Ghosting is known for being the worst modern dating behaviour/trend, and for good reason too. One minute, you are hitting it off so well with your latest flame, and the next, they have disappeared off the face of  the planet. This leaves you thinking you may just have imagined the whole encounter.

But what happens when your new beau has not ghosted you but has not exactly been entirely present either? What does it mean when you are constantly left with more questions than answers? When you are left with more shock than pleasant surprises?

As it turns out, there are more dating trends that are worse than ghosting. These unhealthy trends are subtle and not as obvious to the untrained eye. The only remnants of them are that debilitating “off” feeling. Here are four toxic dating trends that can be best observed in Hatfield, which is notorious for its toxic dating culture.

Probably the most common toxic modern dating tactic- breadcrumbing- as described by Choosing Therapy, is “sending” out flirty or affectionate cues without a real commitment”. Equate breadcrumbing to mixed signals, vagueness or inconsistency. In other words, it means leading someone on. They will needs. The intention is to keep you hopeful, intrigued, and attracted to them. What makes breadcrumbing toxic, is that it is not about you. According to Brides, the breadcrumber seeks validation from others; the attentions they receive helps affirm their self- worth.

The term benching is derived from sports, and Women’s Health explains that it “involves keeping you on hold while the person continues to date other people, or play the field”. You are not their first (or perhaps their second) option, but they keep you around just in case their main options fall through. Like a breadcrumber, a bencher gives you only enough to keep you interested.

Benching is toxic because the person comes into your life and maintains consistent communication, then suddenly exits your life through abruptly reduced communication, before returning just as you are about to move on and gain peace. Benching looks like last-minute plans, inconsistency and uncertainty. You never know when or if you will ever hear from them again, their level of interest or where you stand with them.

According to Bazaar, benchers bench because while they may like and enjoy spending time with you, they just do not feel it enough to commit to you. VeryWellMind suggests that this could be due to various reasons: stress due to a busy work/personal life, emotional unavailability, feeling overwhelmed by the dating world, mental health issues, or simply a fear of being alone.

Stylist describes stashing (also known as “pocketing”) as “when one person in a relationship makes the conscious decision of keeping their partner from their inner circle”.Stashing looks like never going to their place, not going out with them or, if you do, it is to faraway places where you would not be recognised. It also looks like your partner not introducing you or even mentioning you to their friends and family.

When being stashed, you will get the eerie feeling they do not want to be seen with you. According to PureWow Wellness, stashers stash because they are embarrassed by either you or their loved ones, they do not aim to commit or be long-term with you, or they are simultaneously seeing someone else.

Quiet dumping
Oprah Daily explains that quiet dumping or “quiet quitting” is when your partner stops “exerting the energy, emotion, or investment in the future of the relationship that [they] previously [did]”. Essentially, they start doing the absolute bare minimum required to date you. You exist together in a way you would with a disinterested roommate – you are together just for the sake of it.

Quiet dumping is unhealthy because it is done with the sole purpose of manipulating you to dump them.According to Psychology Today, when quiet dumping, a partner may withdraw or reduce
interest, attention, quality time, and physical affection. The partner may also stop committing to far-off plans, take longer to reply to texts, avoid conversations that could resolve conflict,  or generally just stop prioritising you.

Nolwazi Sangweni
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