Updated: August 18, 2022
The last month of 2019, and thus of the decade, is barreling to a close, and thus it is time to reflect not only the year but the decade in dating.
Romance in the 2010s will go down in history for a myriad of reasons, not least of them the rise of dating apps. Match and eHarmony had already existed for awhile, but in 2012 Tinder came into the the world and ushered in nearly a full decade of “swiping” and all the consequences that came along with it.
The dating landscape in 2019 is much different than it was in 2009 (incidentally, the year Grindr launched — but that is an entirely different story). Many hand-wringing articles blame Tinder and similar apps for the dating apocalypse and for changing the very concept of dating as we know it. This is not necessarily wrong, but in a world where people watch movies and read articles and take photos and check email and live on their phones, what did we expect?
It’s not just the abstract nature of dating that has changed; it’s the minutiae, the details, the small things. The idea that someone’s photo on your phone can turn into a real-life person that you connect to in some way — maybe even marry — has taken hold. But, of course, just as often the photo on your phone turns out to be a person who is a some combination or rude and idiotic or just plain creepy.
Here are ten worst dating trends of this wonderful decade of dating app experiences and the superfluous words we invented along the way to cope with the indignity of it all.
Yes, I’m linking to my own article — but I’m getting it over with quickly! What drew me to write about orbiting (the concept of not answering someone’s texts/other modes of desired communication but looking at their Instagram/Snapchat stories) is the fact that it could only occur in the 2010s. “Ghosting,” even though it was first coined on Urban Dictionary in 2009, existed as a concept for eons. You got stood up, you didn’t get a call/carrier pigeon/scroll back, what have you.
But orbiting? It could only exist in a time where Instagram and Snapchat do. Let’s put it to rest, please.
A bit distinct from ghosting, cloaking if when a potential suitor dons an invisibility cloak after setting up a date — meaning, they block you on the app you matched on and whatever communication app (WhatsApp, iMessage, etc.) so you can’t keep in contact. It’s like standing someone up, yet somehow worse.
Submarining is the term for when someone has not made contact with you for awhile, then all of a sudden comes up to the surface with a “What’s up?” text. It’s occurrences like this that make me wish it were the Little Women days and if you wanted to reach me, you had to write a letter by candlelight.
Enough. No one wants to date a moron. Next.
It’s almost 2020, people. Dating apps are here to stay, and it’s becoming more and more likely that you will meet your partner on one. I understand the hesitation to be vulnerable on dating apps, but if you actually want to meet people you are compatible with, it’s the only way. In 2020 I propose out with the nonsensical, slightly insulting bios that include one bad photo of you from 5 years ago and an Office quote at the bottom, and in with profiles that actually help you shine.
Kittenfishing is “light” catfishing: using old or edited photos, exaggerating your interests in order to seem more appealing, etc. Again, we’re entering a new decade, so stop this shit. No one wants to date the kittenfished version of you — but some (not everyone!) people will want to date the actual you.
No one wants to hear about Bitcoin, let alone when trying to get a date. If you’re a Bitcoin billionaire, just say that when you take your date on the Ubercopter and leave it at that.
As the name suggests, this is when someone isolates you, their partner, from the rest of the people in their life. We’re not going to date someone seriously in 2020 and not meet their friends and family. Nope! That is a red flag, and we’re not going to do it. I would make an exception for queer couples and families — there could be a lot going on there that I don’t have time to unpack in a top 10 list. But in that case, meet their friends.
Cushioning is basically cheating. It’s stringing people along in case your current relationship does not work out, leaving a “cushion.” This not only sucks for the person you’re dating, but for the people you string along as well.
There is no reason to cushion. For one, it makes you a bad person. But for another, non-monogamy garnered a lot of mainstream coverage in the 2010s — maybe consider it! And if your partner is not into it, either just be monogamous or break it off.
This one makes me want to cocoon inside a bread bowl to avoid it. Breadcrumbing is when someone sends flirtatious messages, but will never actually meet you in real life. I understand why it occurs: It’s an easy route for people to take. They’re not on apps to actually meet; they’re on them for the ego boost, for pen pals, because they’re just plain lonely but not lonely enough to leave their house.
But you’ve done your breadcrumbing (or have been breadcrumbed) and you know it’s time to stop.
Let’s all pledge not to waste anyone’s time in 2020, including our own. That means don’t settle for someone wasting your time. If you notice someone doing this to you, you have the power to let it go and find someone who won’t resort to being so lame.
Here’s to a new decade and much higher dating standards.