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If you’re a single mom starting to date, it can be scary putting yourself out there again. People aren’t always as forthcoming about their motives and expectations, and this is definitely the case when you’re dating. Being a single mom forces you to consider how a new person can affect you and your kids. Things can be especially challenging and scary if you're back in the dating world after a while because things have evolved over the past 5-10 years. Now in the age of social media and all the smart phone app, it's not the same as meeting someone in school.
Buckle up, getting back into the dating world can be tough. You're bound to make mistakes (here and there), but this dating cheat sheet will prepare you for anything.
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You and your significant other have been dating for a while. You actually feel like you two should be further along in the relationship, but he seems to be distancing himself. He doesn’t call as much as he used to and takes longer to answer texts. When you ask him why, he changes the subject or says you’re being paranoid. Let the ghosting begin.
Ghosting is when one party decides to break off the relationship, but doesn’t want to confront the other person. Instead they just abruptly cut the other person out of their life. Suddenly, it’s like you two never knew each other. The unsuspecting party is always unaware of what happened or why and is usually heartbroken.
Weeks to months later, the disappearing partner may return, but only to pretend that they did nothing wrong. They actually suspect that the relationship can pick up where it left off. Once someone ghosts you, they will definitely do it again. Who needs the mind games? Avoid this one like the plague.
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Single moms should really be wary of this one. It’s a heart breaker. After seemingly chasing you down to get a date and mercilessly wooing you for months -- out of the blue – your man decides he wants to call it quits.
Don’t waste time trying to understand his reasons, because he may not have any. These serial daters are used to “hunting” their lovers and letting them go once they’ve lost interest. You may or may not get a face-to-face break-up, but either way, you dodged a bullet. He’s obviously not the type of person you want around your kid(s).
Gaslighting is the most malicious type of manipulation daters often face. It’s all about getting into your head and making you question your perception of reality. Some people even refer to gaslighting as emotional abuse. Whenever the victim tries to confront the abuser about their wrongdoings, the gaslighter distracts them from their initial concerns. They will even pass the blame to the other person, and make them feel guilty. Gaslighters do a lot of lying and denying. They quickly turn the tables convincing the other person they’re wrong – even when they clearly are not.
Gaslighters are also control freaks who try to isolate their loved ones from their family and friends. They want their victims all to themselves so they can brainwash them in peace. Pure evil. Plus, the only people who should have this much influence over your life, are your children.
Where did this term really come from, anyways? It seems like another form of Ghosting… Metro UK’s Ellen Scott coined the term in an editorial piece identifying it as a way that people date other people in secret – never posting pictures on social media or introducing that person to their friends and family. They keep their secret lover around on an as-needed basis – the epitome of using someone for your own selfish needs.
Usually, the stashers are so good at what they do, you don’t realize you being stashed until you’ve started developing feelings for the person. If you haven’t met one or two of his friends after a few months, ditch this loser so you can get off the wait list.
Not to get all The Walking Dead on you, but the term zombie-ing is exactly what it sounds like. It refers to your ex unexpectedly contacting you after months or years of no contact. You may receive a text or a Facebook-like out of nowhere and not know how to respond.
Maybe they saw your post about the new guy you’ve been dating or maybe the kids mentioned your date from last week to their dad/your ex, and now he’s following your newsfeed. Either way, try to ignore it or change the subject. But don’t consider reigniting an old flame. The two of you broke up for a reason, and sometimes, it’s best to let sleeping DOGS lie.
If you can believe it, there’s actually a time of year (in the dating world) called “Cuffing Season”. No, it has nothing to do with getting arrested or initiating a kinky sex game… Cuffing usually occurs during the holidays because many people are stuck at home and lonely, so they decide to hook up with the first warm body they meet. Not quite, but pretty damn close. People who are single in the cold months pair up until the end of winter/beginning of Spring and then uncouple (uncuff) by the late Spring/Summer time. So beware of dating during the late Fall/Winter months, and, if your date decides to break it off in the Spring/Summer months, know that uncuffing is also a thing so depending on who you’re with, they may want to be single for the warm months. It’s stupid, I know, but some people are actually this superficial.
As if to lesson the blow of being ghosted, someone who is cushioning will call or text you to “check in” just to test the waters and see how done you really are. They are trying to see if you’ll take them back despite the fact that they dumped you without an explanation or call.
Cushioning should really be referred to as a stage of the ghosting, because it happens after the ghost-er has decided he wants to rekindle the relationship he ended. Word to the wise, don’t take the bait on this one. You may find yourself in a cycle of being ghosted. This is a complete waste of your time.
Flexting refers to the ego-boosting some daters do online to impress their mates. It’s usually all in good fun, but involves excess complementing and making a person appear better than they actually are. For instance, when you brag about your date having a six-pack when you know they have a Santa belly, it makes you appear look needy for attention. It’s definitely gets you points with your boyfriend, but after a while it seems like you’re putting on a show. Some of these online comments look desperate and needy. A few compliments are lovely, but overdoing it seems like you’re trying to prove something.
If you’ve ever had to wait and wait for someone to get back to your text, you’ve been cricket-ed. Cricketing is making someone wait for however long until you decide to get back to them. It’s selfish and manipulative. The people on the receiving end of this have no idea if their lover’s busy or just ignoring them. Prolonged occurrence of this can actually be considered a form of emotional abuse. It definitely falls under the category of emotional neglect, and if you’re a victim of cricketing, drop the cricketer and move on with your life. It is a horrible feeling to continually put yourself out there to be bombarded by mind games.
Ghost-ers would get away would everything they wanted to – if not for ghostbusters! These are the people who will not allow ghosting to ruin their dating experience, and seek to get revenge by sending rebellious texts and unwanted phone calls. In a word, ghostbusters are karma. They counter the ghost-ers’ rejections and manipulations by defiantly contacting someone who no longer wants to be bothered.
Ghostbusting also takes things one step closer to stalking, so tread lightly if you are playing this game. After your ex cuts you off, let him go and move on. Don’t risk your self-dignity and being issued a potential restraining order.
For those who like to live in the land of make-believe, a term called fauxbae’ing was invented. This is the act of pretending to have a boyfriend or girlfriend when in fact you are VERY single. People who create fake baes are perceived as sad and desperate when in fact they are just trying to let people know they are friendly and likeable.
Sometimes these imaginative souls may take things too far by posting details about your latest date (that never happened) in attempts of getting the attention they desperately need. They could also be doing this to attract new friends or an ex they still care about. Either way, don’t play pretend. REAL dating is so way more fun. Plus, getting caught lying is SUPER embarrassing.
Ok, so people are officially just making up words… Serendipidating refers to putting off a date for a never-ending raincheck. It’s the idea that if you and your love interest were meant to go out, eventually you will.
But this is silly, because you are literally leaving your dating life to fate – all because you can’t be bothered to take some responsibility over your future. Also, this is super unfair to the person waiting on you. That person may actually think you’re interested, when it’s obvious you’re not. If you were, you wouldn’t leave that love connection to chance. It would be too important for you to risk.
When you think about it, serendipidating is a childish notion that selfishly relieves you from making life decisions. It that’s what you want, then fine, but let that waiting person go until you’re sure.
Similar to zombie-ing, haunting refers to the act of keeping the dead alive. You may have ended a relationship with someone, but they’re still following you on social media. You can try blocking them on Facebook or making your posts private so they can’t be viewed, but haunt-ers seem to lurk indefinitely.
Haunting can be annoying AND scary especially if the other person often turns up at your favorite hangout spots or starts following you. This is when it becomes stalking and if that happens to you, don’t hesitate to get a restraining order. You can never be too careful these days.
Image: Rock This Boat: New Kids On The Block
This is a practice married/unavailable men use to trap unsuspecting women who are eagerly looking for relationships. Some people also refer to benching as back burner-ing. Benching is when your lover gives you a timeout. Maybe they’re getting bored with the relationship, or they’ve been offended by something that happened between you. But bench-ers like to sideline their players until they’ve exhausted their other options. This is yet another inconsiderate dating trend to be aware of when serial daters try to have their cake and eat it too. It may be annoying to be single at times, but if you’re getting benched, being single is heaven in comparison.
A curver should really be called a B.S. master. This is someone who convinces the other person they have more interest in them than they actually do. The curver pretends and continues to answer texts and phone calls, even when they don’t care about the other person. They make it seem like they may be too busy to give their undivided attention, and drop subtle hints that they’re not interested, but nothing concrete enough to tell the other person to back off.
Curvers are very passive-aggressive. Instead of just being honest and breaking off the relationship, they keep things going unnecessarily. On the other side of things, the person experiencing the curving usually knows they’re being played, but they want a relationship with the other person so badly, they settle for the scraps they receive. Just because we’re single, doesn’t mean you should settle for WHATEVER.
The Slow Fade is very similar to Ghosting, except it happens more gradually. If you’re a busy parent, you may not even notice this is happening in your dating life. Slow fading usually occurs when you’re not paying attention, and things seem like they’re going really well. While you’re romanticizing your relationship, the other person is slowly becoming more and more unavailable. Eventually, they sneak out of your social life and then just completely disappear altogether. Be warned that slow faders may or may not give a reason why they need to end things. They may or may not tell you the truth anyway, so skip the attempts at closure and consider yourself lucky and free to find better.
Catfishing is when someone creates a fake identity on social media to catch prospective daters. Once they get someone interested, they string the other person along – until they know they’re emotionally-invested. When the other person asks to meet face-to-face, that’s usually when the catfish-er will lie about why they can’t meet. They will even fake having an illness or say there’s a death in the family, so they won’t have to confront their big lie.
Catfishing is so heinous and over-the-top MTV couldn’t wait to create a TV show by the same name. The show is still popular today which tells you just how many people get caught up in this web of lies.
Mosting is another trend similar to cushioning, but it takes a lot of work on the part of the manipulator. Instead of throwing a few seeds of attention your way, the most-er puts on a HUGE show of affection to convince you they’re in it for the long haul. If you’re not careful, you could really fall for this guy. Once you realize they never cared about you and were leading you on for their entertainment, you may want to quit dating for good. But dating comes with a learning curve, and if you’re willing to kiss a few frogs, a prince will eventually reveal himself.