"Orbiting" Is The Latest Terrible Dating Phenomenon That'll Make You Roll Your Eyes

by Candice Jalili

When it comes to the world of fashion, I do not consider myself to be a particularly "trendy" person. However, when it comes to the world of sex and dating, I am just about as trendy as it gets. I knew about ghosting before ghosters even realized what they were doing. I knew about phubbing before you even realized you were being phubbed. And now the latest trend I present to you, my friends, is something called "orbiting." What is orbiting, you ask? Allow me to explain.

While the term may sound foreign to you, I have a feeling once you read this description all sorts of bells will start to ring in your head. Remember that person you were talking to who ghosted you without any explanation? Of course you do. Now, remember when they drove you up a wall by continuing to watch every single one of your stories on Instagram and Snapchat despite the fact that they ghosted you? Of freaking course you do. Well, according to Man Repeller, there's a name for what that person did to you and it's called "orbiting."

Writer Anna Iovine came up with the term with the help of friends when they decided people who orbit are keeping you "close enough to see each other; far enough to never talk."

Even if you haven't personally experienced orbiting, odds are you know someone who has. For example, my friend Amanda* just texted me this morning about a guy who has been orbiting her for years. Amanda and this guy dated casually for a few months until he completely fell off the face of the earth and stopped responding to her messages. Despite the fact that he wouldn't respond to her, he would still continue to watch her stories and like her pictures as though he was keeping tabs on her. Now it's three years later, Amanda has finally moved on and is happy in a new relationship but the guy still continues to watch every single one of her stories.

In fact, I have to admit that I've been guilty of orbiting from time to time. I'm happily in a relationship right now but, I admittedly ghosted my fair share of guys in my single days some of whom I still remain connected to on social media. As a result, I catch myself watching their stories from time to time.

Man Repeller cites three potential causes of orbiting: it's a power move meant to note that the orbiter want to be on friendly terms even if they aren't putting in a whole lot of effort to do so; they have no idea you can see their stories; or they want to stay connected in case they want to rekindle things later on.

For me, personally, I have to say my motivation for watching the stories varies based on the app. Instagram automatically shifts from one story to the next so there really isn't any effort being put into the fact that I watched the story of a guy I ghosted years ago. He just happened to come on my screen and I continued to watch as a result of what I'll chalk up to as boredom.

Snapchat, on the other hand, requires a little more effort on my part. Because their stories don't automatically shift, I find myself selectively choosing which stories I watch and which I don't. So, in this case, I will say watching the stories of the guys I ghosted comes about as a unique combination of curiosity and guilt. Part of wants to remain on friendly terms with these guys; part of me wants to make sure they're doing well, even though I haven't talked to them in years.

Now, obviously I can't speak for everyone who has ever orbited, but that's my own personal reasoning for doing it. Hopefully it gives you a little insight into the mind of an orbiter. And if any of the guys I'm orbiting are upset with me for doing so, please LMK, and I promise I'll stop!

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