someone else emotionally invested or ready to date; an ambiguous way of cheating
Love bombing: A seductive and manipulative technique usually directed by sociopaths or narcissists. Follows three main phases – idealisation, devaluation and discarding. (Alex Miles ‘Love Bombing: A Seductive and Manipulative Technique’ Elephant Journal 28 January 2016)
Match&Chat: kik messenger group that presents fresh faces every day from around the world.
MILF: Mother I’d Like to Fuck.
My Cougar Dates: Dating app for people seeking older women that syndicates profiles to numerous other sites/pages.
NSA: ‘No strings attached’ sexual activity.
Oasis: Dating website/app.
OK Cupid: Dating website/app.
Paid sites/apps vs free apps: Free dating sites/apps allow users to have near or full functionality of the app without paying. Paid sites require regular subscription tokens/fees in order to see or contact members. Sometimes it is men who are charged and women who are free.
Plenty of Fish: Dating website/app.
Polyamory: Based on the Greek and Latin for “many loves” (literally, poly many + amore love). Polyamory is often defined as informed consent of all participants or consensual non-monogamy.
Poly solo: An approach that emphasises agency and does not seek to engage in relationships that are tightly couple-centric. People who identify as poly solo emphasise autonomy, the freedom to choose their own relationships without seeking permission from others, and flexibility in the form their relationships take. (Franklin Veaux More Than Two More Than Two: A Practical Guide to Ethical Polyamory 2014 and Janet W. Hardy The Ethical Slut, Second Edition: A Practical Guide to Polyamory, Open Relationships and Other Adventures)
Protocols: Loose or commonly understood ‘rules’.
RA – relationship anarchy: Relationships that are not bound by rules aside from what the people involved mutually agree on; a way of engaging the relationships in your life, based on abundance, consent, and autonomy; shares characteristics with polyamory. (Wikipedia http://www.relationship-anarchy.com/)
Roaching: A common behaviour named after the adage that when you see one cockroach, there are many more you don’t see. In this case, it’s the multiple other lovers your new discovery may be hiding (crushes, dates, flirtations, hookups and maybe even relationships). Like cockroaches, it’s very common not to declare that you’re not being exclusive – some people think the onus is on each party to fess up if they’re not being exclusive.
Romance scams: A confidence trick involving feigned romantic intentions towards a victim, gaining their affection, and then using that goodwill to commit fraud. Wikipedia
RSVP: Dating website/app.
Sapiosexual: A person who is sexually attracted to intelligence or the human mind before appearance. (Wikipedia https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/sapiosexual)
Sexting: Sending, receiving, or forwarding sexually explicit messages, photographs or images, primarily between mobile phones. (Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexting)
Simmering: Defined by Esther Perel as ‘reducing the frequency of dates and communication’ – when something isn’t working for you but you want to keep the security of companionship. (Esther Perel www.estherperel.com/relationship-accountability)
Skout: Dating website/app.
Slow fade: Similar to ghosting, a coward’s way out of communicating that they are uncomfortable with how the relationship is progressing.
Snapchat: An image messaging and multimedia app characterised by images that are only available for a short time before they become inaccessible.
Swinging: Partner swapping, non-monogamous sexual behaviour mainly among couples; single men are kept to a minimum.
Textationship/Text relationship: When you feel like you’re in some sort of relationship (eg great chemistry, great rapport) via text or phone but you haven’t met the person, and may actually never do so in IRL (in real life).
Tinder: Dating website/app (probably the most well known!)
What’s app: Chat app that allows sharing of videos, photos and text messages. Mobile phone numbers need to be exchanged to use this app.
Viber: Chat app that allows sharing of videos, photos and text messages. Mobile phone numbers need to be exchanged to use this app.
Virtual sex: Sexting and sharing of sexually explicit talk, messages or videos via app or online.
Zombie-ing: People from the past who suddenly spring up in your social media and try to re-connect after having slow-faded.