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Dating terms you should know

Much has changed post-lockdown, including the rules of engagement. We’ve enlisted the help of the Director of The Only Social Club, Theo Malherbe, on a few definitions to help you navigate the modern dating world. You’re welcome!


Ghosting means abruptly cutting off contact, ending all communication with someone without giving them any warning or explanation for doing so and avoiding any attempts to communicate.


  • They could be in another relationship.
  • They may have met someone else while communicating with you.
  • They may have other intentions.
  • They may want nothing more than sex.
  • They may not want a serious, committed relationship with you.
  • They’re no longer interested in pursuing a relationship.
  • They lack concern or empathy for you or others.
  • They’re uncomfortable expressing themselves and their feelings.
  • Ghosting you gives them a sense of power.
  • They feels it’s easier than having to admit they’re just not that into you.
  • They may be dating or seeing various other people, and you don’t accommodate what they want.
  • They may be fearful of you rejecting them.
  • They avoid confrontation and other people’s feelings.


  • Try reaching out to them, and ask them directly, what’s going on?
  • If you receive no response from them, then it’s time to move on.
  • No one likes rejection, but this isn’t about you; it’s they’re stuff. They’re the one who can’t express their feelings or emotions, not you.
  • Know your worth.
  • Give yourself time to reflect and write down what you want from a relationship.
  • Always act with integrity and treat others the way you wish to be treated.
  • If you’re ghosting or have in the past, there’s a better way to end it, by having that hard conversation, being kind and gentle.


This is an attempt to in uence you with loving words, actions and behaviour as manipulation. It can be used in different ways, positively or negatively. It can refer to intense emotions, affection and admiration someone gives another person in a relationship. Love bombing can happen at any stage in a relationship, but it’s more common when two people first meet. Their attention may seem attering, but it can be manipulative. They may use this tactic to gain trust and build intimacy quickly to satisfy a need to feel praised and adored.


This can be a narcissistic cycle of abuse – and narcissists typically use it. Love bombers are usually impatient; they want it now, instant gratifi cation. They want to control the situation on their terms and will make you the centre of their universe and get close very quickly.


  • Take time to consider all the information you have before making any rash decisions.
  • Does their behaviour make you feel uncomfortable?
  • What’s your gut saying? Are there red flags?
  • Create space early on and set healthy, fi rm boundaries to help you process information.
  • Processing helps you assess whether their behaviour is a sign of affection or love bombing.
  • Take an inventory of the time you spend with them.
  • Communicate with each other your values and what you want from a relationship, including your outside interests, expectations, religions, and other important information.
  • Take it slow to ensure you feel confident about their intentions toward you.


Consulting a therapist or a dating or life coach can give you an outsider’s perspective, helping you navigate what you do and don’t want from a relationship. If the expert shares concerns about your partner, don’t dismiss them.

Chances are, they’re onto something you might be denying, minimising or rationalising. It’s important to be honest with yourself about the situation. Love bombing rarely improves on its own, and enabling it can result in devastating consequences for your wellbeing.

Remember, it’s not your job to save the love bomber, and you can’t change their behaviour.

Learning to spot the warning signs early and getting support can make a tremendous difference.

The input will help you explore your options and help you make healthy decisions concerning your emotional wellbeing and safety. This insight can decrease your risk of diving too deep into a new relationship.


Your love interest is attentive and irty, leading you on, but making no move to date or hang out with you. They communicate frequently enough to keep you interested, but nothing seems to pan out, and irt but never ask you out. They message you to say hi and offer compliments, but ignore you when you suggest meeting in person. They leave comments on your social media posts but don’t respond to DMs. They send memes and GIFs, but never engage in a proper conversation.


They’re weighing up their options, hoping you’ll stick around.

  • Breadcrumbing is when someone leads you on romantically through social media or texting, stringing you along with the help of modern technology.
  • They send you messages to keep you interested, even if you don’t actually like them or have any romantic interest in them.
  • Some might breadcrumb deliberately to keep you hanging on, but most aren’t entirely conscious of their behaviour.
  • Their communication is non-committal.
  • They give you the bare minimum to keep you interested.
  • Generic communication.
  • If they’re communicating late at night, then they’re only after one thing: a booty call.
  • They may be insecure and lonely.
  • They boost their self-esteem with several other relationships.
  • They believe they’re not doing anything wrong.
  • They’re all about their ego.


  • Know your worth.
  • Recognise
  • Change how you respond.
  • Turn off your phone at night – especially if they’re only messaging you late at night – and respond the following day.
  • If you feel anxious, you need to end the situation.
  • Set clear boundaries.
  • Take care of yourself. Love and approve of yourself.
  • You’re the most important person in your life.
  • Establish why they never see their plans through.
  • Are they a catfish? Are they real?


Breadcrumbing can be harmless and firtatious if both parties are aware it’s happening.

This article was originally published in GLAMOUR’s 2023 Mind & Body Issue. Grab your digital copy here.

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