‘Orbiting’ Is The Troubling Dating Trend That Basically Takes ‘Ghosting’ To A New, Annoying Extreme

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First there was ghosting and now it seems we have “orbiting.” Orbiting is a term penned by Anna Iovine in a piece she wrote for Man Repeller. In the essay, Iovine explains orbiting as dating someone for a short while and then never hearing from them again but, instead of ghosting, the person continues to follow you on social media, liking posts and interacting.

They orbit around you without ever getting close.

Iovine described a situation she found herself in that prompted her to write the piece. She had a few dates with a guy and then he stopped returning her text messages. Assuming that was the end of things, Iovine moved on, but she noticed that he continued to follow all of her stories on Instagram. Often he was the first one.

Iovine wrote about the experience:

The more I described Tyler’s behavior to friends, the more I realized how prevalent this kind of thing was. I dubbed it “orbiting” during a conversation with my colleague Kara, when she poetically described this phenomenon as a former suitor “keeping you in their orbit” — close enough to see each other; far enough to never talk. 

Though orbiting may feel like ghosting, Iovine described the difference to HuffPost:

Pre-internet, if someone ghosted but was curious about the ghostee, there wasn’t a way to check up on them. Or I guess, I don’t know, they could look them up in the phone book or something?  Point is, it was hard, if not impossible, to see what someone was up to even if we hadn’t seen them in years. Now we can do it in less than a second. 

Psychologist Ryan Howes believes that ghosting is final, but orbiting may be a sign the person is second guessing if they made the right decision to end the relationship.

Howes said:

My belief is that orbiting is about questioning whether or not you made the right decision to break things off when you did,” Howes said. “Was it a good choice or will you regret it? The orbit keeps them in touch in case they find an exceptional reason to get back together. But it mostly serves as confirmation that they made the right decision or as a reason to beat themselves up if they didn’t.

Either way, ghosting or orbiting are both pretty crummy and the decent thing to do is use your words and end relationships like a grown up.

People could definitely relate. 

H/T: Huffington PostMan Repeller


Written by Jonna Ivin

Jonna Ivin is the founder of STIR Journal and writer of the essay, I Know Why Poor Whites Chant, Trump, Trump, Trump. She has appeared on NPR, OPB, The Roland Martin Show and KCRW. Jonna is the author of the books Will Love For Crumbs, 8th Amendment, and, Sister Girl. Her writing has been featured in Good Magazine, STIR Journal, The Establishment, and xoJane. Twitter @jonnaivin