Are you one of many older adults who wants to get back into dating, but finds online dating to be a little overwhelming? Does all the “date slang” seem like a mess of gibberish to you that makes little to no sense at all, and is hardly used in your everyday life?
Well, you’re right, it mostly is! Younger people tend to want a way to name every aspect and moment of a relationship’s life, down to pauses between messages. However, there are also some terms that you really should learn.
Seniors are in that age group when they might be wondering whether online dating even works for them, and the best way they can get into it. A lot of the new terminology that pops up pretty frequently can also throw people off.
Fortunately, we’re here to help. For older singles who are thinking about their first date through senior dating, these terms can help make you feel more comfortable as you date and chat. They can also inform you of some of the scams and risks that are out there.
Here is our list of terms to help familiarize you with the ever-evolving language of online dating! We also included helpful audio files so you can learn how to pronounce each one! Find out how to flirt as a senior with these terms in no time!
Learn about, recognize, and protect yourself from some of the most impactful forms of abuse in a relationship by checking out our dangerous dating trends article!
Table of Contents
The good thing about many dating terms is that their meaning isn’t too nebulous. It’s usually teens and bored millennials coining the terms or applying existing words to the world of dating. So, when you see “orbiting”, think about the way the moon revolves around the earth.
Now apply that same idea to how a person might approach someone they like online. Essentially, this is when one person who is a potential love interest follows another person or even their family members on social media and then interact with your posts, but not you.
It’s basically a way for someone to stalk someone else in a relatively harmless way, without ever making that leap to breaking the ice for a date. Of course, if they are stalking you that’s a different matter.
For daters and older adults who are feeling the chill from a cold winter, getting someone to warm yourself up with is the perfect solution. “Cuffing season” is that time of year when you find a partner to cozy up to and snuggle up with.
Does this mean that you can’t find someone to snuggle up with in summer, when it’s warm out? Do people find it best to be single then? And what about the people who want to date off season?
Cuffing Season is one of those dating terms that just raises more questions than it answers.
Catfishing & Kittenfishing
The dark side of dating websites is undeniably the prevalence of people who want to scam you out of your personal information or money. Among the kinds of dating terms to be familiar with as a senior, “Catfishing” is definitely an important dating slang to know.
The term became popular after a 2010 documentary titled “Catfish”. The documentary covered what happens when someone creates a fake dating profile on an online dating website in order to steal information from seniors, widowers, and other vulnerable people.
It’s a serious crime and can have terrible consequences. Best to be careful of people that want to date who seem too good to be true or are asking for any sort of financial or personal information from you.
And then we get to “Kittenfishing”.
If the above term deals with something serious, then naturally Kittenfishing must be both related and somehow lighter in tone. This is sort of true.
Kittenfishing is not creating an entirely fake persona for sites, but rather embellishing certain aspects of your life and profile to seem more appealing to singles who search for an ideal partner. It involves emphasizing one’s strengths and playing down their weaknesses.
An example is when someone uses an out-of-date photo to hide their age, or maybe fudges the numbers on how much they weigh or how tall they are. It can even include saying you like hobbies that aren’t really that interesting to you.
Comparing the two terms, Kittenfishing is mundane, and most people would call it “showing your best side”.
This is another term that may seem odd if you are unfamiliar with it but has serious implications. If you want our best piece of dating advice to keep close, it’s that you should avoid anyone who has a history or reputation of “gaslighting”.
Gaslighting is emotional abuse that often comes up in abusive relationships. This is when one partner manipulates the other person by incessantly suggesting they question their decisions, thoughts, actions, memories of events, and even the events that are occurring around them.
In this day and age, there’s no place for it.
For your own well-being, recognize this kind of abuse as quickly as you can and make an effort to distance yourself from anyone who attempts to gaslight you.
In the dating world of online dating websites, “Ghosting is perhaps one of the most recognizable terms out there. Imagine communicating with someone and hitting it off, only to have them break off all contact and move on.
That’s ghosting. You “ghost” someone by ignoring their texts, messages and calls rather than telling them directly that you aren’t interested.
In the grand scheme of things, ghosting isn’t the worst thing that can happen to you. It can hurt, sure, but it isn’t like they were dating you actively for years of your life and suddenly vanished. They lost interest or found someone else. It happens to the best people of any age.
It isn’t a new thing in life, really. It happened to people before online dating and happens still. Time to move on to the next match and meet people on other sites.
People who use dating apps may also follow someone’s social media profile on something like Facebook or Instagram, especially when they like that person. “Benching” is taking this same idea and applying it to dating.
If you are familiar with Baseball, where a player can be benched in reserve in case one of the primary players gets injured and can’t play anymore, then you already have a pretty good idea what benching is.
This is when someone keeps a person in reserve for a relationship by liking their posts and pictures on other sites and keeping them around in case their current date is a flop. Think of it as a “side-piece” that could be a relationship partner if no other options work out.
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Older singles might remember the Hansel and Gretel story where the kids leave breadcrumbs to help them find their way home. With online relationships, “Breadcrumbing” is when you both want a serious relationship but one of you only leaves hints that this is desired.
The thing here is that the two never really meet up or take things to the next level, at least not quickly. Even if you do meet over sites, it can take an age to meet in person.
Another way of looking at this is that someone in the relationship is taking their time and doesn’t want to rush into things.
Have you ever tried finding love with a new partner by sending them a gift, like flowers or chocolate? If so, then you can guess where this is going. “Love bombing” is taking that same idea and going to an extreme with it.
This is when one person tries to encourage a relationship with somebody else by repeatedly performing demonstrations of affection in order to manipulate you. Think compliments, public displays of affection (including singing), and gifts.
It can not only be a little embarrassing but end in trauma and emotional dependency, especially if the love bomber suddenly drops you after they had enough of you. As a rule of thumb, be wary of someone going over the top when trying to win you over, and avoid people who can’t get a hint.
This one speaks to itself, although whether it qualifies will always depend on the person. Cheating is a clear idea for most people, so “Micro-Cheating” is essentially anything that skirts the idea of cheating on your partner.
As a rule of thumb, you can think of micro-cheating as anything that is a little more emotionally involved than something which doesn’t mean anything to either you or your partner.
For example, giving your phone number to someone that you meet but may want to get to know better could be construed as a form of micro-cheating, depending on the context. Really, micro-cheating is only a problem when they stack up in quantity with the same person.
Maybe you or a family member saw the Netflix movie “The Holidate”. If so, you know what this is. For the uninitiated, “Holidating” is the portmanteau of “date” and “holiday”. Because the holidays can be an emotional time of year and no one wants to spend it alone, you “holidate”.
This when you are only dating during the holidays to avoid feeling lonely or like a third-wheel at family gatherings. Once the holidays are done, so is the relationship.
Netflix and Chill
Whether you are looking to enjoy a relaxing moment in the middle of intimate relationships, or you just want to get close to a loved one, then you can enjoy “Netflix and Chill”. This is internet slang for having sex, and believe it or not, Netflix viewing is optional.
It does help though.
Usage of the term has changed over time on many sites, and can include sexual activity with a romantic partner, something more casual, or even as a part of a group invitation.
Have you heard your grandchildren refer to a “Bae” or say “my Bae”? They aren’t talking about a body of water. “Bae” is actually an acronym that stands for “before anyone else“. It can also be a short form of “baby” or “babe”, which as you know is another word for a significant other.
We hope this is unrelated, but “Bae” also means “poop” in Danish. Probably a coincidence.
Here we have another portmanteau of “text” and “relationship” to make the very clever and original “Textlationship”. As you can guess, this is a relationship that only exists through texts. That means messages, chat logs, letters, that sort of thing.
Any dating service with a basic messaging feature can make this work, but so can a couple of kids in high school passing notes to each other.
When someone is in a textlationship, there is usually an implication that either one of the two isn’t really interested in making the relationship work. Think of it as flirting but without any real intention of seeing things through.
Scroogeing & Marleying
“Scrooging” is actually a term that was coined first by dating provider eHarmony. Older people and younger alike can remember Scrooge from “The Christmas Carol”, a man who was stingy with his money.
In the world of dating, scroogeing is when you dump somebody right before the holidays so you can get out of buying them a gift. Kind of a harsh way to save a buck, but who are we to judge?
“Marleying”, which was tied to scroogeing by virtue of Bob Marley’s character, really has nothing to do with “The Christmas Carol”. This is just when you get in touch with an old flame or ex-boyfriend or girlfriend during the Christmas season, kind of like a “holidate”.
If this is your first time really looking into the world of dating online for singles, you may notice that there are a lot of photos which are meant to catch a user’s attention. For example, on Tinder you may see a sexy photograph of someone. These can be real, but not always.
Regardless, a “Thirst Trap” is when someone posts something on any social media or dating service that is meant to catch your attention. A picture, a flirty message, something like that. The goes of a thirst trap is to get others to confess how attracted they are to the person.
Think of it as a narcissist doing something provocative to get attention on any number of sites.
In other words, the person doesn’t even want to respond to someone else’s confession of love. Really, they just want to feed their own ego, sometimes even using fake images. There’s an overlap to catfishing here.
People who fall for a thirst trap can waste their time, lose a bit of reputation for acting in an embarrassing way, and even get sexually frustrated by said person setting a thirst trap.
Best to just ignore it.
Not for you?
Are you finding a lot of the modern dating lingo to be a bit overwhelming? Maybe you want to consider using a senior dating website that is more in line older singles. A dating site like Ourtime is perfect for you then.
Ourtime’s users are mostly older, so there won’t be a lot of trendy dating terms there.
Another really good alternative would be something like eHarmony. eHarmony is not strictly for senior dating, but the users are more interested in serious dating, and users do tend to be a little older. This means fewer strange trendy terms to put up with.