Orbiting: the dating trend that’s got everyone confused

So we’ve already had “benching”, “breadcrumbing” and “ghosting“. What more could we have to go through in today’s complicated world of dating?

Well it turns out, there’s yet another dating trend we have to worry about: “orbiting”.

Picture the moon orbiting the Earth. The moon is in sight, but it’s always at a distance, never within reach.

Orbiting in dating is a bit like that. The person doesn’t really initiate any meaningful conversation and we don’t see them in real life. No dates, no texts, no phone calls…

Instead they choose to stalk you on social media. A like here, a like there. They watch all of your Insta stories, or perhaps comment on one of your selfies. But they never reach out to ask you how you’re doing or arrange to meet up.

They silently stalk you, just enough to remind you they exist and just enough to make you believe they’re thinking about you. Yet they don’t reach out. But why do it?

Why do people orbit?

There are so many reasons why a person might be orbiting you.

If they broke up with you, they might be starting to miss you but they’re too afraid to actually reach out, so they watch your life through social media. Their sporadic “likes” are intended to remind you that they’re thinking about you.

That could be possible. Conversely, they might also be watching your stories for confirmation that they did the right thing in dumping you. They might “like” your photos because they feel a bit guilty about breaking it off so they want to seem like a “nice” person by still caring about your life in some way.

But what if you weren’t dumped? What if you guys hooked up or dated a couple of times but were never actually an item?

This situation can be extremely frustrating and have you wondering, “does watching my stories mean they like me?”

Well, yes and no. He/she may like you for sex and want to keep you in their roster because they’re dating multiple people. So what do they do? They stay connected just enough to remind you that they exist. They don’t quite want to cut the chord.

They know that you can see they’ve been watching your stories and they know the odd “like” is enough to show you they might be mildly interested in the future.

But it’s also more likely that the person isn’t even thinking anything at all. They find your content interesting and entertaining, but they’re not interested enough to actually pick up the phone and date you.

Some people just go blindly click through all the stories in their Instagram feed one by one. They’re on autopilot, just checking their phone because they’re bored so they’re living vicariously through you. Perhaps they’re laying in bed or they’re on the subway while they’re doing it.

They might simply like your photo because your photo looks nice. There doesn’t have to be a hidden meaning behind everything.

Always remember: orbiting is NOT real communication and it’s dangerous to make any assumptions about why a person is liking/watching your social posts.

Why orbiting isn’t enough

orbiting trend in dating

I myself know how dangerous orbiting can be. It can be so addictive and thrilling to see the guy you like pop up in your list of watchers. A rush of adrenaline knowing that they still semi-interested in your life.

In fact, at one point, the “top” viewers of my Insta story were all people I’d either dated or was interested in. And I found myself posting things specifically for them.

The problem is when social media and orbiting starts to affect your life.

You start posting things just to try to get that ex back or to show the guy you like that you’re “interesting” and “fun”. It’s even worse when you start tailoring your posts to portray yourself as a specific type of person.

For example, maybe your ex thought you partied too much so all of a sudden you’re posting photos of yourself in nature or baking bread at home. It’s not cool, in fact, it’s kind of sad.

How about we all get off our phones for once and actually start living? How about we stop trying to make people jealous? Social media is not real life, so stop pretending.

At one point I was stuck in the “casual” zone with a guy. He watched my stories every day and he kept liking my pictures. One day he just stopped watching my Instagram stories altogether…I figured he must’ve muted me.

At first, I was annoyed. “Is my content annoying to you?” I thought. “Are you trying to tell me that it’s over? Do you just not care AT ALL?

But as time went on and I realized it was over, I felt kind of relieved and almost glad he did that. It was the best thing he could’ve done. I stopped posting so much on social media. I stopped posting stories just to get that quick adrenaline rush of seeing him in my viewers list.

I started, you know, living.

A few weeks later my phone broke and I didn’t have the chance to go to the Apple store for 48 hours. I stopped caring about my phone. I didn’t reinstall the social media apps. I wanted to feel more present. I wanted to stop incessantly checking my phone, and most importantly, I don’t want to follow the people I date on social media.

If the orbiting is affecting your emotions, consider taking a break from social media. Stop posting just to get attention from a particular guy/girl.

Take advantage of the “mute” feature and mute him/her without unfollowing. Unfriend or block the person if necessary. You’ll feel better for it.

Victoria
vbrewood@gmail.com

Hi, I’m Victoria. I’m not a psychologist or a therapist, instead my relationship advice comes from real life dating experience and lessons learnt by trial and error. All the guys I’ve dated have been very different but I certainly came across my fare share of “Mr Unavailable” types, so if you find yourself in a situation with a guy who won’t commit, hopefully these stories will help.

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