Olivia Harvey
May 01, 2018 11:58 am

We’d like to take a moment to honor our comrades who have been ghosted. Although being ghosted (aka left hung out to dry in a relationship by someone who seemingly vanishes into thin air) stings for some time after you send that last unanswered text, a new dating trend can sting even worse. It’s called “orbiting,” and honestly, we’ll take being ghosted over being orbited any day.

The term was coined by Man Repeller’s Anna Iovine, who experienced orbiting firsthand. She had connected with a guy on all her social media platforms after they went on a first date. After their second date, the guy stopped responding to her texts — yet still watched all of her Instagram Stories, thus keeping Iovine “in his orbit,” as her friend eloquently put it.

Like ghosting, orbiting requires one person in a relationship to go MIA. But this person doesn’t go completely off the grid; instead, they will ghost you and then occasionally (and impersonally) pop back into your life here and there, usually via social media.

Orbiters keep you engaged with them even if they have no intention of furthering your relationship. They want you to know they are still “interested,” but not enough to keep things going. It’s pretty much psychological warfare. Don’t @ us!

There are several hypotheses as to why people orbit, according to Iovine. It could be a rude-ass power move, with the orbiter trying to mess with the other person’s mind. But it’s most likely a selfish (maybe even unconscious) decision made by the orbiter to keep their options open, and they probably have several people in their orbit at once.

Orbiters might not even know they’re doing something wrong, especially if they’re unaware that people can see who watches their Instagram Stories or Snapchat posts. Although, it is 2018 — time to wake up and smell the social media, honey.

Thanks to dating apps and social media, the dating scene has become more complicated than ever. To ensure you’re not messing with someone’s mental state, break things off when you’re not feeling it — and be clear that you’re breaking things off — and then stay away from their social media.

The urge to creep may be strong, but please, don’t become an orbiter. There’s enough space junk in the universe already.

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