15 Awful Dating Trends All Single Moms Should Be Aware Of

Kayla Boyd | Sep 5, 2017 Love & Sex
15 Awful Dating Trends All Single Moms Should Be Aware Of
Image: iStock.com/PeopleImages


In some ways, thanks to apps and social media, dating can feel much easier than it used to. The time commitment and effort that goes into actually finding someone is significantly less, which is really nice for a mom who is already extremely busy. But, in other ways, those same advantages can make dating even more difficult. 

"Online dating makes it easier to get dates in some aspects due to the nature of having hundreds of possibilities at your fingertips," Kimberly Hershenson, a NYC-based therapist specializing in relationships, told CafeMom. "However, it can take a toll on an individual's self-esteem. Your mood may become affected by how many people contact you. You may find yourself accepting dates from people you otherwise wouldn't be interested in or are tolerating behaviors that would normally be unacceptable to you simply because anyone is showing interest in you."

But what is really discouraging are the tons of dating "trends" that have emerged, and it seems like an overwhelming amount of them are negative. "Online dating makes it easier to be non-committal. People get lonely so they crave connection," Hershenson said.

It's important to be aware of alarming behaviors while on the dating scene, especially as a mom who already has enough on her plate. Here are 15 dating trends all single moms should know about while looking for their next relationship. 

  • Love Bombing

    Love Bombing

    Love bombing is a manipulative tactic where people try to control other individuals with "bombs" of attention, gifts, and affection that make you fall for them -- but it doesn't last. As soon as you show that you care about something other than them, they get furious. It's basically the setup for a mentally abusive partnership. This is especially scary for single moms because you don't want to fall for people quickly and end up introducing them to your kids, only for them to turn out to be potentially dangerous.

    Love and dating coach Josie May told CafeMom:

    "Warning signs that you are heading towards being love bombed are someone quickly trying to be committed when they hardly know you, your date being overly intense really soon or talking about your future together after only a date or two.  

    "To protect yourself from love bombing, ensure that you take things slow ... don't get carried away with someone whisking you off your feet.  Real love and trust build over time, so don't be tempted to get caught up in the rush of someone's words."  

    More from CafeMom: 10 Ways to Know Very Quickly If Your Man is a Psychopath

  • Stealthing


    Be aware that this "trend" is actually a form of rape. Stealthing is when a man takes off his condom during sex without your consent.

    Therapist Kimberly Hershenson informed CafeMom:

    "This is a sexual violation leading the victim more prone to pregnancy and STIs. Understand that agreeing to have sex with someone with a condom is NOT the same as agreeing to have sex without a condom. Do not let anyone tell you differently. It is important to see a doctor immediately if you believe you are a victim of stealthing. Consider seeing a therapist to deal with the emotional aspects and stay connected to friends for support. Going forward, there is nothing wrong with checking to make sure a partner has his condom on prior to penetration. If he objects, this is a major red flag."

  • Cushioning

    guy in bed on phone while partner sleeps

    Cushioning is a dating technique where your significant other has several "cushions" while he/she is in a relationship with you. These "cushions" are other people they'll chat and flirt with just in case of a potential breakup. It's basically mental cheating and it is not fair to you or your children. 

    According to May:

    "Cushioning, of course, is counter-productive as is a form of infidelity and actually increases the chances of your relationship breaking down. Cushioning is cruel to both parties, the partner and the person being strung along on the sidelines.

    "Trust your instincts, and if you feel that something isn't right in a relationship, you're usually spot-on! If the person you are seeing was with someone else when you met, then this is a sign that they are a serial cheater ... do yourself a favor and don't get into flirting with someone already taken."

  • Haunting


    Haunting is when someone is lurking in your social media after you've stopped seeing or talking to that person, according to Cosmopolitan. But it isn't just stalking an ex's Instagram. It's "low-level social media interaction," which gives you random notifications on your phone and forces you to think about that person without his or her actually seeing you or speaking to you. This can make it difficult for you to move on with your love life. 

    Online dating consultant Stacy Karyn explained to CafeMom:

    "Haunting can be extremely disorienting, especially if it's being done by a person you are trying to forget. However, the best way to deal with this is to actually ignore the haunts. If you end up giving this person digital attention in return, it will most likely just fuel the fire."

    More from CafeMom

  • Ghosting


    This one is so common that it's actually listed in the dictionary. The definition states, "the practice of ending a personal relationship with someone by suddenly and without explanation withdrawing from all communication." It's rude and hurtful and if this person has met your kids and unexpectedly disappears, it can be difficult to explain and hard for your child to process. 

    Laura L. Ryan, a licensed marriage and family therapist, told CafeMom:

    "To determine if you are being ghosted, write one or two texts and leave a voice mail a couple of days later if you get no response to your texts. People are busy and life is complicated, so give him the benefit of the doubt, but if you don't hear back after a few days, you have probably been ghosted."

  • Cuffing Season

    Cuffing Season

    Cuffing season is pretty much dating language for winter. The cold weather and staying indoors all the time makes people lonely and more desperate, so they are quicker to rush into a relationship during this time. This can be especially problematic if you are seeking more than just a short-term fling. 

    Licensed therapist Dana Czachorowski advised CafeMom:

    "If you're not sure what your new man's long-term intentions are, feel free to ask. If you're not feeling that confined, suggest something you can do together when the weather warms up and gauge his reaction."

  • Drafting Season

    Drafting Season

    Right before "cuffing season" in late summer/early fall, this is when someone will date a ton of people at once in an attempt to narrow down who they want to "cuff." It's basically someone being a player, but in a confined time frame. Serial daters aren't going to be worth your time if you're not doing the same thing.

  • Uncuffing


    Uncuffing is when summer approaches and your "cuffing season" relationship comes to an end because your partner decides to be single again. This is another one that can feel unexpected and may be difficult for you to process, as well as for your kids if they were introduced to this partner. 

    "Someone who's really interested in a relationship is happy to date, spring, summer, fall or winter," said May.

    More from CafeMom

  • Benching


    Benching is being put on the back burner. It's when people contact you just enough to keep you interested without actually putting in any real effort. They want to keep their options open and it messes with your emotions. As a single mom, you don't want to waste a lot of energy on those who may not care about you as much as you do them. 

    According to May, some signs to look out for include: 

    -They don't contact you for over a week, then out of the blue, they message to say they miss you.

    -You can't pin them down for a date.

    -You go on a date but then don't hear from them for a couple of weeks.

    "The best way to deal with a bencher is to cut off all communication ... let them know that you're moving on and then block them from your phone and email (because they're likely to try and be in touch again)," she said.

  • Breadcrumbing

    sad woman looking outside window

    This is when someone flirts with you and sends you signals of interest but is not committed to you (hence "breadcrumbs"). The goal is usually to lure you in as a sexual partner without putting in a lot of energy.

    According to Kimberly Hershenson:

    "If you are looking for a committed healthy relationship, breadcrumbers are a waste of time, as this is a form of emotional manipulation. Move on to someone worth your time who follows through with dates, texts, or calls frequently to check in and gives you the attention you deserve."

  • Slow Fading

    sad girlfriend and boyfriend

    This is when your partner is lacking in readiness or willingness to build a relationship together and instead of talking to you about it, the person passive-aggressively disappears over an extended period of time. 

    "If someone starts to slow fade out of your life, I recommend that you also hold back. This will either wake them up to what they're doing and mean they'll make more effort … or it will mean they'll disappear quickly which indicates that they really weren't the right person for you anyway. It may be hard to take, but see it as a blessing in disguise as it didn't drag on for months and months," Josie May said. 

    More from CafeMom5 Ways to Deal When Your Man Does the 'Slow Fade'

  • Catch and Release

    guy walking away from crying girl

    This horrendous dating method is when people chase you or put in a lot of effort to get you and then as soon as you have feelings for them, they will get bored and end it. Similar to the effects of ghosting, you and your family just don't have the time to tolerate this kind of selfishness. 

    "To avoid this, hold out on getting intimate with someone too quickly. Someone who is prone to catch and release will struggle holding out for an extended period and is likely to get bored in the process ... this helps to eliminate those people who are just in it for themselves," said May.

  • Stashing

    fighting couple looking away from each other

    You know you're a victim of "stashing" when you've been dating someone for a while and though that person has probably met your friends and family, you haven't met ANY of that person's. Also, the "stasher" suspiciously never posts anything about you on social media. There is basically nothing on that person's end to suggest that you two are exclusive. 

    According to Ryan: 

    "If you suspect that you are being stashed, post pictures of the two of you on social media and tag him. If the person allows the picture on their timeline, say something in the comments that relates to you having a romantic partnership together and see if the comment gets posted. Also, pick a date idea for meeting up with his friends and see how he responds. If there are lots of excuses and denials, you should probably end the relationship because this person doesn't want a long-term relationship with you."

  • Zombie-ing

    ex on bulls eye

    "To be zombied is to have someone you care about disappear from your life altogether only to have them bring a relationship back from the dead with an out-of-the-blue text or interaction on social media," as stated in the Huffington Post.

    Accoridng to Czachorowski:

    "Zombies are more overt than haunters but lack the self-awareness to understand that their presence may not be welcome. Whether or not you chose to engage with the zombie is totally up to you without any judgment from me as I wholeheartedly support you. If you have hurt feelings or your body fills with rage at the sight of their name on your phone, it's probably best to cease communication."

    More from CafeMom: 

  • Gaslighting


    According to Psychology Today, gaslighting is a tactic in which people try to gain more power by making victims question their reality. It is a common technique of abusers and narcissists and it is done slowly, so the victims don't realize how much they've been brainwashed. The publication states that some of the signs you should be aware of include:

    -They tell blatant lies.
    -They deny they said something even if you have proof.
    -They use positive reinforcement to confuse you.
    -They tell you or others that you are crazy.

    Read about the rest of the signs here.

    "If he calls you crazy, if you begin to doubt yourself, become insecure, apologize for no reason, or wonder if your emotions are out of control, remove yourself from this relationship immediately. If you don’t have a partner who builds you up, tells you you're beautiful, and believes you can do anything, you need a new partner," Czachorowski warned.

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