Sex & Relationships

Stashing, bread-crumbing and the worst… haunting: We outline every modern day dating term and what they mean

We've all come across at least one of these...
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When it comes to dating, communication is the key.

Except, in today’s technology-driven world, the language of love has gone from; “You are the apple of my eye,” to “LMAO bae, dtf on the w/e or netflix & chill 😛 ??”

Need a bit of help navigating 21st century romance? Let us decode all the terminology for you…

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Have you been dating someone for a while, and realised they haven’t introduced you to anyone important in their lives?

We get it, meeting parents is a pretty big deal, but they haven’t even introduced you to their friends at a casual setting like drinks.

Soz, girl, but it sounds like you’re being “stashed.”

First coined by Ellen Scott of Metro UK, “stashing” occurs when the person you’re dating doesn’t really acknowledge your relationship in a public way.

This could be by failing to introduce you to people, or by never posting anything about you on social media (rude). But whatever the stashing looks like, there’s one thing you can know for sure: this person probably isn’t serious about you, at least not in the long-term.


Cushioning is like an extension of benching (see more below), but it’s kinda worse.

It’s when you’re in a relationship but have a few “cushions” around — people you’re flirting with — so if your relationship goes south, you have some “cushions” ready to soften your fall, aka your breakup.

Just a suggestion: if you have people cushions there’s probably something wrong with your relationship in the first place.

Mad Men‘s Don Draper was a serial cushioner.



This is when someone you have been chatting with keeps finding ways to avoid actually seeing you in person, but continues to contact you over social media.

In other words, they are keeping you on their “bench” while they play out their other options. (Heads up, delete this bloke and never look back.)


Breadcrumbing is the hot new dating term of 2017 that unfortunately does not involve bread but refers to ‘when a guy or girl gives someone just enough attention to keep their hope of a relationship alive’ (thanks Urban Dictionary).

It’s kinda like if ghosting and haunting had a baby (more on those later).

And yes, it’s inspired by Hansel and Gretel, which means one day those crumbs may disappear and you may find yourself at the mercy of a witch who wants to eat you.

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The act of ghosting is when you are seeing someone and suddenly they disappear off the face of the earth.

Simply put, it’s a person’s way of telling you they aren’t interested anymore and it really sucks.


This is defined as “a romantic or sexual relationship that is not considered to be formal or established.”

Basically, it’s the guy who calls you up every weekend and lets you sleep over, but won’t hold your hand or take you on actual dates.

There’s no commitment, usually no exclusivity and situationships often come with a whole lot of confusion.

Kristen Wiig and Jon Hamm’s characters in Bridesmaids are a classic example of a toxic situationship.

(Universal Pictures)

Slow Fade

Less dramatic than ghosting, but still annoying af.

Basically, a slow fade is when you are chatting with someone, who at first seemed interested, but over time the convo slowly dies and they make less of an effort to keep in touch.

Cuffing Season

This term refers to those who would normally be happily single but decide to be in a committed relationship for the colder months of the year.

They’ll usually stay in relationships until the summer months return and they can get back to flirting, nights out and all that jazz.

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This is an acronym for ‘define the relationship’ and is often used when you want to know what the hell is going on with someone.

Typically, defining the relationship will end in one of two ways: commitment or heartbreak.


Bit different to the above; this is an acronym for ‘down to f–k.’

In other words, you will likely receive this from your local f–kboy after 10 PM, though the term isn’t as popular these days.

Chuck Bass, certified F–k Boy in his earlier days.

(The CW)

Sliding into their DMs

If you slide into someone’s DMs, it means you’re ready to take your social media flirting somewhere a little more private: their direct messages, instead of on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram where everyone can see.

And yes, this method actually works – Modern Family star Sarah Hyland found love with her beau after connecting over Twitter DMs.


This is when someone who previously ghosted you comes back from the abyss and does something completely random, like following you on Instagram or ‘liking’ a picture from two years ago, just to remind you that they exist.

Some people also use this term for exes who continue to lurk their social media for weeks, months or years after a breakup.

Mr. Big: Prime haunter.


Feminist boyfriend

This is literally what it says on the box.

He’s the ultimate BF. He understands that you aren’t getting paid enough, he will happily go and have high-tea with you and totally isn’t phased by subverting gender stereotypes.

Netflix & Chill

In case you haven’t picked up on this one, it basically means throwing on a Netflix movie, and not watching any of it… (because you’re having sex).


A term used to describe those who are extremely eager/desperate for a bit of action.

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This is an acronym for ‘friends with benefits.’ A state whereby two people, who are simply friends, enjoy having casual sex on the reg.

Soft launch

A ‘soft launch’ is when someone subtly debuts a relationship or new romance on social media.

Think a photo of dinner with a new man’s hand visible, or a cute mirror selfie with a new beau but their face isn’t visible.

Hard launch

Literally the opposite – when you debut a relationship with a full-on post with no warning.

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