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Have you ever dated someone for a few months, but wondered why you hadn't met any of his or her friends? Take a deep breath, dear reader ... We have something to tell you.
You might be a victim of the latest dating trend to earn a catchy name: stashing, a term for when someone you're dating refuses to introduce you to anyone he or she is close to, sort of like stashing you in a drawer.
While the term might be new, the practice certainly isn't. Relationship expert Rachel DeAlto told TODAY that it's common when at least one person in the relationship isn't interested in something serious.
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"It's typical for people in casual relationships to kind of stash each other away because why integrate something that's not going to be permanent or semi-permanent?" DeAlto asked.
"It's actually happening to one of my clients right now," she added. "She has been dating someone for five months and has literally met no one — no family, no friends."
How do you know if you're being stashed? Not meeting friends and family is one sign, along with a refusal to take photos or connect on social media. If you're looking for something serious, consider those warning signs.
"One of the things that shows the progression in a relationship is meeting people who are significant to you or your partner," DeAlto said. "So if that's not happening, there's probably a reason for that."
If you're starting to think there are more dating trends than you can keep track of, you're not alone. From breadcrumbing to zombie-ing, even we're confused at this point, so here's a glossary to help you keep things straight.
Stringing a potential partner along without committing, often by sending occasional check-in text messages, but never asking for an actual date.
Being direct and saying what you want in a relationship. The opposite of following dating "rules" or playing games. Yes, this one is actually good.
Having a plan B in case your current relationship doesn't work out. Cushioning can be outright cheating on an exclusive partner, or it can be sending flirty texts to multiple people so that if one falls through, you have someone else to turn to for romance.
Disappearing without warning after a series of dates or romantic correspondences.
Presenting yourself in an overly positive light on the internet, by lying about your height or posting a photo from when you were a few years younger, for example. Not as extreme as catfishing, in which someone assumes a completely fake identity online.
Jumping back into a relationship or a fling after ghosting. So, basically ... zombie-ing. (See below.)
Hitting someone up after a long period of silence. (Or, you know, returning from the dead.) A form of breadcrumbing.
Now that you know all of the lingo, if you spot any zombies or ghosts — run in the other direction ... And just maybe someone's breeze will capture your attention!