6 modern dating terms to familiarise yourself with Advertisement

6 modern dating terms to familiarise yourself with

Know your breadcrumbing from your benching.

By ELLE team  February 19th, 2018

Modern dating terms can be perplexing — not least when it comes to decoding the new-gen language of love. We now live in a world where Darren Aronofsky and Suki Waterhouse date and adding ‘ing’ to words like ‘breadcrumb’ to ‘ghost’ transforms them from average terms to dating lingo 2.0. Whether you’re looking to update your glossary of  modern dating terms , decode mixed messages or are just curious about the latest terminology doing the rounds on Tinder, we’ve got you covered.


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In pop music terms, breadcrumbing is the love child of Katy Perry’s ‘Hot N Cold’ and Justin Bieber’s ‘What Do You Mean?’.

Layman’s translation: Breadcrumbing is the digital form of leading someone on. The average breadcrumber is all about keeping you wanting more; they’re afraid of commitment (even if that means just going for coffee) and love that you’re always there to chat whenever they want to.

Whether you’re the breadcrumber or the breadcrumbee, it’s not a situation you want to find yourself in. De-match and move on. You’re worth the entire loaf.


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In the world of modern dating terms , cushioning is breadcrumbing’s slightly more evil cousin—just with a cute, unassuming name. The Karen Walker (Will & Grace version, not the fashion designer) of the dating world.

A classic cushion-er will begin a relationship, while still engaging in the odd flirtatious banter with other online matches known as ‘cushions’. That way, the cushioner (the modern-day love rat/cad) has various cushions to fall back on if and when their primary relationship comes to an end. Chivalrous.


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Here’s where it gets trickier. Often, yet not-to-be confused with cushioning, benching refers to a single person (rather than one in a relationship) who keeps potential suitors/matches in constant rotation.

To be benched means you’re in rotation; read: your date isn’t sure enough about you to commit to a relationship so they’re keeping their options open and keeping you on the bench for a later date.


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Easy come, easy go. Ghosting refers to the moment a potential match—for no apparent reason—pulls a Houdini and disappears from both digital and offline life.

It can be surprising (even shocking) and hard to come to terms with, especially if you thought everything was progressing smoothly, but it pays to remember the people you’ve almost definitely ‘ghosted’ over the years to put it into perspective, if not ease a broken heart.


By dictionary definition ‘stash’ means to store something safely in a hidden or secret place. Which sounds rather twee, like the plot of an Jane Austen novel. Unfortunately the new incarnation of the term isn’t quite so love-filled. Stashing now translates to never introducing your (potential or existing) partner to your family or friends—in short, refusing to make them a proper part of your life.

You’re being ‘stashed’ if: You’ve never been invited to your partner’s place for dinner or your partner changes the subject every time you have a conversation about family and friends. Of course it’s not wholly bad if you’re actually looking for a low-key no-strings romance.


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You guessed it: the return of the ghost. Not a sequel to The Mummy but an actual real-life situation that happens more than you’d think.

Haunting refers to the head-messing time when, despite having finally accepted your date must have been sent on a secret spy mission or worse, has met some cruel fate (why else would he not be calling?), you receive a text out of the blue—months after your last contact—and just like that you find your ghoster back in your life.

While frustrating and 100 percent nonsensical, being haunted can at least provide you with the opportunity to put your ghoster in their place—or live happily ever after and share your Sliding Doors moment with future offspring. Oh, love.