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Ghosting, Benching and the likes: “ancient” love traps resurfaced and renamed

Ghosting, Benching and the likes:
“ancient” love traps resurfaced and renamed

When it comes to online dating there are new modern names for classic relationship problems. To still be on top of things, you can find the most important terms on love traps of the new age.

Ghosting and Zombie-ing: long lost and recently resurfaced

Ghosting? A few years ago one might have said: “well he vanished into thin air”. Someone you went on multiple dates with seemingly disappeared.

He or she is not making any more attempts to contact you doesn’t reply to your messages and/or blocks you on WhatsApp.

Ghosting – Suddenly your date vanished into thin air!

There is another level to Ghosting: Zombie-ing. After having disappeared, the date seeks contact with something along the lines of: “Hi, how are you?” via WhatsApp, Badoo or any other Dating-App and acts as if nothing had happened.

If the elephant in the room is addressed you will get to hear something along the lines of: “well I just needed some time to myself.” Or “everything became a little much for me.” And to the reply: “I thought something bad had happened to you!” they will just shrug and switch the subject.

In the age of the dating-apps Zombie-ing unfortunately is more common than rare. What can you do about it? Nothing. Except dating someone who won’t bother with such nonsense.

Post Ghosting, there is Haunting

Well we all know what Haunted means, isn’t that called stalking nowadays? No. Hauting is a whole lot more subtle – and not a felony.

If you are being stalked, all you want is to be left alone by the person doing the stalking. He or she is supposed to stop harassing you and disappear out of your life. With haunting, the roles are distributed somewhat differently.

Haunting: Communication is dead – but likes on Instagram.

The thing about haunting is: The one that disappeared before and didn’t reply to any messages or any other forms of contact (ghosting) at Instagram, Facebook or the likes, yet he will still like the posts of the person that he has left.

Emotionally it can be hard to let go of the crush you had on him/her since they just vanished, yet you are constantly reminded of their existence by their likes. And you might feel the bitter burn of knowing they apparently didn’t want to be with you.


Submarining is quite similar to ghosting or Zombie-ing. Your date behaves more like a submarine. It disappears without an apparent reason and then suddenly “resurfaces”, after seemingly not existing for a couple of days or weeks.

Also you seem to wait for an apology or explanation, yet that will never be given. He or she is just going to act like you just met each other yesterday, or a couple of hours ago.


Mooning is a way for everyone that is even too lazy to ghost, and passively show their lack of further interest in you.

With mooning you simply turn on the do-not-disturb mode of your phone and tell it which calls and messages are to be suppressed. Mooning seems to be a bit less blatant that to simply “block” someone.

The term mooning comes from the iPhone’s do-not-disturb function’s symbol, the little moon.


Single Coach Eric Hegmann described Benching nicely with one sentence:

You are not a priority, you are an option.

There you go. Someone is using you as a backup plan and will keep getting in touch every once in a while to see if you are still an available option.

Benching: You are not a priority.

If you met via a dating app, worst case scenario is that you two never even met in person. And the waiting part is still waiting for the first date, while the bencher is already at number 5.

Gaslighting: Manipulation to insanity

Gaslighting is a serious issue. It is not just about relationship problems, it is about a serious threat to the victim.

Gaslighting is psychological abuse. The perpetrator tries to gain complete control over his victim. Which he achieves by putting words in the other persons mouth ore twisting them until they fit his or her desired story. The manipulate feelings and perception until the victim starts doubting reality itself.
Especially relationships based on loyalty and hierarchy potentially drift into gas lighting. And aside from relationships, that may happen to colleagues or even in your family.

The term Gas lighting refers to the play “Gas Light” by Patrick Hamilton. In this play gas lighting is shown in its purest form.

Here is an extract from the play:

Bella: To humiliate me in such a way… Jack! How could you?

Jack: This is all your fault my child. You are the housewife, so it is up to you to give orders. If you withdraw yourself if this task – well…

Bella: That is not what this is about, Jack.

Jack: what is this about then, Bella?

Bella, struggling to hold back tears of anger: How you degrade me in front of that girl (…) don’t you realize how you are humiliating me? (…)

Jack: It is your system, to treat servants as equals. I was just trying to show you what that results in. (…)

Bella: I can see that Jack, I see it every (…) day. At first she was laughing behind my back –

Jack harsh: Behind your back – I thought you saw it.  Do you have eyes in the back of your head? There you see, how unreal – I almost want to say twisted – your thinking has become. (…) Leave it be!


You are in a fresh relationship – yet your significant other seems to be a bit reserved about the fact: he hasn’t told any of his friends and family about you. He doesn’t want to switch off of being single on Facebook. You on the other hand took him to meet your parents 3 times already and you took him to meet your friends a couple of nights as well.

While you are setting everything up, being off the market and in an official relationship he is keeping things a secret. Maybe your new partner is just a little shy and awkward being in a fresh relationship. But maybe may soon have a case of someone ghosting you. Because your crush is stashing you, or better to say, his relationship status.

Catch and Release

Years ago the catch and release process would have been called an on-off-relationship. Catch and release. You were together and split up again. Maybe just like that maybe because of a fight maybe because of nonsense.


Breadcrumbing” – to leave breadcrumbs behind – meaning you try to keep the other person on the backburner for as long as possible, or with online dating you keep chatting until things get serious. Then you drop them immediately.

The one “Breadcrumbing” is just looking for an ego-boost.

You are just trying to see whether or not you could get with the other person, to see that you can be desired and complimented when flirting.

If your date never wants to make explicit plans but to keep writing messages, like your Instagram pictures and send a cute emoji every once in a while there is a good chance you are being “Breadcrumbed”.


Cushioning – you date someone but expect it to go bad either way. But instead of just leaving it be, you keep texting other people as well, so if things do go wrong, there is no downtime for you.

Catfishing & Kittenfishsing

Catfishing is what you may call a fake in the online dating world: someone pretends to be a person that doesn’t exist and creates a fake profile with stolen pictures.

Business Insider Germany wrote about people creating multiple fake profiles, through which they communicate with one another to make their made up stories more believable to the unsuspecting victim.

Kittenfishing is Catfishing’s little sister, one could also call it padding: you “pad” your profile with pictures that make you look 10 years younger, and sometimes the description “fit” doesn’t quite match reality.

Slow Fade

This is practically a slower version of ghosting. The person you are talking to is neither there nor gone, they are more or less just hovering.

slow fade
Slow Fade: One is not giving it their all.

These are four signs you could be in a slow-fade-relationship:

  • He or she is taking long periods of time to respond to your messages, when he generally answered much earlier there seems to be no apparent reason that should have changed.
  • The type of answers changed with the behaviour: short answers, no good morning messages and generally much less information of how things are going.
  • There is no more initiative on their part. There are no more suggestions on what to do on the weekends or even in general. His motivation seems to have “faded”.
  • Lack of interest: They don’t even ask you how your day went anymore, or how things are going in your life. There is a wall where there wasn’t one before, communication seems to have been reduced to an absolute minimal level.

Cuffing Season – Looking for leftovers?

Fall has arrived, and no one wants to be alone. Especially not singles with Christmas right around the corner and the fear of being on the couch watching TV – all alone. Which results in not only a lot of dating potential, but also risks. Since on the one hand, it might be easier to find a partner than in summer, since singles aren’t as picky, or trying to flirt with everyone they meet. Summer is over.

cuffing season
Cuffing Season: quickly finding someone to cuddle with in the winter.

Which is why some people might be thinking:

Well, let’s see if there are any leftovers from summer. There have to be other people that are trying to not be alone at the coldest time of the year.

Hence, plenty of people tend go with the first one they find, even if they barely match their preferences. At least until the winter passes.


Your date surprises you with small gifts every once in a while. Maybe he or she is extra attentive towards you. This is called flowering.

To some they may seem like minor things, but they are heartfelt and trying to brighten your day, showing you how important you are to them. Finally a positive term with all of this dating slang.

Hearting: When it is true love…

Hearting – another term describing a positive dating phenomenon. Your date is making you feel as if you were the greatest person in the world – which you are, of course! ;-) You feel important, you feel as if you were in heaven, safe and there are butterflies in your tummy. Hearting is basically the wellness package for all those lovebirds out there.


In the past, people may have referred to couples acting like Bonny and Clyde as a dream team. Today that is called Bonnie-and-Clyde-ing. Of which Jay-Z might be the culprit.

All I need in this life of sin is me and my girlfriend,
Down to ride till the very end it’s me and my girlfriend.

Backing: To have someone’s back

You date, or have been together with someone that always has your back. They are always there for you, will always lend you an ear whether you are having trouble at work or simply struggling with something in your everyday life.

They are always there to support and help you. That is Backing at its finest.


Whoever experiences Flowering, will react with Golding. If your date is really affectionate and spoils you with little surprises, you reciprocate with appreciation.

Golding! Your date as a treasure

Since appreciation can’t be valued in gold, the term Golding seems a bit out of place – appreciation explains so much better what this is about.


Everybody has that one friend, which seems to always pick the bad one that spoils the bunch and whines about their bad luck on social media afterwards. So draking means, Self-pity after your date leaves you and wishing you could go back to how it was.

I never had you, although I would be glad to. I’d probably go and tattoo your name on my heart.

Drama! So much Drama! These people used to simply be called unlucky

Draking- romantic drama for the unlucky

Throwback-Dating or old school revamped

Apparently there are people who won’t accept online dating and rather stick to old school dating: meeting someone at the supermarket, the club or even approach someone on their casual walk in the park. These old-school-daters truly live up to their names. ;-)

With the slim version of throwback dating you do find your date online, but when you do meet, you leave any electronic devices at home so you are not distracted from the person you are trying to get to know. Which not only proves your interest character and intellect – but also your manners.

Love bombing: Love, Crash and Hate

The date quickly turned into a relationship, and you are overwhelmed with live you don’t even realize what is happening to you. The relationship is intense right from the get go, believe yourself to be in heaven, then comes the crash.

If you take a step back for whatever reason, needing some time for yourself, express different views on certain things the complaints start pouring in. Immediate consequence: love deprivation. Your new partner is trying to train you. It is somewhat like Gaslighting, they are trying to make you a mindless Partner that never steps out of line.

Any behaviour that is unwanted, will immediately be punished with withdrawal of affection. If you behave as desired, the loving kindness and sweetness, the Love-Bombing returns.

Psychologists warn about Love-Bombing it its most extreme forms, since a relationship where boundless love and borderline humiliation are so close to each other for a long time, is not only dysfunctional but extremely damaging for anyone’s mental well-being.

Bezness: business and vacation flirts

Bezness is a neologism, coined somewhere around 1992 and refers to the terms “Bez-iehung” (German for relationship) and “busi-ness”.

Bezness refers to vacation relationships with fraudulent intent. The victims are generally of the same type.

A middle-aged woman, in love yet unhappy, single or divorced travels abroad. A charming young man invites her and she feels flattered. He reminds her so much of her own son. She fell for the trap.

Obviously the “beznesser” is in need of money within a short period of time – and she gives it to him under the illusion of helping him out, even with five-figure amounts. Most women would do anything for her new love.

Pigging – Men are pigs!

Pigging is one of the worst dating trends. It is about dating an ugly woman simply to get rid of her in the worst kind of way.

Obviously, being a pig is not exclusive to men – supposedly there have been women that have used pigging. Online discussion board shows:

Women are even worse from time to time! … Arrogant, conceited and so full of themselves the Kardashians could retire…

Generally speaking another comment summarizes the issue quite well:

Whether a man or woman does it, it shows a pathetic character of someone who doesn’t know what to do with their time, so they waste someone else’s.


“Tindstagramming” is a neology made up out of the dating app name “Tinder” and the image app “Instagram”. “Tindstagramming” is a new online-dating-tactic, where singles that liked someone on tinder, yet never received a like back find that person on Instagram and contact them there.

So this could be viewed somewhat as if it were stalking. “I’ll just look for that hottie on whatever other social media I use and message them there!” Whether this strategy will be successful or not is doubtable, since a no, rarely changes to a yes, simply because you switched the communication channels.

For everyone who does “tindstagramming” or is affected by it: stalking in the internet may be a felony just as much as if it were offline. It always depends on the case.

Many of these phenomena were used by thousands of singles and also used on thousands of singles. Remember: no one is protected from ghosting, benching and the likes. You can only be on guard and listen to your gut.

Henning Wiechers
has been observing the UK dating market since 2007. He is among the top opinion leaders in the industry.

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