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Have you been zombied? Your guide to the new dating language

Dating App 101 – Your guide to dating app lingo and EXACTLY what to do if you’ve been ‘benched’ or ‘bread-crumbed’ by your date – the expert’s guide

First, we had ‘ghosting’, next came ‘bread-crumbing’, now we’ve got ‘cushioning’ and ‘cuffing’ to contend with.

But what do all these dating terms mean and what can you do when you’re on the receiving end of some of the more brutal aspects of modern dating behaviour?

If you’ve ever wondered why all those flirty texts don’t seem to be going anywhere or why your latest online suitor is so vague when it comes to actually meeting IRL (In Real Life)? Chances are, you’ve fallen victim for one the less savoury aspects of online dating behaviour, you’ve been benched.

Dating apps have given a platform for frogs across the planet to behave in less than princely ways

They like you enough to string you along, and revel in the ego-boosting attention, but they’ll never arrange an actual date. Frustrating.

While it’s true that dating apps have opened a world of possibilities – they’ve also given a platform for frogs across the planet to behave in less than princely ways.

That’s why we’ve called on experts over at dating app Jaumo, for a guide to latest dating app pitfalls, so that you know exactly what you’re up against, next time you’re looking for love.

If you hadn’t heard of Jaumo before now, don’t worry.  If you’re on the dating scene you soon will, as they’ve been rated as the best dating app in the States by digital experts Applause after combing through half a billion online reviews, across 30 million apps worldwide. And they’re growing fast, in 180 different countries.

‘The dating scene is in a permanent state of flux and things change fast in the online dating world,’ says Jaumo co-founder Jens Kammerer. ‘We’re constantly seeing new trends and ways of behaving. We stay on top of those on a daily basis, so that we can flag them up and support our users.’

So, if you’re about to jump back into the dating fray, here’s the inside track on the latest dating terms from the dating experts Jaumo.

Plus we’ve got game-changing advice from world leading cyber-dating expert Julie Spira, who wrote The Perils of Cyber-Dating: Confessions of a Hopeful Romantic Looking for Love Online

Julie has got our backs with no-holds-barred advice on EXACTLY what to do in EVERY situation.

Forewarned is forearmed.


This is when you send flirtatious but non-committal messages to potential dates every now and then, to keep them interested, without ever exerting much effort. You have no intention of committing to an actual date but you scatter those crumbs of hope, to keep potential dates interested. ‘If you’ve been receiving suggestive texts for days or even weeks, with no firm commitment to meet, that’s a sure sign that you’re being ‘breadcrumbed’, says Kammerer.

Julie says: ‘If you’re communicating with somebody on a dating app and it’s been five days and you’ve sent ten messages to each other, but no one has suggested meeting, you know, it’s a flirtation and an ego boost, but this is not somebody who is on the app to go on a real date,’ says Julie.

‘So, if your intention is to go on a real date, you’ve got to make that clear early on and move it forward.  It’s fun to flirt and go back and forth but there’s this point of no return and that’s usually after several days; most certainly a week.’


If you thought bread-crumbing was tough, prepare yourself for benching, aka putting someone on the back burner or continuing to date them in a low-effort way until someone better comes along.

Julie says: ‘When you’re put on the bench that is a really strong signal that you are NOT their priority. They might like you, but not enough to commit and they’re keeping their options open. The best way to handle this is to find someone else.  So, if you find that you’re on hold, wondering if they’re going to be your Saturday night date or not, just go book another date and if they come around, oh well, you’re busy.’


This is when you’re flirting with people despite being in a relationship, so that if things go wrong, you’ve got someone to cushion your fall. But what should you do if you suspect someone you’ve meet online is already taken?

Julie says:  ‘I’d suggest looking at their social media to see if they’re in a relationship. If there are pictures of them in the arms of another it could be a kissing cousin or friend, but if it’s the same person over and over, they’re in a relationship. You have to ask yourself do you really want to carry on flirting?  When people are flirting with you, even if it’s only digitally, but they’re in another relationship, that is emotional cheating.

And if you catch your boyfriend at it, with his own online profile? ‘Then you need to have a conversation to see if you’re on the same page with what you want in your relationship.  If not, I’m a big advocate of kicking somebody to the kerb if they’re going to cushion you.’ So, that’s that then.


‘This is when you let someone down gently before vanishing from their life completely,’ explains Jaumo co-founder Kammerer.

Julie says: ‘This is just somebody, who doesn’t want to be the bad guy. A lot of people are people pleasers, so they let you down gently and just start to see you less, and less, in the hope that you’ll get frustrated and end the relationship. So, you’re in a relationship, and you generally see each other every weekend, Friday and Saturday night and then, all of a sudden, there’s a family member coming to visit on a Saturday and they can’t get together and pretty soon it’s happening every week.

To me that’s like ‘the dog ate the paper’ when you don’t have a dog. It’s usually an excuse and if it starts to happen more than once, it’s likely there’s someone else.  So, if you notice that you’re getting moved to weekdays, don’t get demoted, gain your power and your self-esteem, and find another partner who’s going to be excited to say, “I’d like to be with you on the weekends, the whole weekend.”’

Doing bits

a.k.a making sexual contact with someone but not going the whole way – thanks for that Love Island.

Julie says: ‘If you haven’t had ‘the talk’ about being exclusive sexually then a little petting here and there, that’s better than double-dipping and having sex with multiple partners, which is can be emotionally and physically damaging. But if it carries on and on, I’d say they have intimacy issues. They may have sexual anxiety, but usually it’s because they’re in a relationship with someone else and they’re already getting it elsewhere.’ In other words: BEWARE.


a.k.a seeing someone only on your terms and at your convenience (a fire-door only opens one way).

Julie says: It’s a one-sided relationship and to me that can lead to depression and increased anxiety.  If you’re not in a mutual partnership, this relationship is doomed and you’ll end up becoming over-attached, and needy, and anxious and that’s not attractive whatsoever.


Just like freckles that show up in summer and vanish in the winter, this when you hook up with someone just for the summer and then vanish in September.

The scenario: Summer flings and summer romances have been around since the beginning of time.  They’re abundant when the weather is warm and everyone is wearing less clothing. If it’s mutual and you’re having fun, then admit that you’re doing, it’s a fling and that’s it and enjoy it. The problems start if one person thinks, “Oh, I’m at the end of the summer and maybe I’ll get a deeper commitment.” If your date has said that that’s not what they want, then that’s unlikely to change.’


a.k.a. falling off the face of the earth and cutting all contact with potential dates you’ve been speaking to when you are no longer interested.

Julie says: ‘This is the number one bad dating habit that apps have created.  You know, one person thinks that you’re in a relationship and then all of a sudden, the chats come to a complete halt, text messages come to a halt and there are no more phone calls.  If you’ve been ghosted I always say, don’t let the ghoster return for a repeat performance, EVER, because if they’ve done it once they will disappear again.


a.k.a. posting how much fun you’re having on social just so your crush will see it

Julie says: ‘If you’re having fun, by all means post that for you and your friends, but don’t even think about: ‘How will my crush react to this’, that’s no way to live. And don’t forget that if you start to have too much fun on social, hoping a crush will see it, well they may not even think there’s room for them in your life.’


a.k.a. looking much hotter in photos than not in real life (usually via lots of filters and editing apps) and thus deceiving potential dates. A light version of catfishing.

Julie says: ‘In my opinion is filters are here to stay, but the hashtag of ‘no filter’ can be incredibly sexy.  So, when everybody is assuming people are lying about their age and are filtering their photos, go ahead and be bold and quote the photo is not filtered and just use the hashtag as a gentle reminder that you’re not kittenfishing.  Your date will thank you, no one wants to meet someone that doesn’t look anything like their photos.’


a.k.a.  This is walking the fine line between flirting and infidelity, for example by sending suggestive messages on social media, staying in regular contact with an ex-partner, or swiping on Tinder ‘for fun’, when you’re already in a relationship, to see if you’ve still got ‘it’.

Julie says: ‘My take is, people will always flirt.  Flirting will never go out of style, but it’s one thing to look at somebody in the Post Office, quite another to join an active dating app and put up a profile as if you are single.

That can become an explosive situation, even if they say  they’ve no intention of starting another relationship,  they are still creating a back-up plan if in case their relationship doesn’t work out. My feeling is, if you’re doing anything that would upset your partner then don’t do it, because the number one question I get asked as a dating coach is: ‘Help, I found my boyfriend on Tinder, what do I do?’


– a.k.a. Snubbing someone you’re spending time with by paying more attention your phone than them.

Julie says:  ‘This really has become the new ghosting.  If you go on a date, you shouldn’t have your phone out, you should be putting your undivided attention and at the chances are, at the beginning of the relationship, you do that because you want to make a good impression. But once you get a little too comfy in a relationship, what happens is you go out, and out pops the phone and  we don’t know whether they’re looking on the app for another date, we don’t know whether they’re just like checking the sports scores, or if they’re not developing a text relationship with someone else.

‘But what we do know is that the phone has become a participant on the date, so it creates a love triangle – you, your partner and the telephone.  And when the telephone joins you on the date, more often than not, it’s hard not to look over your date’s shoulder to wonder, “who are they texting, what are they doing?”  And it creates suspicion. If you’re on the receiving end of a phubbing say: “Oh I thought I was having a date with you, not you and your phone, it would really make me happy if you could put it away, because I put mine away already and I want to focus my attention on you”.’


– a.k.a. reading someone’s message and not responding to it, despite the fact the sender knows you’ve seen it thanks to read receipts on social media and the blue WhatsApp ticks.

Julie says: ‘People are busy during the day, a lot of people have meetings and they can’t really communicate at work, and they may see it and go, “alright let me get back to them later.”  But their response should be just a short acknowledgement.  If you type nothing, it makes somebody feel like they’re not a priority.  No matter how busy you are, find time to send a quick reply, then when you get a moment reply properly, if you care about the person.’


– a.k.a Hiding a romantic interest from your friends and family and avoiding posting about them on social media.

Julie says: ‘That means you’re just not into the person you’re with or someone else is in the picture. Everybody should be with somebody that they can feel proud to have on their arm.’


– a.k.a a relationship that is built and exists solely through text messages.

Julie says:  I call that the digital pen-pal syndrome and that’s where you get the good morning texts, the goodnight texts, how’s your day texts, smiley faces here and there, but you never develop a romantic relationship with the person.

It’s like you flirt, you can send xoxo and hearts, and you can allude to the fact that that person is really sweet and smart and lovely, and that you’re looking at them in a romantic fashion, but the person that does that is the person that’s sending the hearts and the smiley faces to multiple people.  A relationship that’s only through text messages is a digital pen-pal and nothing more.’


– a.k.a when even avid singletons want to couple up for the winter months but never want to commit to anything past the winter.

Julie says: ‘If your date won’t commit to plans beyond Christmas that’s a red flag. If you’re enjoying cuddling up under the duvet, there’s no harm in it, just don’t set your heart on a summer wedding.’


– a.k.a. the opposite of cuffing – the summer and spring months when people end their relationships to play the field.

Julie season: ‘I think that people re-evaluate their relationships with the beginning of every season. It’s just the cycle of love.’

zombie man on phone, dating app,


– a.k.a. Ghosting someone and then resurfacing to rekindle things (with a vague and bad explanation for disappearing).

Julie says:  When someone disappears and comes back with a bad excuse like: ‘I’m sorry, I lost your number,” or, “Oh, I had so much to do with work, it just wasn’t a good time for me.’ Don’t buy it, they met someone else and it ran its course.


Julie Spiro is an Online Dating Expert and CEO of Cyberdating Expert,, She is an author and media personality on the subjects of online dating, social media, mobile dating, and netiquette. She wrote The Perils of Cyber-Dating: Confessions of a Hopeful Romantic Looking for Love Online. Spira has written about the intersection of love and technology for numerous publications

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