Top Ten Online Dating Terms Older People May Not Know

By Tyler Joseph
Top Ten Online Dating Terms Older People May Not Know

In the past twenty-five years, dating went from asking parents for permission to going online and finding people to talk to you. The dating our grandparents used to do still exists, but it's fading. Every day, more and more people turn to online dating to find friendships, long-term relationships, or marriage.

The longer these dating sites stayed on the internet, the more they evolved with the rest of the world. Niche sites began appearing for a person's unique interests. Hookup sites and sugar daddy websites started showing up in the early 2000s. There was something out there for everyone if you wanted to try online dating.

As online dating evolved, so did online scamming. Fake profiles started showing up on less reputable dating sites to scam innocent people out of money. Other profiles had more harmful ideas in mind. Now, people take precautions when they use these sites. If they meet their online relationship, they make sure someone knows with a name and phone number.

Despite the safety concerns of online dating, many people find love and have lasting relationships. Some of these relationships evolve into marriage. Online dating turned into a fast, fun way to meet new people and make friends, no matter what your age and background. You can find what you're looking for on the right dating site.

Below are ten famous words in online dating. If you're an older person trying online dating for the first time, these words are going to sound strange to you. But once you know them, you'll know if one of your potential online dates is worth your time.

1: Ghosting

You meet someone online, and you like one another. You talk every day for hours, and you find yourself liking someone every time you speak to them. You start thinking to yourself, "Maybe this person's the one."

Suddenly, they disappeared. The person never comes online anymore, or they blocked you from all social media. Maybe you exchanged phone numbers, and they stopped taking your calls. Out of nowhere, they disappeared.

This behavior is called ghosting. People disappear without explanation every day online. It's confusing and hurtful to the people who experience ghosting. Often, the person ghosts someone if they're afraid of conflict.

The best thing you can do, if you think you got ghosted is to stay calm and come to accept it. Chances are, you will never get an explanation as to why someone suddenly ghosted you, but it's okay to take some time to grieve before you move on.

2: Breadcrumbing

Imagine meeting someone online. You like them, and they seem to like you. You started off talking for hours, but they suddenly stopped talking as much. Every once in awhile, you'll hear what you want to hear, or you'll see a like on your social media from the person. But that's it.

This situation is what it's like to get breadcrumbed. The person doing the breadcrumbing isn't as interested as they want you to think. Instead, they're sending you enough messages to keep you thinking they're interested as you start to move on from them. It's a manipulative form of emotional limbo, and it's harder to catch onto than ghosting.

If you think you might be getting breadcrumbed, it's a good idea to stop contact with that person. They don't care about your feelings, so there's no reason to feel wrong about ghosting them.

3: Orbiting

In science terms, the moon is orbiting the earth. The earth is revolving around the sun. They're close enough to see one another, but they're far enough they never interact.

How does this apply to online dating? Imagine if your ex keeps showing up on your social media. You and your ex haven't spoken in years, but suddenly they're all over your social media. They like the same things as you, and they interact with your mutual friends. Suddenly, after a week, they disappear again.

When your exes suddenly show up and disappear like that, it's called orbiting. They don't interact with you, but their presence might have an emotional effect, depending on how the two of you ended things. Sometimes, these exes feel wrong about ghosting you and want to show up in your life again.

If you notice it, but you don't get an emotional reaction, it's harmless. But if you find your heart skipping a beat and asking yourself questions about why things ended the way they did, maybe blocking them is a good idea.

4: Benching

Benching is similar to breadcrumbing. So close, the two often get mixed up with one another. With benching, you still see the person, but they refuse to commit to you. They have other options they want to play out first. With breadcrumbing, you don't physically see the person, but they send you flirty texts or likes on your social media to make you think you have a chance.

Nobody wants to feel like an option, nor does anyone want to feel like a backup plan. If you feel like you're getting benched, communicate with the other person. Make it clear what you want out of them. If you don't like what they have to say, move on to the next person.

5: Cushioning

Ever find out your ex has a list of exes or other people he or she was still talking to even though you were in a serious relationship? Did it end your relationship?

Often, if you find out your new relationship has a long list of people they're still flirting with, they're themselves. Maybe these people had bad luck in past relationships. The idea behind cushioning is if your relationship ends, the other person has a list of people, and they can try a relationship. That way, they never have to be alone.

How you react to that is up to you. If you don't like that your person has a list of people they can fall back on, tell them. Being direct is a cure for a lot of online relationship problems. If they don't seem interested in getting rid of their list of people, they're not ready for a full commitment. You can show them the door.

6: Stashing

Have you ever had a relationship with someone who didn't seem interested in introducing you to anyone in their lives? They talk about your family or friends to you all the time, but they backtrack when you mention meeting these people. Suddenly, these people are unavailable, busy, sick, among other excuses. Over time you find yourself wondering, "Why can't I meet anyone in your life?"

In these situations, you get stashed. Your new relationship is intentionally hiding you from everyone. Usually, there's a reason your new relationship decided no one can know about you.

Unfortunately, you could be the "other person." According to Phactual, 51% of all online daters are in some form of relationship. 11% of those people are married. Even if these aren't the reasons no one knows about you, it's not a good feeling knowing someone is intentionally hiding you. Sometimes, the reasons could be worse than you think.

Remember, if you have to be kept a secret, it's not worth it with that person. If they don't want to introduce you to their loved ones, then it's not worth continuing the relationship.

7: Catfishing

This word is one of the most common phrases anyone involved in online dating knows. It's also the one thing a lot of people are afraid of happening to them. The act of catfishing is so popular, MTV created a TV show where people look for the people they think catfished them.

So, what is catfishing? People go online and create fake profiles to talk to people. There are many reasons an individual would want to catfish someone. Some people catfish to get revenge on exes. Others want to take advantage of people and scam them out of money. The more sinister catfishes could lead you to be a victim of sexual assault or worse.

The signs of catfishing can sound like common sense when you first hear them, but it's still good to know what they are. If they ask for money, don't want you to see their face, or it sounds too good to be true, you could be getting catfished.

One of the best ways to find out if you're getting catfished is to ask for a video call. If they keep finding excuses not to participate, then they're probably a catfish.

8: Cuffing Season

Cuffing season isn't malicious, per se. It's a time of year where it feels like everyone is around you is coupling up. If you're not one of these people during this time of year, don't worry! Relationships in the cuffing season don't last very long.

According to Esquire, the cuffing season acts more like a biological itch to scratch. Mainly, you're looking for someone to have around for the winter months when it's too cold to put yourself out there.

The cuffing season also has sociological roots too, which means that there's a societal need to be in a relationship before the wintertime so that family and friends don't start suspecting something being wrong. Pairing up with someone at that time of the year could be giving in to pressure to be in a relationship because of society and the media making you feel it's wrong to be single.

If you have a relationship, and it seems like you'll be single by summer, then your relationship was a product of the Cuffing season. It's not a bad thing. It could potentially make the next one more successful.

9: Curving

Ever find yourself interested in talking to someone who doesn't seem to have the same interests as you? If you're lucky, the person will directly tell you they're not as interested. If you're not so fortunate, they'll start ghosting you. If they're not cowardly enough to ghost you, they'll decide to curve you instead.

Curving is not as hurtful as ghosting, but the message is still there. When you talk to someone who isn't as interested as you are, that person tends to respond to your messages in a way to end the conversation. They don't want to hurt your feelings, but they're not interested in anything romantic either. It's not as cowardly as ghosting, but it is as frustrating.

There is nothing wrong with directly asking someone if they're interested in you if you feel like you're curved. Perhaps your directness will open up a conversation and encourage the other person to tell them their feelings. Then the two of you can decide if you want to stay friends or stop communicating.

10: Firedooring

Ever have someone not respond to calls or texts except when they end a relationship or want sex? They won't ever come to you whenever you want to spend time with them, but if they call, you'll drop everything and go to them. They act cold when you run into them in public, but they act like you're the most exciting person in the world when you're in private.

It's as one-sided as it feels, and nothing's going to come from it. In the dating world, we call this Firedooring. And it's the meanest thing you could do to someone.

With firedooring, the best thing you could do for yourself is to cut off all contact when you realize it's happening. No matter how many times you bring it up, the behavior isn't going to change. The other person will act upset when you decide to end the relationship, but it's another way to manipulate you into staying with them.


Online dating can feel like a mess if you don't know what you're getting into with a new partner. Now that you know what all these words mean, you can understand what to look for in another online profile. You can spot the catfishes and learn to move on when you have a ghost.

Knowledge is power when it comes to online dating. Knowing to know the good ones from the bad, and cutting off contact when you don't like where things are going is what makes online dating fun for many people. People should try online dating at least once. You won't know what you're missing until you try.

Tyler Joseph

Tyler Joseph

About The Author: Tyler Joseph owns the dating blog Dating Site Resource. Along with writing his own content and evaluating online dating sites, he also coaches couples helping them to achieve long lasting and meaningful relationships.