The new language of modern lonely hearts and what it all means

‘I am a victim of COHABIDATING’: We reveal the bewildering new language of modern lonely hearts and the women who know first-hand what it all means

  • Jemma Prittie was victim of cohabidating after moving in with man after month
  • Cohabidating is living with partner before quite ready to relieve financial stress
  • Other dating terms include being scrooged, FBO, breadcrumbed or stashed 
  • Another term is R-bombing, when a person leaves a text message on read 

Jemma Prittie, 43, who lives in London, was a victim of cohabidating after moving in with her partner after a month

You might have heard of ‘ghosting’. It’s a dating term coined to describe what happens when one person just disappears from another’s life by abruptly ceasing communications. 

But would you know if you’d been scrooged or breadcrumbed? Or whether it’s time to go FBO?

It may sounds like something only millennials have to worry about. But as online dating becomes ever more widespread across all ages, its language affects every generation.

If you’re new to the dating game you need to be au fait with the lingo – and here the experts help us put together a glossary of all the terms you might encounter.

So just what is kittenfishing, and orbiting, and why should you DTR if you discover that someone’s stashing you?

Four women tell the Mail on Sunday about their experiences…

Jemma Prittie, 43, runs wild dolphin retreats in Hawaii, and lives in London

A few years ago, I was working as an events organiser and met a man who came to one of my events.

We got on well and went on our first date a few days later. He was living with a friend in a flat and his lease was about to expire, while I was just about to rent a two-bedroom flat in London. He was the one who floated the idea of him moving in with me.

I did really like him and even though I knew it was too soon, I think when you’re older, you accept that things will move more quickly and you want things to work out.

So a month after we met, he moved in with me. My friends thought I was crazy, but I wanted to try to make things work. And to start with, they did. But after six months the cracks were evident. He wasn’t pulling his weight – I was paying all the bills.

A year after we met, I finished it. Yes, I wanted things to work, but not at any cost.

Rachel Stone, 22, lives in Bristol and works in PR

Rachel Stone, 22, lives in Bristol, was you-turned by her partner after they went to Berlin and she planned a party for him

Last November, I met a man on Tinder. We’d been messaging for a few days before our first date and there was chemistry. Within two weeks we’d been on three dates and he told me he wanted us to be boyfriend and girlfriend.

I was pleased because I really liked him, and within a month we’d planned a city break together, and he’d introduced me to his family and his friends.

Things were very intense but I was happy. I organised a party for his birthday in February and a month later, we went to Berlin for my birthday. 

We were committed to each other. But in June, he turned up at my house and just told me he didn’t feel the same way about me any more, he no longer loved me, it wasn’t working, and he wanted to break up. 

It was a you-turn I didn’t see coming. There was no discussing it. He took all his stuff from my house, unfollowed me on social media, and I’ve not heard from him since.

Claire Cazier, 50, is a property developer from London

I was online dating and looking for a man around my own age when I was contacted by a guy who sounded interesting. He said he was 51, and looked good for his age in the pictures. I know that some men keep their natural hair colour, and so I had no reason to suspect him.

We chatted back and forth and agreed to meet for a drink. When I walked into the bar, I saw a young man there who looked a bit like my date, and I assumed my date had brought his son with him.

Claire Cazier, 50, was cougar hunted by a man who said he was 51 but turned out to be 27

He hadn’t – the man who’d told me he was 51 was actually 27. He’d managed to find a photograph that made him look older than he really was. 

He told me he was into older women, but had found that when he told women his real age, they weren’t interested, so he hoped to meet them online and develop a relationship before revealing the truth.

He was quite well-to-do, an architect who’d graduated from Cambridge and lived in Chelsea. While it was very flattering, I didn’t stay for that drink.

Rayah Harley, 31, lives in Chichester, West Sussex, and works in online sales

I do scrooge men at this time of year. The most recent one was a couple of days ago, but I’ve probably done the same thing for the past three or four Christmases.

It’s not just that I don’t want to buy them a present, I think that this time of year makes you evaluate your relationship. It’s a time of year that’s about family, thinking about what’s worked out during the year and what hasn’t, and where you want to be in the New Year – and who you want to be with. 

You look at the person you’re with and think ‘Do I really want to spend Christmas Day with you?’ and, yes, I suppose, ‘Do I want to put my hand in my pocket and buy you a present?’ If the answer is no, well you know what you have to do…

The man I scrooged recently was someone I’d met on Tinder and had been dating for a few months, seeing each other about three times a week but it just wasn’t working for me, so why drag it out?  


If a football player is benched, they’re left on the sidelines with the substitutes, but given hope that they might make it on to the field at some point. The same is true of being benched romantically – when you’re given just enough attention to make you think things aren’t entirely over, but you’re not someone’s first choice either.


Vaguely suggesting meeting up, but not creating a firm plan. ‘You free Friday?’ is a bookmark.


Very similar to benching, breadcrumbing is when you’re given just enough information or affection to keep you interested, but not quite enough to feel that there’s commitment. It happens when you don’t like someone enough to be in a relationship, but you string them along because you’d rather have someone on the back burner than be single.


Remember Casper, the friendly ghost? Caspering is friendly ghosting (when a partner disappears from your life without explanation). It’s ending a first date with the words ‘I loved meeting you but I don’t think we’re a match’, and then never contacting the person again.

Cougar hunting

‘This is quite a recent phenomenon,’ says Charly Lester, dating expert from Lumen, a dating app for over-50s ( It’s when older women are specifically targeted by younger men (who may often lie about their age) because they are looking for a sugar mummy – or an older partner who is less needy and won’t be looking for children from them.

Online dating terms like curving and Grande-ing are important for all generations to know


Shacking up with your new partner before you’re quite ready just to relieve financial stress.


Often used as part of the term ‘cuffing season’, which defines the period, usually during the colder, winter months, when single people who are normally quite happy with their single status decide they want to be paired up (or tied down, or cuffed). More prosaically, Christmas parties offer a lot of opportunity for cuffing, and finding a person to spend the rest of the winter cosying up to on the sofa.


The way that someone swerves dumping you by letting you down but not making it an outright rejection. The classic is the work get-out: ‘Sorry, work’s been crazy and I really want to see you, but I’m just so busy right now…’


With more and more people multi-dating, or seeing multiple partners at the same time, unless you’ve had the DTR chat – or Defined The Relationship – you can’t assume that your relationship is exclusive and that they’re not seeing other people.


If you have DTR’d, it might be time to go FBO (Facebook Official) – when you change your relationship status on Facebook to ‘In a relationship’. That’s serious.


You know what a fire door is – it’s a heavy door that slams shut in your face. So fire-dooring is when someone will contact you every now and then but if you send a message to them, or attempt to contact them in any way, they simply don’t respond at all.


Named after pop star Ariana Grande and her recent hit single, Thank U, Next – which is about moving on. Grande-ing is a personal celebration after a break-up. It’s all about acknowledging what you’ve learned from the relationship and rejecting negativity as you move forward with your life.


Curating your Instagram feed with one person in mind – posting pictures that will either appeal to your crush or make a point to them.


You might have heard of catfishing, which is when someone pretends to be someone they’re not on a website or app, either by using a fake profile or a fake picture. Kittenfishing is when the shot is actually the person looking for a date, but the photo is very flattering, thanks to careful usage of filters, or it makes you look like a size 10 when you’re actually closer to a 14.


It’s cheating, but in a tiny way. You didn’t kiss anyone, it was only a bit of a flirtation at the office Christmas party, or a slightly coquettish text to a friend that wouldn’t look great if your partner saw it.


When someone moves quickly from one relationship to another without much time in between, like a monkey swinging from tree to tree.

‘This tends to be a very male trait and not something that men are always honest about,’ says Ezgi Ceren Isik, dating expert at the Once app ( which claims to ‘bring back the magic to online dating’. ‘Our research showed that this sort of lack of commitment is a big red flag for a lot of women. Once includes functionality that allows women to rate their dates to alert other women of shady behaviour.’


You might no longer be seeing each other, but certain people have a habit of orbiting. They won’t message you, but they’ll like your pictures on social media, so they’re still circling around your life, without actually being in it.

TO Pie someone off

We can thank ITV reality show Love Island for this little gem, which means dumping someone. Think of it as getting a custard pie in the face.

So: ‘How’s James?’

‘I don’t know, he pied me off.’

Pie hunter

Derived from ‘pieing someone off’, a pie hunter is someone who has no intention of getting into a relationship but seeks out vulnerable people who are perceived as easier and low-maintenance, and less likely to cause a problem when they have to be pied off.


WhatsApp and other message apps can let you know if and when a message has been read, and that can lead to abject paranoia. When someone reads your messages but doesn’t reply, they’re R-bombing you.


A seasonal occurrence. This is when someone finishes a relationship shortly before the festive season so they don’t have to buy a gift. According to research from long-established dating site eHarmony, men are more likely to scrooge than women – 11 per cent against seven per cent.

Slow dating

While we’ve become accustomed to the swift swipe of dating apps, research suggests that there’s starting to be a backlash against this.

‘Research carried out by YouGov found that 30 per cent of Brits find the process of swiping and scrolling through an app “boring and tiresome”,’ says Once’s Ezgi Ceren Isik.

The alternative – what we might at one time just have called ‘dating’ – is ‘slow dating’. Rather than seeing multiple partners at once, it’s about spending time with one person and deciding if you might have a future, before moving on.


When a person hides the existence of the person they’re dating from their friends, family and even social media.


This is when one person repeatedly ghosts another, and then re-emerges, before disappearing again, only to reappear again some time in the future, often when other options elsewhere have dried up.


A romantic relationship which is based solely on texting a partner instead of speaking over the phone or meeting face-to-face. The rise of multi-dating and apps means this is commonplace – and makes it easy to have multiple textationships that give the illusion of having a relationship, as there’s someone you check in with regularly, even though you might never have met them.


Selecting your date to improve your social status, profile or reputation. The modern version of ‘dating up’ or ‘social climbing’.


When you become much more romantically interested in a particular person when you sense that their current relationship is about to break up, leaving you free to swoop in to pick up the pieces.


Falling head-over-heels in love with someone but suddenly changing your mind for one reason or another.


When an ex-partner who ended a relationship by ghosting their significant other resurfaces some time later – or in other words, comes back from the dead. This is most likely to come in the form of some sort of social media interaction or an out-of-the-blue text message.

Source: Read Full Article