Decoding romance in the digital era with 50 Shades of Love

The world of modern relationships is as complex as it gets and you’ve got to keep up with the ever-changing trends to navigate it. Finding someone attractive is not enough. In today’s digital age, everyone has the attention span of a goldfish. You need to be able to engage the other person in a conversation by keeping things interesting and relatable.

It is now essential to step up your game and get with the current “love lingo“. To master love in modern dating life you must know the latest terminologies used to describe the various stages of modern relationships. You may have already heard of terms like ‘situationship’, ‘ghosting’, ‘catfishing’, ‘rizz’, and more. They have even made their way to a CBSE class 9 text book which has a chapter on dating and relationships!

Also Read: #50ShadesOfLove: Embracing Valentine’s Day as a Single

There’s a lot more to learn now. And we’ve got your back! In today’s article, we will take you through the myriad of modern dating terms that will enable you to grasp your ‘relationship status’ better and leave a lasting impression.


The word pretty much explains itself. It implies feeding ‘breadcrumbs’ of emotional affection to someone while stringing them along without committing. It’s about appearing to be interested by giving you just enough attention to keep your hopes up, but ultimately leaving you hanging. This term has been part of the pop discourse for a while now. When someone ‘breadcrumbs’ you, the intention is to enjoy the attention without investing in the relationship.


A push and pull behaviour, ‘looping’ is when you know your partner is toxic or not right for you and you break up with them but end up getting back together in just a few days. Here, you find yourself stuck in a loop. Apoorva (@the.rebel.kid) aptly explains this dating lingo in her reel.


It is the latest dating lingo to take over the internet. ‘Zombieing’ is basically when a person who ghosted you, decided to make a sudden reappearance in your life. They text you on social media or call you as if everything was right between you both. They could reappear after a few weeks, months or even years. It shows that they might have unresolved feelings. This can be quite a bummer but also gives you a sense of self-validation and an ego boost, especially when had to move on without getting any closure.


Think of a sports game. The substitute player is usually benched throughout the matches and made to play only when a player is not available. In the dating world, ‘benching’ is when someone keeps you hanging or waiting. They don’t want to be committed to you or let you go or want you to be with someone else either. Being ‘benched’ means you’re the backup option in a relationship while they explore other romantic interests.

modern dating terms love lingo gen-z benching


If you’re at the receiving end of cushioning, you’re essentially being treated as a backup option as your romantic interest continues being in touch with many potential partners in case those negotiations fall through.


Fizzling can be looked at as a kinder form of ‘ghosting‘. It is an emerging dating trend, in which both or one of the people involved are uncertain about their relationship after a short period and no longer feel emotionally connected. The person slowly and sneakily tries to disconnect and eventually becomes unresponsive.


This refers to a partner who starts to date a new person while secretly maintaining other romantic relationships. It is a deceptive behaviour where the partner does not open up about their other romantic interests in front of their existing romantic partner. The ‘roacher’ tends to deny any accountability when confronted.

modern dating terms love lingo gen-z roaching


A variant of catfishing, this term refers to creating deception by pretending to be more socially and politically correct, aware, and open-minded in order to impress someone you’re interested in. It’s the act of showcasing oneself as a more evolved version that they actually are.


If your ex constantly stalks what you post on your social media profiles but doesn’t make the effort to communicate, it probably means you’re being ‘orbited‘.


Pocketing‘ in modern dating lingo refers to hiding your relationship from family, friends and social media. It can also mean the person does not feel comfortable introducing their partner to friends and family yet. They keep the relationship in the ‘pocket’ as a secret.


Textlationship‘ is when two people in a relationship have good chemistry over texts and social media but it doesn’t translate into real-life chemistry. It usually happens when two people meet and form a great connection via dating apps and social media platforms.

modern dating terms love lingo gen-z Textlationship


Have a friend who repeatedly gets attracted to the “wrong partners” in their life and keeps crying to you every time their heart breaks? This dating phenomenon also has a term dedicated to it. It’s called ‘Groundhogging‘ where people like your friend end up dating the same kinds of red flags and feel stuck in the cycle of dissatisfying relationships.


When you adopt the interests and traits of someone you’re crushing on, you’re ‘eclipsing‘ them. It’s when one person adopts to mirror the other person’s choices, likes, and dislikes in a relationship, potentially leading to loss of individuality.

Sober Dating

Sober dating‘ is a growing dating trend that suggests mindful dating practices. It’s when you plan a meet-up with a prospective partner over non-alcoholic drinks. Thus, opting for healthier lifestyle choices and thereby cultivating a healthier relationship.

modern dating terms love lingo gen-z sober dating


Affordating is a type of dating practice where you consider the financial equation before dating. It is a budget-friendly approach where both partners do not want to splurge and opt for a very cost-effective way of dating. It involves indulging in activities that do not blow a hole in your wallet. To split is lit! (okay sorry, that was bad…)

Open DM

This is an open invitation for someone to send you a Direct Message (DM), mostly a naughty/flirtatious one.


Not Attached To an Outcome (NATO) is a Gen-Z dating style where the journey of the relationship is more important than the outcome.

Soft Launching

When you wish to reveal the fact that you are seeing someone on social media without fully revealing who, you ‘soft launch‘ them. Stuff like a picture of just their hand, a date night glimpse, their arm around your waist. Anything that is just enough to get people guessing who the mystery person is.

modern dating terms love lingo gen-z soft launch


Define The Relationship (DTR)‘ is that crucial conversation that determines where the two partners stand in the equation. This talk is initiated to basically get clarity on where the relationship is headed.

Love Bombing

When one partner showers excessive love and attention on you too soon into the relationship with the intent to manipulate you, it’s called ‘love bombing’. Although being showered with “love” can seem positive at the beginning of a romantic relationship, love bombing can lead to gaslighting and abuse.


This term refers to liking someone who you know you can’t have because they are either unavailable or disinterested.

Beige & Pink Flags

You may have heard of ‘red flags‘ and ‘green flags‘ but now there’s a ‘beige flag‘ too. It’s when you find a person’s traits unusual and makes you wonder what they’re doing. But at the same time, these issues are not big enough to be a dealbreaker or off-putting.

A ‘pink flag‘ is a well-disguised red flag but also subjective. For one person, a pink flag could be labelling an ex ‘crazy’, which could depict a lack of sensitivity. For another, it could be an excessive use of social media, or an obsession with the gym. ‘Pink flags’ are the smallest issues that force us to take a step back and ask ourselves — should we make space or haste?

modern dating terms love lingo gen-z beige flag pink flag red flag green flag


A term from the gaming world, a ‘Non-Player Character (NPC)‘ is used to describe someone who comes off as boring, predictable and lacking individuality.


An ‘eel‘ is someone who is mysterious, intriguing, and hard to pin down. It’s like the Gen-Z version of ‘enigmatic‘.

We really miss the good old days when all you had to do was have a crush, ask them out and get into a relationship 🙁 Gen-Z has revolutionised the world of modern dating. They have created their own language, especially when it comes to love. This generation could very well make a whole dictionary for themselves. How many of the above love lingos were you aware of? Let us know in the comments below!