The Mating Grounds

Are you being benched? Understanding modern relationship terms for Gen-Z

Understanding Modern Relationships: A Guide to Relationship Terminology for Gen-Z

Confusion over Relationship Terms

If you’ve ever been confused about what your relationship status is, don’t worry – you’re not alone. With the rise of modern dating culture, relationships have become more ambiguous, and traditional labels like “boyfriend/girlfriend” have become less common.

In today’s dating scene, it’s not uncommon to see couples who are “talking,” “seeing each other,” or “hooking up” without any real definition of what their relationship entails. Adding to the confusion are terms like “situationships” or “friendzoning,” which can raise questions about where your relationship stands.

Changing Relationship Terms with Gen-Z

One reason for this shift in relationship terminology is the rise of Gen-Z, who view relationships differently than previous generations. For them, casual dating and hookups are more common, and they tend to value personal freedom and independence over committed relationships.

As a result, new terms like “ghosting” or “breadcrumbing” have emerged to describe the ways people break up or avoid commitment in the digital age. And while these terms may seem negative, they reflect a new reality for relationships in the modern world.

List of Modern Relationship Terms

To help make sense of these new relationship terminologies, here’s a list of some common terms you may come across:

1. DTR: “Define The Relationship” – a conversation where partners discuss their relationship and decide if they are exclusive or not.

2. FBO: “Facebook Official” – when partners update their Facebook status to show they are in a relationship.


Cuffing Season: the winter months when single people seek to “cuff” or tie down a partner for the season.

4. Thirst Trap: posts on social media designed to elicit attention or validation from others.


Breadcrumbing: sending occasional, flirty messages to keep someone interested without any real intention of starting a relationship.

6. Situationship: a grey-area relationship where partners are more than friends but not quite in a relationship.

7. Ghosting: when someone suddenly stops communicating with their partner without any explanation.

8. Stashing: when a partner hides their relationship from their friends and family.

9. Simping: when someone goes above and beyond to impress their crush in hopes of winning them over.

Relationship Terminology: Pocketing/Stashing

One term that has gained attention recently is “pocketing” or “stashing.” It refers to when someone keeps their partner hidden from their friends or family, often because they are not sure about the relationship or are afraid of how their loved ones will react.

Definition of Pocketing

If you suspect you’re being “pocketed,” it means that your partner is not introducing you to their parents, friends, or coworkers. This often happens when one partner feels insecure about the relationship or is not sure if they want to commit yet.

In some cases, pocketing may be intentional, with one partner keeping the other a secret for personal reasons. Other times, it may be an unconscious behavior.

Signs of being Pocketed

Some signs that you may be a victim of pocketing include:

– Your partner avoids introducing you to their family or friends. – Your partner doesn’t post pictures of you on social media or includes you in their Instagram stories.

– Your partner is hesitant to make plans with you outside of the house, preferring to stay in rather than go out in public. If you notice these signs, it’s important to have an open and honest conversation with your partner about your expectations and relationship goals.

Cultural Differences in Pocketing

Pocketing is not just a problem in the Western dating scene. It is also prevalent in South Asian households, where cultural expectations and traditions play a huge role in relationship decisions.

In some cases, South Asian men or women may keep their partner hidden from their family due to religious or cultural differences. In other cases, they may not introduce their partner until they are sure they want to marry them.

Whether you are in a modern or traditional relationship, it’s important to communicate with your partner about your needs and expectations. Clear communication is key to a healthy and happy relationship, no matter what the terminology may be.

Relationship Terminology:

Breadcrumbing and


In modern relationships, new terms like “breadcrumbing” and “curving” have emerged to describe the ways people engage in ambiguous and sometimes hurtful behaviors. These terms reflect the changing landscape of dating in the digital age, where communication can be both easier and more complicated at the same time.


If you’ve ever had someone lead you on and then suddenly disappear, you may have experienced breadcrumbing.

Breadcrumbing refers to when someone sends just enough flirty or suggestive messages to keep you interested, but never actually follows through with any real plans or commitments.

The term comes from the idea of leaving someone a trail of breadcrumbs to keep them following along, but never actually leading them anywhere. This behavior can be frustrating and confusing, as you may feel like your partner is into you one minute and then ignoring you the next.

Keeping Someone on the Hook

People who engage in breadcrumbing often do so to keep someone on the hook. They may enjoy the attention you give them or want to keep you interested in case they change their minds in the future.

Alternatively, they may be unsure about their feelings for you and breadcrumbing allows them to keep their options open. Whatever their reasons, it’s important to recognize these behaviors for what they are and not invest too much time or energy in someone who is not willing to fully commit to a relationship.

Rapper’s Advice on


Many artists have touched on the concept of breadcrumbing in their music, including rapper J. Cole who advises listeners “Don’t save her, she don’t wanna be saved” in his song “No Role Modelz.” The line reflects the idea that you should avoid trying to save someone who is not interested in being saved, or in this case, investing in a relationship with you.


While breadcrumbing can be confusing and frustrating, curving is a more direct form of rejection.

Curving refers to when someone ignores or dodges your advances, often by not responding to flirty messages or declining invitations to meet up.

Unlike ghosting, where someone suddenly stops communicating altogether, curving allows the other person to save face and avoid the cruelty of an outright rejection. However, it can still be hurtful if you’re on the receiving end.

Ignoring Flirty Texts

If you suspect someone is curving you, look for signs like ignoring your flirty texts, declining your invitations to hang out, or being slow to respond to your messages. While it can be hard to accept rejection, it’s important to recognize when someone is not interested and move on.

Less Cruel Way of Rejection

While curving may seem like a less cruel way of rejecting someone, it’s important to have emotional intelligence in these situations. If you’re not interested in someone, it’s important to communicate that clearly and respectfully.

Ignoring someone’s messages, even if you don’t intend to lead them on, can still be hurtful.

In Conclusion

Modern relationships can be confusing and hard to navigate, but understanding the terms surrounding breadcrumbing and curving can help you recognize when someone is not interested in a relationship with you. It’s always important to prioritize clear communication and respect in all relationships, regardless of their status.

Relationship Terminology:

Orbiting and

Cuffing Season

In today’s digital age, new relationship terms like “orbiting” and “cuffing season” have emerged to describe the ways people navigate their relationships during the fall and winter months. These terms reflect the changing attitudes towards intimacy and communication in modern romance.


If you’ve ever experienced someone ghosting you only for them to continue watching your Instagram stories or liking your posts, you may have experienced orbiting.

Orbiting refers to when someone continues to engage with you on social media after ghosting or ending a relationship without offering an explanation.

Psychological Warfare

Orbiting can feel like psychological warfare, as it can elicit feelings of confusion and unresolved emotions. It can also make it difficult to move on from a relationship, as the person continues to remain present in your social media presence.

The confusing and trivial nature of orbiting can make it hard to notice at first, but it can still elicit emotional reactions from people without any real explanation or communication.

Cuffing Season

As the weather gets colder, cuffing season refers to the phenomenon of people seeking out relationships to avoid being alone during the winter months. The term “cuffing” refers to the idea of tying someone down to spend time with them during the colder months.

Avoiding Lack of Intimacy

The desire for cuddles and intimacy is a primary motivator behind cuffing season. People are happier and feel more fulfilled in relationships that provide physical intimacy, which can serve as a problem-solver and temporary fix for other issues.

Scientifically Proven Benefits of Cuddles

While cuffing season may seem like a superficial trend, there is scientific evidence to support the benefits of cuddling. Studies have shown that cuddling can reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and promote better mental health.

It can also facilitate bonding and increase feelings of connection with one’s partner.

In Conclusion

Understanding the terms surrounding orbiting and cuffing season can help you navigate your own relationships and understand the motivations behind different behaviors. As with any relationship, it’s important to prioritize clear communication and respect for your partner’s feelings, regardless of the season or circumstances.

Relationship Terminology:

Benching and


As technology influences modern dating, new relationship terms have evolved to describe behaviors and trends. Two of these new terms are “benching” and “cushioning.” These terms reveal an ongoing struggle between intimacy and freedom in modern relationships.


If you’ve been “benched,” it means that you are being kept “on the bench” as a potential option for a partner, but not the main focus. This behavior can manifest in different ways: you might be consistently flirted with but not taken on a date, or you might be texted every so often but never have anything really happen between you and your potential partner.

Example of Being Benched

Suppose you’ve met someone you’re interested in through a dating app. You both have a good conversation, but things never seem to progress beyond texting.

After weeks or even months of this consistent yet ultimately meaningless communication, you find yourself asking: “So, are you seeing anyone?” to which they reply “Oh, no, I’m single, why do you ask?”

Need to Find Another Team

Being benched is about waiting for the right moment, but it’s important to know when to find another team. It can be emotionally exhausting to wait for someone who may lack the integrity to be straightforward about their intentions.

Remember to always stay in the game, but don’t get benched.


Cushioning is like a relationship insurance policy. It’s the act of keeping open lines of communication with one or more potential partners, usually as a backup in case of a breakup or as emotional security.

Cushioning may occur during a relationship or it can happen during the dating stage. Standing By, If Relationship Fails

Cushioning is about keeping your options open and forming a safety net if things don’t go well with your main partner. This behavior can be seen in situations where your partner might not be fully committed to the relationship, or when there are indications that things are rocky.

Being a Standby Lover

Cushioning might sound like a safe and practical approach to relationships, but it can still hurt. Whether you’re the one cushioning your partner or you’re the one being cushioned, it’s important to remember that a relationship should be based on shared trust and commitment.

Instead of trying to protect yourself emotionally, try to build an honest and secure relationship. Protect Myself, Emotional Security

Cushioning can also reveal trust issues and a lack of emotional security within a relationship. The vulnerability that comes with trusting someone completely may cause individuals to cushion someone who is a backup option.

Rather than using someone as a safety net, work with your partner to build mutual trust and emotional security.

In Conclusion

Benching and cushioning reveal the underlying fears individuals have about commitment and the relationship security. Whether you are being benched, cushioning someone else, or being cushioned yourself, it’s important to learn how to manage your own emotions and set boundaries.

Remember that finding genuine love involves risk, and creating trust and intimacy are essential to building a secure and authentic relationship. Relationship Terminology:

Slow Fade and


In modern relationships, new terms like “slow fade” and “allosexual” have emerged to describe the ways people experience attraction and the phases of relationships.

These terms reflect the complexity and nuance of modern romance.

Slow Fade

A slow fade is a passive-aggressive way of ending a relationship. It involves backing away over time rather than breaking up directly.

This behavior can manifest in various ways such as responding less frequently to texts or calls, making excuses for not meeting up, or gradually reducing intimacy levels with your partner.

Backing Away Over Time

A slow fade can be a sign of cowardice and fear of confrontation. Rather than ripping the band-aid off and ending the relationship decisively, the person chooses the slower route of backing away.

Need to Rip the Band-Aid Off

While a slow fade may seem like a lack of commitment, it can be a sign of courage and self-respect. It’s important to have the courage to speak openly and honestly with your partner about your intentions in the relationship.

Ripping off the band-aid and ending the relationship may hurt at first, but it can ultimately lead to a healthier and happier outcome for everyone involved.


Allosexual is a term used to describe someone who is sexually attracted to others regardless of their gender. This term is different from bisexuality in that it doesn’t imply that there are only two genders, nor does it imply a binary sexual orientation.

Difference from Bisexual

For example, someone who identifies as bisexual might feel attracted to both men and women, whereas an allosexual person might feel attracted to people of all genders, including non-binary and trans individuals.

Only Means Attraction

Being allosexual only means that someone is attracted to others; it doesn’t define their romantic or emotional attraction or their gender identity. It’s inclusive and respectful to people regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation.

In Conclusion

Navigating modern relationships can be complex and difficult, but understanding the terms surrounding slow fade and allosexual can help provide clarity and foster mutual respect in healthy, long-lasting relationships. Remember that every individual’s experience is unique, and it’s essential to communicate openly and honestly in all relationships.

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