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Dating Terms 2020 of Millenials and Gen Z’s (and interested parents of these generations)

I've traveled my whole life. Macau is the Las Vegas of Asia, but I chose to write about a temple that tells of Macau's beginnings instead.


Millennial Verbiage

There was a time when I thought the creation of new dating terms would end with “monthsary” and MU (Mutual Understanding). I was very wrong, and I suspect those words may be outdated by now.

One thing I’ve learned from putting this list of words together is that dating, mating, love, and marriage hasn’t changed much, but the terms used by millennials and gen Z’s are more nuanced in describing dating experiences.

While compiling this list, I realized that more than a collection of words, this is a story about millennial and gen Z dating; and discovering that there are still commonalities (with baby boomers) to dating, then and now.


Bench and bread

Benching. You like this guy, and he seems to like you, too. The trouble is, he visits you every 10 days and calls you once a week. He’s also very open to you about other girls that he talks to and is friendly to. The trouble is he seems to keep you within distance, but not grabbing distance. Maybe he is benching you. He might like you, but he also likes another girl. So, he’s keeping you in line just in case things don’t work out well with the other girl. Another term for benching is “next on deck”.

Breadcrumbing. This is the hurtful version of benching. You are the guy on the side, while the girl is secretly seeing other guys too, and she is interested in one of them. She sends you noncommittal text messages and regularly flirts with you. Then suddenly she’s gone for weeks. You want to move on, but when you’re ready to, she’s back, sending you another crumb. This can go on for years. It’s convenient for the breadcrumber, but you are getting stressed out. If you feel desperate, let go, because she doesn’t plan to commit.


Caking. This is like flirting, but it’s sweeter and better because there’s no game behind it. Instead, there is a clear show of interest. The guy may be especially sweet to you, ergo, caking. If you like the person who is caking you, you will share lots of easy laughs together, and many wonderful dates.

Cause Playing. You are still emotionally bruised over the girl who suddenly disappeared from your life, and cut you out of her phone and social media. Then suddenly she gets in touch with you again. Excitedly, you meet her for coffee, only to discover that she wants a favor. It could be a donation to a cause that she supports, or she needs you to do something for her.

Cloaking. This is mean and hurtful. Your potential love interest has completely disappeared, cutting you off from any communication whatsoever. Additionally, he blocked you from all of his social media. You are totally blindsided. You never saw it coming.


Cookie-Jarring. This is the opposite of benching. You are seeing someone regularly, but she hasn’t identified your relationship. The reason is that she’s also secretly seeing someone else. You are being 'cookie-jarred' in case the relationship with the other guy doesn’t work out.

Curving. This is a nice way to avoid a kiss. The guy moves in to kiss you, and you give him your cheek. This keeps the friendship on the table. Plus, options are still open further down the path. She’s keeping you on hand for a possible romance.

Cushioning. You meet someone you really like, but he is in a relationship. Still, he flirts with you and sends you text messages, but he never says he plans to leave his partner. He’s keeping you cushioned as an option for possible romantic pursuit further down the road.


Daterview. This is a date that is loaded with a lot of heavy questions like “How long have you been single?” “How many children do you want?” and “Would you ever consider living in a home in the woods?” Meanwhile there is very little flirting.

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Dial-toning. You meet someone who has given you her mobile number. But whenever you call, she doesn’t pick up. And whenever you text, she doesn’t text back. All you get is the dial tone.

Eclipsing. You pretend to share his interests and passions. But pretending will work against you, because the truth will always come out. It’s better to just be yourself. After all, you want to be liked for the real you, not the fake you.


Firedooring. He has all the power in this relationship. If you text him, he won’t text back -- even if you always answer his texts. Also, you can’t pin him down for a specific date. But you think he likes you because he calls you when he needs you. True, when he calls he expects to see you right there and then, and even if you have to drop all your plans to see him, you’re willing to do it. It’s time to get real -- he’s using you.

Ghosting. Someone you used to be close to suddenly cuts you off with no warning that she is checking out from your life. She doesn’t take your calls, doesn’t answer your text messages, and is invisible to you in social media. You don’t know why she ghosted you. What makes it hurt so much is her sudden disappearance and the lack of closure.

Glamboozled. You have layered on the glam for your date, down to the last mascara-ed eyelash. Then he sends you a text canceling the date -- 15 minutes before he is expected to arrive. Canceling at the last minute is just plain rude. But when it’s a date with someone whom you thought was special, it hurts a lot, too.


Incel. This category usually applies to a man. He feels a lot of resentment because he is “involuntarily celibate". They think it’s all about looks, and not about personality. Sometimes extreme incels join online incel groups that dwell on ways to get women for sex. They also talk about racist genocide and the genocide of “Chads” (defined in Urban Dictionary as men who have sex). They deal with a lot of inner fury. Incels think they are owed sex, but women probably just are not attracted to their personalities.

Kittenfishing. Catfishing, the more familiar term, means pretending to be someone you’re not to a guy or girl that you met online. The difference between the catfisher and the kittenfisher is that in the latter case, the person stretches the truth. Their picture is heavily photoshopped, and their profile may exaggerate their achievements. For example, they may claim to be a doctor, but they’re a nurse.

Love Bombing. This is a person who blitzkriegs you with love from the time you first met. You start with great chemistry together, and the person rains you with compliments, romantic dates, and loving text messages every hour. And then there are many gifts, ice cream cakes, and chocolates. How could you not fall in love with a love bomber when the bomber makes your life so easy? But once you are lassoed in, the bomber becomes disinterested in you. At this point, you may feel ghosted, but there’s a difference largely in the intensity of the feeling. Maybe the bomber felt emotionally overwhelmed, which explains why you were let go. The bottom line is once you were had, the bomber decided it was game over.


Micro-cheating. Micro-cheating starts with “harmless” things like texting someone the cheater is attracted to or flirting with someone at work. The micro-cheater will hold a door open for a woman, or kiss her hand. These acts appear to be innocent, but why does the micro cheater feel the need for secrecy? This is where micro-cheating may crossover to full out cheating. The act itself may seem harmless, but further down the road what is he planning? If he feels the need to keep things secret with his wife, it may be because he’s thinking of having an affair with the person he’s micro-cheating with.

Orbiting. Once you were ghosted, and now, your ghost is back-- but not for a relationship, just to check your social media and click “like” to something you posted. The problem with orbiters is that you probably aren’t over this person yet. So you wonder why the orbiter is back, but not close enough. The orbiter still won’t take your calls or answer your messages. Whether done consciously or not, the orbiter is playing with your head and stressing you out.

Pocketing. You have been dating steadily, but after two months of dating, you still haven’t met the pocketer’s friends or family. Usually, this is because the pocketer still isn’t sure about you, so for the time being you are being pocketed.

Polyamory. This is a complicated relationship. In a polyamorous relationship, the two of you are the primary couple. However, dating others is allowed. Each polyamory couple determines its own rules. Some examples of rules in this arrangement are:

  1. The woman in the couple wants to date another man. First, however, the other man must pass the scrutiny of her polyamorous partner and he has a choice to either give his permission for the date or not.
  2. Full disclosure. If the guy wants to date and his partner gives her approval for him to date, the woman involved must know that the man and his partner are polyamorous, meaning that she will always be secondary to the first woman.
  3. Love. If one member of the couple falls in love with a third party, it’s okay as long as the primary couple retains their stature above the second loving relationship.
  4. Polyamorists don’t consider it cheating to have love and sex with someone else other than the primary couple, because all the partners know each other. There are no secrets.
  5. Location. No one from the primary couple can date anyone who lives less than one mile away from the home you share.

Roaching. "Roaching" happens when you’ve been dating someone regularly for a few months, but behind your back, he has been dating a lot of other people too. If you catch him cheating, he might say, “I thought you knew that we aren’t monogamous.” If you catch one cockroach, it means many more are hidden in your house. The same applies to the roach who was caught cheating on you.


Situationship. This is a relationship that falls in between friendship and love. In a situationship there are no labels and no long term plans. For example, in relationships, you have plans for the future, even years ahead. Also, you take it for granted that you will see each other every day or every other day, and that you’ll spend holidays with your partner’s family. In a situationship decisions are made in the short term or at the last minute. You might see each other every day for a week, but that doesn’t guarantee that you’ll see each other within the next three weeks.

Slow Fade. This is a gradual ghosting. The partner is let down easily because she sees it coming, and is hardly surprised when you tell her it’s over. You also had a heart to heart talk in order to give her a sense of closure.


Stashing. You're dating someone who you think is nice, but you wonder why you aren’t featured in her social media, and why, when you post pictures with her name, she detags herself. She probably still wants to explore other possibilities, so she "stashes" you in a closet.

Submarining. This is when someone breaks up with you or ghosts you, and then after a lengthy period of time (for example 8 months), the person just pops back into your life and acts as though nothing has happened.

Zombie-ing. Have you ever been ghosted twice by the same person? Consider yourself 'zombied.' This can especially hurtful when the ghost shows up and you hadn’t gotten over them yet. You think things are back to normal, and then history repeats itself.


Mona Sabalones Gonzalez (author) from Philippines on July 18, 2020:

Hi Alexander James Guckenberger, thank you for taking the time to visit my article, and for leaving a comment behind. You know, if I had my life to do over again, I'd either be a psychiatrist or a linguist. Terms describe a generation, and millennials and GenZ create terms based on their experience. Imagine describing a set of generations based on its unique terminology? Yes, for me that would be very interesting.

Alexander James Guckenberger from Maryland, United States of America on July 10, 2020:

These are interesting terms.

Mona Sabalones Gonzalez (author) from Philippines on June 23, 2020:

Yes, I really think it reflects change. When my daughter was young, she always said monthsary because couples celebrate every month instead of every year. Then recently my relative said her ex boyfriend was breadcrumbing her. It really helps to understand what young people are talking about.

Mona Sabalones Gonzalez (author) from Philippines on June 23, 2020:

Thank you for your kind words, Dora. True, these terms tell us something about what millennials are experiencing and how they feel about it.

Mona Sabalones Gonzalez (author) from Philippines on June 23, 2020:

How wonderful to hear from you, Flourish Anyway! Yah, I also learned a lot of these terms by writing the article. I guess these terms reflect their experience, that's why millennials have so many terms of their own. Plus, they are the generation of the internet, so that also plays a big role in their terminology.

Devika Primic on June 23, 2020:

Mona Sabalones Gonzalez this is interesting information and makes me see how everything has changed in the western world.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on June 22, 2020:

Thanks for the vocabulary lesson. They may come in handy for conversations with my grandchildren. Thanks for the research and explanation of terms. Unique and interesting!

FlourishAnyway from USA on June 22, 2020:

These were entertaining to read about. I have a Gen Z daughter who keeps me informed but I hadn't heard many of these.

Mona Sabalones Gonzalez (author) from Philippines on June 22, 2020:

Good to hear from you, Mr. Singh. Thank you for liking this article. I decided to write it to see if baby boomer love has changed in this age of millennials, and I started out by researching their slang in the Urban Dictionary.

Mona Sabalones Gonzalez (author) from Philippines on June 22, 2020:

I hear you, Eric. Yah, could they actually be beating around the same bush? If you love words, allow me to refer you to a millennial dictionary that has helped me understand words that sometimes seem to be used out of context. Try the Urban Dictionary. It has helped me a lot, especially when talking to young people:).

Mona Sabalones Gonzalez (author) from Philippines on June 22, 2020:

Bill, you won't believe this, but I didn't know most of these words existed either when I wrote this article. In fact, whenever there's a word that seems to be used in a way that's different from how I understand it, I find myself going to Urban Dictionary. It's like a go-to millennial dictionary, hahaha.

MG Singh emge from Singapore on June 21, 2020:

This is a very interesting article and thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on June 21, 2020:

Interesting as could be. I like words. I imagine these are kind of blunt. Or are they beating around the same bush.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on June 21, 2020:

I now feel suddenly very old. lol I've never heard of any of these. Life appears to be passing me by very quickly, my friend.

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