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From lovebombing to breadcrumbing – 10 dating terms you need to know

Dating used to be so simple back in the day – A meets B at bar, they’re mutually attracted, numbers are exchanged, a first date is arranged.

But modern dating, via apps or through a matchmaking agency, is becoming increasingly difficult. During a pandemic lockdown, it’s nigh on impossible.

But for those of you hanging on in there, you’ll be aware of certain poor behaviours that have brought about a whole new set of dating lingo. Here are the worst offences.


So, this is the person who, from the first ‘like’, is piling on the praise. Your sensational looks, your thought-provoking profile, your obvious intelligence, your amazing body etc. On date one, they bring gifts and themselves on a plate because you are totally and utterly irresistible and they’ve never met anyone quite like you. By date three they’re talking about a future together and producing matching rings. Avoid! Avoid! This reeks of desperation, narcissism even. Whatever it is, it’s not normal and is often a manipulative tactic to get to sex in one fell swoop before ghosting (see below). Even if you do really fancy someone, keep a lid on it because love bombing appears insincere and therefore off-putting, unless, of course you’re chronically lacking in self esteem and will lap it up believing it’s genuine love from The One. It rarely is.


‘Morning, beautiful. How are you?’ I received that Whatsapp message every day for six weeks. No meaningful conversation, no calls and definitely no date. You’re officially on the ‘backburner’ as the breadcrumber has more important, ahem, matters to attend to. Breadcrumbing rarely leads to a full slice of dating action. Use your loaf and get rid of this stale mate!


You’ve had a date and you come home elated. There was a definite spark. You really liked each other, the things they said, the way they looked at you. Bingo! High five! Struck gold! You maybe lucky to get a second or even third date – things are really hotting up. Then nothing. No calls, messages go unread, your Whatsapp gets deleted. Did that person ever exist? Yes, that’s ghosting – practised by dating cowards who can’t say goodbye, but prefer to drop off the face of the earth.


In the olden days it was called ‘keeping sweet’, but the modern day equivalent is benching which refers to the act of keeping a potential love interest “on the bench” by texting them and liking their social media posts, but never actually arranging a date.

Cuffing season

During summer months everyone is in the mood for love and casual affairs. But when those dark nights draw in and singles begin to feel despondent about a dark winter alone, they hit those dating apps with a vengeance looking for a  stable relationship. The period just before Christmas is peak cuffing time because no-one wants to be alone at the festive season. But beware, those green shoots of romance could get trampled when Spring breaks.


You know that phrase which goes something like ‘a person never leaves a sinking ship unless there’s another vessel floating by”? Well, that’s cushioning. Lining up another new love before the last relationship is properly over to cushion the impact. Some people are terrified of being alone, but hanging on to a love that’s dead in the water is no excuse when you’re wooing another.


Is an art form practised only by the truly sneaky. They’re rejecting you in such a way that you don’t even realise it. Typical examples are that they take ages to reply to your Whatsapp, then apologise profusely. In their mind they’re letting you down gently. In reality, they’re prolonging the agony. Sometimes it’s done to keep you dangling because it flatters their fragile ego to have admirers hanging around waiting for a ‘breadcrumb’.

Kitten fishing

Probably the most widely practised bad dating habit. This is misrepresentation. White lies about your age, height, weight, wearing a hat to hide baldness, not smiling because your teeth are bad, making yourself sound more interesting than you are. Many of these people never get to the dating stage as it will expose their fraudulence. No-one likes a fake.


This has been known to have dangerous consequences. It involves putting up a fake profile using someone else’s picture. Regular users of dating apps get to recognise these people because they often look like professional models, have just one picture and appear to be too good to be true, because they are. Always report these people, they’re professional scammers and can cause you a lot of harm.


This describes the lingering presence of exes. These ghosts from your past – ex-partners or even people that you just went on a couple of dates with – reappear by liking or commenting on your social media feeds, usually when you’ve been seen on social media or out with a new date. Haunters want you to notice their presence once more. Exes cause many problems in relationships. The best thing you can do is shut them down, block them, they’re exes for a reason.

Happy dating!

Diane Cooke
Diane Cooke is a three times award-winning journalist who has worked for UK national/regional newspapers, magazines and websites.

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