Orbiting. Another Dating Problem Created By Social Media.

Orbiting. Another Dating Problem Created By Social Media.
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I’m REALLY glad to be a middle-aged married guy.

I stopped dating in January 2007 when I met my wife at a potluck dinner in Beverly Hills.

The first iPhone would be released later that year.

Texting was around but it wasn’t ubiquitous. Same with Facebook.

Instagram came around in 2010. Tinder didn’t launch until 2012.

And here we are, as lonely and disconnected as ever. Social media sites that were designed to connect us now cause an equal amount of pain and confusion.

And here we are, as lonely and disconnected as ever. Social media sites that were designed to connect us now cause an equal amount of pain and confusion.

The latest term of art from this digital dystopia? Keep reading:

“Prying eyes on Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter can be exciting when they come from a prospective romantic partner, confusing when unrequited and infuriating when the looker is an ex. In the last case, it’s as though the specter of a Relationship That Could Have Been is peeping over your shoulder, keeping tabs without having to commit to any real-world interactions.

Naturally, there is a name for this 21st-century phenomenon, which has joined ghosting, Netflix and chill, breadcrumbing and other recent entries to the dating lexicon. It’s called orbiting.”

I’d probably call it cyberstalking, but whatever you call it, it’s a thing that afflicts modern daters who are tethered to their social media.

“The way it feels to be orbited depends on your relationship to the orbiter. When you’re interested in the satellite entity watching your social media activity, orbiting brings an endorphin rush, the feeling of being circled by someone you want to get closer to.

But when it’s bad, it’s bad. There’s the frustration of wondering why an ex would rather watch your life than be part of it. There’s the disappointment when someone who has been orbiting for some time never  does  get any closer. And there’s acceptance of the hard truth of all digital romance: Eventually, the relationship must be taken offline, or brought to an end.”

I’m an advocate for online dating but when relationships PRIMARILY take place in a virtual world, you’ve got a real problem. Liking photos on Instagram is not dating. Texting is not dating. Talking and seeing each other in person is dating. You should accept no substitute – no matter what everyone tells you about how things are different now.

Concludes the article:

“Regardless, it’s a fact that dating is confusing, and orbiting can make that worse. Small online behaviors are infinitely interpretable, making it impossible to understand where you and another person stand. The lurking of a potential connection makes you wonder whether they’ll ever materialize in person. And the orbiting ex only serves to keep you mired in a shadow version of the relationship, wondering, each time he or she views one of your Stories, what happened or what could have been.”

Your thoughts, below, are greatly appreciated.

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Comments:

  1. 21
    Lynx

    Marika:

    I’m really getting over the endless whinging on here…both sexes do it…but Evan is giving out lots of useful info about mindset, tools, what is and isn’t reasonable…

    I’m job searching and there are many parallels to dating — I wish there was an EMK-type blog for job hunters! In the same way I can’t change how men operate, I can’t change how prospective employers operate. To get a desired result, best to learn everything I can about them and modify my own behavior.

    It does seem like a waste of time to continually lament how the opposite gender tends to approach dating/relationships. We can only change ourselves.

  2. 22
    Emily, to

    S.,
    “Zombieing? I don’t wanna know what that is!”

    The person completely disappears, only to reappear. To come back to life, so to speak. To me, it all falls under the same umbrella — likes on a dating site, comments on Facebook page, flaccid flirtation (:)) — it’s all the same thing. Flim flam. I think you and I disagreed on this on another post, but, to me, unless someone is asking you out and following up afterward, none of it means anything. I don’t mean that in a negative way, but I used to take some of it seriously and learned to put it in perspective.

  3. 23
    S.

    @ Emily, to #22

    Ah, it’s like ghosting but a ghost never comes back. But that could lead to breadcrumbing too. None of it ever bodes well, honestly, whatever Halloween word we use.

    lim flam. I think you and I disagreed on this on another post, but, to me, unless someone is asking you out and following up afterward, none of it means anything.

    We may have disagreed before but if it was on this point I concede now to your total correctness. I think there just is so much of it and people are good people and make good excuses it seems harsh to just cut them off.

    But you must. I have never had anything significant come out of any of these things except as you put it someone really asking me out and then we actually go out and the process continues.

  4. 24
    S.

    @ Marika #17

    I online dated for years and I was quite serious about it.  I was giving a tiny paragraph of my experience that related to this post.

    I did find, for me, it worked best to rotate sites and switch them up after several months.  I had just found the local folks who were interested and I’d do six months on one, then a break (or actual dating someone) and then try six months on another one.  It wasn’t effective, cost or otherwise, for me to stay on a single site for a year for the few people who signed up after the first few months.  That’s my experience.  Others may differ.  Even when I (or they) would try with folks passed by earlier it never went anywhere because we had passed each other by for reasons.

    I always would pay, but I usually would pay after I had reactivated my profile and gotten messages/likes that were waiting for me–or–I was ready to wade back in and had bookmarked several interesting profiles of people hat I wanted to e-mail.  Or both.  But for me after about four months, most people there had seen me and I had seen them and there weren’t new people in the ranges I’d selected. Sometimes I’d tweak the ranges but that didn’t work out because the folks were really far away or too young or something.  I also am on a budget.  It didn’t make sense for me to be on a site for so long with months of inactivity, even as I was reaching out and/or changing my profile periodically.  Breaks worked for me.  Financially and mentally.

    I felt I was pretty serious when I was doing it.  I stopped and it’s so much more restful for me.  I actually meet about the same amount of men, just not for dating.  What I like is I’m really getting to know in person what men are like.  That’s really valuable to me and helps me understand male behavior in a less charged way since I’m not dating them.  So I’m still socializing, meeting people, and doing my thing.  I’m having fun and enjoying my life.  🙂  If someone else has an online dating strategy that they’re on for year and still getting activity consistently or not, but it still works for them, I’m happy for them. I never said there was any shame in it, just that it didn’t work that way for me.

    As for the guys still on there?  No shame in that either, but that’s when I’d get more orbiting.  Guys on there who viewed but in the time that I’d already been through first dates, dated someone, broke up, and come back, and they were still just looking at my profile. (Maybe they were dating someone too, who knows).  I’d eventually eliminate them from my searches.  So they could still look but I wouldn’t know.  Like I said above, I don’t think this is deviant or even unusual behavior.  But I do find that there are a lot of men there in my age range that have been there for years and we kind of know each other’s behavior (lookyloos or not interested or dated and done) and have passed each other by.  No shame in that, but I found it more effective for me to not focus on them but on the folks new to me or who reached out to me.

  5. 25
    Emily, to

    S.,
    I think there just is so much of it and people are good people and make good excuses it seems harsh to just cut them off. But you must. I have never had anything significant come out of any of these things except as you put it someone really asking me out and then we actually go out and the process continues.
    It’s really easy to make excuses when it’s someone you like. That’s the problem. But, like you, I’ve never had anything significant come out of those types of situations. I don’t think it’s harsh at all to cut them off. I think it’s putting up a boundary. And, on some level, if it’s going on for a while — breadcrumbing, heavy flirtation with no date, etc. — it’s a game. And I won’t play it anymore. “Thank you, drive thru.”   🙂

  6. 26
    SparklingEmerald

    ScottH said 20.1 (not sure if reply button is working)”If you want to meet quality guys like me and YAG, you should take lessons from the women who catch us.”

    Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha SERIOUSLY, YAG is a “quality guy ” ? If anything, his postings are a PSA to us ladies on the type of men to avoid. If the picture he posted is an indication of his looks, he is good looking, I’ll give him that, but “quality “? He states that sex is what validates men, states that casual sex cheapens women AND he criticises women who don’t have sex outside of relationships as “weaponizing” sex. So apparently, he thinks women should validate men by having sex with them NSA while simultaneoulsy degrading themselves. Sorry, not sorry, but anyone who uses sex to build themselves up by tearing others down is not “quality” in my book, no matter how good looking and/or rich they are.

    I have my own quality guy. I didn’t have to “weaponize” sex or use it as a bargaining chip. He asked me to be his girlfriend, no prompting from me, BEFORE we had sex. He also didn’t dig around in my past life to find something to use against me, and I didn’t dig around in his commitment history to see how long before he proposed to his ex-wife, nor did I contact any of his past wives/girlfriends when we got engaged to compare engagement rings to be sure that I got the earliest proposal and the shiniest ring.

  7. 27
    Emily, to

    Scott H, 

    I specifically told her that I would like to meet for a drink after dinner but the day of the meeting she said that she would show up hungry. Yes, I was a bit pissed but didn’t show it. When the bill came, she said that she invited me and that she would pay. I took the bill and paid with a smile, all of it.

    But isn’t that on you? You should have let her pay. It’s not fair to be mad at her  because you paid and didn’t want to. How’s she supposed to know that ticked you off? Especially if you were smiling! If you want to meet quality guys like me and YAG, you should take lessons from the women who catch us.

    Oh boy

  8. 28
    Noquay

    As I am in the process of trying to sell out here and relocate to the other end of the continent, I’m off of on line for now. When I had a sub to Match and a few others, and actually found someone seemingly compatible, I’d write a complimentary line or two, then let it go. I do have a Faceplant account as I write for a closed blog and FP is the only way to follow MMIW and pipeline issues. I’m a Water Protector and most Native issues are ignored by mainstream media.

    Not sure if an ex that I have not friended can follow what I write on non closed forums but I don’t care. When I found out the latest was cheating, I went immediate NC; the end. I write or post nothing inappropriate (unless you’re a fossil fuel lover, racist, or a conservative), discuss nothing about rships unless it’s in a closed group, and there’s nothing new you are going to find out by orbiting. Ol Noquay is a far left native rights/environmental activist and professional scientist who also runs ultras and grows food. If you’d dated or worked with me, you’d know this already. Read away. My Faceplant pic is my dog, Bella. I do get a good many “friend” requests from men I do not know. If they have no connection to a known person, I ignore them. I don’t give a rats about “likes” from strangers. Means nothing. A real relationship isn’t one til it is.

  9. 29
    Mike

    Well, I am coming to see that on here that there is a larger amount of complaining about “gender roles” than I had originally expected. I am not sure how helpful that is. At the end of the day, we guys on here have to realize that this is a site for women whose goal is to find a life partner, NOT to write our perceived wrongs and do what we feel would make dating easier or fairer on our gender.

     

    Yes our gender has to take on a disproportionate amount of risk for rejection. BUT, we don’t get pregnant either. It is what it is.

     

    My experience OLD is that by the time communication is taken to off the site, MOST women–say 70%–are willing to meet up. Then again, I make a point of calling them and having a good conversation–usually about 45 minutes in length–and I am a “good” texter. And sure, I have met women who are flakey/have an “entitlement” mentality of thinking that dating is them getting wined and dined while they get to sit back and evaluate. I have learned to screen those women out with *inexpensive* dates. [The flakes, well by not showing, screen *themselves* out.]

     

     

  10. 30
    S.

    @ Scott H.  #27

    Why didn’t you just let her pay?  She offered.  I never offered when I wasn’t ready to pay.  And I never minded paying.  The only time I minded if I had suggested a cheaper place or different food and the guy insisted on picking on the place and then insisted on me paying.  I don’t mind paying, but I’d like to have a say in what I eat.

    One guy picked a spicy place that I couldn’t even eat a 1/3 of the food. I paid for my food and he took the leftovers because I couldn’t eat them.  It wasn’t an expensive place at all, I was just a little hungry after that date.  It would have been nice to have a say in the cuisine if I’m paying is all.

  11. 31
    Emily, to

    Mike,

    Please stay on this site. We need a male perspective and you don’t have a Madonna/whore complex, aren’t blaming women, don’t need women but resent them for it, aren’t telling them how they should act/date ….

  12. 32
    SparklingEmerald

    Emily to at 27 “Scott H,

    I specifically told her that I would like to meet for a drink after dinner but the day of the meeting she said that she would show up hungry. Yes, I was a bit pissed but didn’t show it. When the bill came, she said that she invited me and that she would pay. I took the bill and paid with a smile, all of it.

    But isn’t that on you? You should have let her pay. It’s not fair to be mad at her because you paid and didn’t want to. How’s she supposed to know that ticked you off? Especially if you were smiling! If you want to meet quality guys like me and YAG, you should take lessons from the women who catch us.

    Oh boy”

    Actually, I interpreted his post as being angry when she said she would show up hungry, but genuinely pleased when said she would pick up the bill. Which is why he picked it up with a smile, because she was WILLING to pay for it. Scott, amirite ?

    Sometime it is not the money, but the sense of entitlement. Once I got over my fear of men being pissed if I offered to pay (a hold over from my early adult years, when men REALLY did want to pay, and considered it insulting if the woman offered) I started offering to pay either my half, leave the tip, or an after dinner coffee or ice cream somewhere else. In every case, the men refused my offer, but seemed genuinely appreciative that I at least offered. Once my hubby and I were established as a couple, he was still resistant to me paying (he said it was “cute” that I wanted to, but no) so I had to use stealth methods. Comp tickets that I got through work and my theater network were OK, but as for me paying out of my own wallet, he resisted. I had to resort to buying tickets on line. By stealth. I would ask him if he wanted to attend such and such a music venue, comedy show, etc, but not give him enough information to buy tickets online. Then when he confirmed, yes was willing to go, I would go online and buy tickets. We’ve been together over 4 years now, so paying back and forth happens organically and without resistance on his part.

  13. 33
    S.

    @Mike 29

    Yes our gender has to take on a disproportionate amount of risk for rejection. BUT, we don’t get pregnant either. It is what it is.

    It certainly is. 🙂

    I think your suggestion of inexpensive dates at first sounds wise.  I don’t know why people aren’t listening to it.  I’ve suggested it myself to dates for the first dates and they don’t listen, either.  I don’t understand.  Then they might be mad about the money they spent if things don’t work out.  If I’m willing to pay, let me pay.

  14. 34
    Emily, to

    Sparkling Emerald,

    Sometime it is not the money, but the sense of entitlement. Once I got over my fear of men being pissed if I offered to pay (a hold over from my early adult years, when men REALLY did want to pay, and considered it insulting if the woman offered) I started offering to pay either my half, leave the tip, or an after dinner coffee or ice cream somewhere else.

    And I agree with everything you’ve written. I would be turned off by a sense of entitlement, too. I do the same thing you do. Offer to pay for my half. If the man says no, I offer to leave the tip or pay for drinks afterward. I think what’s more important to a lot of women than the man paying … is the man leading. He asks out, he calls to confirm, he has something in mind to do. It’s the difference between “Here’s my number if you want to hang out” and “I’d like to take you out. What’s your number so I can give you a call?” It’s a win win for men because a lot of women are turned on by masculine energy. Passive energy is lady boner crusher.  🙂

    But ScottH was writing about mixed messages. And is there no bigger mixed message than paying for a date and smiling while doing it but secretly resenting it and thinking she should pay? Maybe I misinterpreted what he was saying.

  15. 35
    SparklingEmerald

    Emily to said “And is there no bigger mixed message than paying for a date and smiling while doing it but secretly resenting it and thinking she should pay? Maybe I misinterpreted what he was saying.”

    I interpreted it a bit differently, but only Scott know for sure what he meant.

  16. 36
    Nissa

    ScottH,

    How are you to distinguish between an interested person and a disinterested person when they act in almost the same way? By spending time with them, having fun, then noticing if you enjoy their company and how they treat you. It takes time for people (both genders) to reveal their true selves. If you feel they don’t treat you well or you aren’t having fun, stop seeing her.

  17. 37
    Marika

    Hi Scott

    Still can’t reply for some reason 🙁

    Can I let you into a little secret? People suck at dating. Men, women, probably gender fluid bisexuals. Everywhere. Suck, suck, suck. Evan will retire a rich coach.

    Complaining about it is like complaining that winter is cold.

    I don’t get all rigidly stuck in gender roles. I’m also happy to take on board the advice of guys like Jeremy, Karl R, Mike etc who clearly don’t hate women, have empathy, are kind to their partners, balanced in their comments and most importantly, solutions-focused.

    The other little secret I mentioned before which the guys seemed to have missed is that women are very turned off by men whinging. If you care to learn about women, please take that on board. It’s incredibly unattractive to us.

    Things aren’t working out? Get Finding The One Online, write in a letter to Evan, flip his advice to women around, take on board what he says to guys who get stuck endlessly on how women should be, should do etc etc etc. Insert one of many other options here. Also, I think you need to accept that often you will have to initiate. Not because it’s right or it should be that way. It will just get you the most dates and options. It’s in your best interest to do so.

  18. 38
    Nissa

    YAG,
    Your girlfriend reached out…and matched with you, someone who prefers a woman that takes on the role of pursuer. If that’s what makes her happy, terrific. However, if it’s not what she wants in a relationship, then it’s a bait and switch and counterproductive. And there’s no reason a woman who prefers men who take a more masculine, proactive role, can’t also be appreciative of his core, unique qualities when he calls her or takes her on a date.

  19. 39
    Nissa

    It’s so funny to me that people find the idea of “women think all they have to do is show up” insulting. When I was married, I would often think to myself how happy it made me when my husband did nothing other than walk into the room and share his presence with me. Just having him by my side lifted my spirits, comforted me and brought me peace.

    Perhaps that is what the orbiting is about, too. Don’t most people put up pictures of things that make them happy? Dogs, trees, beautiful people?

  20. 40
    ScottH

    @SE #32 (reply not working)
    “But isn’t that on you? You should have let her pay. It’s not fair to be mad at her because you paid and didn’t want to. How’s she supposed to know that ticked you off?”
    You are absolutely right! I resolved within myself that if I did not discuss a grievance that I had no right to be mad or hold a grudge. This particular person was very polite and kind and sensitive to the paying issue and as a result, i didn’t mind taking the whole bill. But she was somewhat unusual. Not all, but a lot of women I’ve taken out seem to feel entitled to order without restraint or sensitivity, making me feel like an ATM, and I absolutely hate that. I’ve talked to other guys who feel similarly and I’ve heard about guys who exit the dating pool because it’s too expensive. One guy sensed her entitlement attitude and refused to pay for all of her drinks and she started yelling at him about chivalry. I’ve never gone that far.

    I can remember being with other women and the money would be flying out of my wallet and I’d be wondering when they might at least make an offer. I am of good but not of unlimited means so I am sensitive to it and continuously paying can become fatiguing, as has been discussed here many times. My way of dealing with it is when she offers to pay, I will suggest that she pay next time. With the woman mentioned above, that is what happened. With most, that never happened. And yes, I do suggest walks in the park and happy hours when it works. My favorite and most successful dates are at a very classy and free park.

    And for me, it is not the rejection that stings, it is the expected disproportionate workload for the guys that bother me. I’m almost immune to rejection these days but initiating, planning, paying, etc. can be a lot of work. Now,,, I don’t mind doing those things if she makes it easy for me and that is what I look for in a partner. Actually what I look for in a partner is partnership and not feeling like I need to entertain her at a certain expected level or standard. A friend of mine said it very succinctly: it is his job to pursue and lead but it is her job to make it clear that it is safe to do so and to make it easy to do so. I subscribe to that and when that happens, I do not mind initiating, planning, and paying most of the time.

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