Understanding The Modern World of Romance

“You’re really pretty for a short girl.”

So it goes with ‘negging’ – the ‘art’ of giving a deliberate, backhanded compliment in order to manipulate someone into feeling insecure, for the purpose of picking them up. Sound familiar? It is, to the 40% of Aussie 25-34 year olds who have experienced it.

Modern daters are already out of their comfort zone with new ways to meet, mingle and connect. Making matters worse is the proliferation of superficial swipe apps that encourage matches based solely on looks, and that thrive on instant gratification. These apps have given way to a whole new world of manipulative tricks, such as ‘ghosting’ or ‘benching’ that leave many pure-of-heart singles feeling exposed and unsure of how to deal with the minefield presented by these bad dating behaviours.

image via pinterest

Jacqui Manning, dating and relationship expert at eharmony shared with us her ultimate how-to guide to manage this new crop of unsavoury dating behaviors, and her tips and tricks to help today’s daters navigate the modern world of romance.

Bread crumbing

Bread crumbing is the act of sending out flirtatious, but non-committal text messages (i.e. ’breadcrumbs’) in order to attract a love interest without expending much effort.

We all love a flirty message coming our way from someone we’re keen on, but when they are few and far between it can become unsatisfying.

In this situation, I always recommend singles stop and think about their boundaries and what they want from a new love interest and make it clear to them. For example, if you expect weekly contact at a minimum and they constantly breach this, it might be time to move on from the breadcrumb thrower and leave space to find someone who is willing to offer you the whole loaf. Neglecting to do this means you’ll be constantly hungry like the 32% of Australians who said they had experienced this behavior.


Ghosting is the practice of ending a personal relationship with someone by suddenly, and without explanation withdrawing from all communication

Your last date went really well, you had a great time, or so you thought. Then the calls stop, they don’t answer your messages and you wonder if you imagined the whole thing. A third (33%), of online and app daters have experienced ‘ghosting,’ leaving many to wonder what went wrong. Normally we turn the blame inwards, but the reality is it is not a poor reflection on you whatsoever, but the ghoster and their poor behaviour.

Perhaps they realised they hadn’t grieved their last relationship effectively, or they got sent overseas for work or fell suddenly ill. Regardless of the reasons for the cliffhanger ending, try not to waste too much time wondering or personalising the situation, as you may never find out. Remember there could be all sorts of reasons, but if they act like this, they’re genuinely not the one for you.


When you’ve been ‘ghosted’ but then weeks or months later the person who ‘ghosted’ you gets back in touch out of the blue

32% of Aussies have experienced a zombie, and it’s not always a bad thing. Perhaps when you first met they weren’t in the headspace to connect or had a particularly busy time, so give the zombie a chance to explain themselves. Everyone deserves a second chance, but if they ghost you again, then you know it’s time to call it quits.


The act of emotional manipulation whereby a person makes a deliberate backhanded compliment or otherwise flirtatious remark to another person to undermine their confidence and increase their need of your approval

Negging is a particularly cruel way of behaving towards a prospective partner, as we all have insecurities and highlighting these for your own benefit is wrong and says something about the person doing it. If you need to put down another to make yourself feel good, then you’ve got to ask, who has the bigger insecurity here?

When chatting to single clients I ask, why would you waste your time wanting to hang out with someone like that? Move along as quickly as you can, surrounding yourself with positive people who will help you remember the amazing person you are.


The act of not dating someone seriously but keeping them ‘on the bench’ for those lonely nights. This is done by consistent but infrequent communication

Having options is a good thing in the early stages of dating but if your feelings have grown, and they’re not willing to become monogamous, you’re at risk of feeling hurt by being sidelined. Understand in this instance that you’re probably not going to get what you need from this connection and let go of that relationship that no longer serves you.

At the end of the day, almost all of the bad dating habits singles experience in the world of modern romance are driven by a lack of genuine desire to find a lasting, happy relationship. If you find yourself tired of playing the many games that result in these kinds of behaviours, you should always consider investing in the love life you deserve, that will match you with singles who you’re already deeply compatible with on key dimensions such as personality, character and sense of humour, so that you can focus on the fun part – finding your long term love…


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