Modern dating is a minefield — and to make matters worse, there are all these wacky new "terms" to get your head around.
First there was cushioning, a word used to describe a relationship where something is going wrong, then we had benching and ghosting — though this is now known as "breadcrumbing," apparently.
Confused? Well prepare to become even more so, as now "stashing" is on the rise — and it's not a good thing. This latest dating phenomenon (we use that term very loosely) happens at the stage during a relationship when you're pretty much "official," reports Metro.
You've been seeing each other for a while, things are going pretty well — until you suddenly realize something. Despite the fact your other half has hung out with all your mates, your family, your cat, the works, you are yet to meet a single person in their life.
Not only that, despite a stream of loved-up social media posts from your end, they haven't once shared anything that remotely suggests you're an item. No tagging, no Instagramming, nothing. Maybe you hear them on the phone to someone, having a chat about their day or making plans — and your name doesn't crop up once.
Sound the alarm — you are a victim of STASHING.
Basically the reason for all this secrecy on their part is that you're probably not the only person they're dating. That's right, they've got someone else — or worst case scenario, several others — on the go and as a result they're quite literally stashing you away.
By pretending that they're not actually dating you by failing to acknowledge your existence publicly, they're able to justify seeing other people and getting up to whatever they like, guilt-free. Should you call them out for it, the stasher will inevitably make you feel like you're the one in the wrong.
Likely excuses include, "I've barely spoken to my parents," or, "My love life just hasn't come up in conversation." They'll then probably try to turn the blame on you for being more bothered about your social media profile and what other people think than what's going on between the two of you.
Ooh, sly move.
Feeling bad about having even brought it up, the stashing victim will retreat — and begin to wonder whether it's actually because they're embarrassed about being seen with you. Over time this eats away at your confidence and self-worth. If it carries on, the best thing to do is to tackle it head on.
Ask the stasher, in very reasonable terms, exactly why it is that they choose to keep your relationship quiet, and whether they'd be up for compromising. Maybe they'll come up with a genuinely good reason — or they might feed you yet another line that makes you feel completely worthless.
If it's the latter, run while you still can — and find someone who'll be so proud to be with you that they want to shout it from the rooftops. Or on Facebook, whatever.
Yet another trend currently ruining romances is "phubbing" — but are you guilty of doing it?