Orbiting, Breadcrumbing, And Ghosting Oh My! Dating Trends

Heard of orbiting dating or have you already experienced this new dating trend? Find out what these terms and trends mean to your romantic life over 40.

orbiting dating - he's hanging around but not asking me outWhat Is Orbiting Dating?

OK, you meet this great guy and things go well for a while. You add each other on Facebook, Instagram etc. which is natural enough. But sadly, something shifts and before you know it, you’re not seeing each other anymore. Often this happens early on, before you’ve even become a couple, so there’s not even a breakup.

Maybe he disappeared suddenly and you never heard from him again for what seems like no reason at all. Or he slowly drifted away. Either way, the curious thing is that he still follows you closely on social media and may even like and comment on your posts and stories.

Yet, if you text him, he probably won’t respond. Social media is the extent of his interest. This is the heart of orbiting dating.

Frustrating Dating Trends

What the heck is this about? Why would a man who doesn’t want to spend time with you, orbit your social media posts, watching so closely? This makes no sense and for many women becomes highly frustrating. Sometimes a man will keep looking at your stories for months.

You might be surprised, but this kind of behavior has gotten so common that Anna Iovine, writer from Manrepeller, coined the term “orbiting.” Simply put, orbiting dating refers to someone who keeps you in his “orbit” or life, but only to watch or track. She pointed out that this is not the same as ghosting – the behavior takes on a new twist.

What Is Ghosting?

Ghosting is when a man exits your life, disappearing like a ghost into the ethers. The dating term was added to the Urban dictionary in 2006, so the phenomenon has been around for a while. The dating trend of ghosting has become part of everyday language so that pretty much everyone knows now what ghosting means.

However, ghosting differs from orbiting dating, since you know the guy is still around by seeing his social media activity. He likes your posts and comments.

Discover more on ghosting in this post.

Orbiting Relationship

There is certainly a voyeuristic aspect to orbiting dating, with a curiosity that gets satisfied by keeping track of you. A comment here and there might pique your interest and fool you into thinking he’s coming around again. Nope, don’t get sucked in or believe it.  Sure, he might be interested from a distance, but this is not the behavior of a man who is serious about you.

Why Is He Orbiting You?

why did he ghost and disappearThis is a really good question. There are a number of reasons that might be the root of his disturbing and frustrating behavior. Here are my top five best guesses as to what makes a man act this way:

  1. He doesn’t realize you can see him looking at your social media – duh!
  2. He’s lonely, but not capable of a real relationship, so he follows you to feel connected
  3. He’s bored and your stories are entertaining – he’s living vicariously through you
  4. He likes to think there are a number of women in his “stable” so he hasn’t cut the cord
  5. He gets off on viewing your life without having to be a part of it or make any commitments

orbiting dating and breadcrumbing - neither is how you to treat youWhat Is Breadcrumbing?

Since this post is all about dating trends, let’s talk about breadcrumbing. This is different than ghosting or orbiting dating, because the man is still in the picture to some degree. But he’s only feeding you little crumbs of attention.

Women find this kind of treatment hurtful, yet they often find themselves wanting more.

He might:

  • Sees his friends a lot, but can’t find time to be with you
  • Texts often, but doesn’t call
  • Schedule dates, but cancels frequently
  • Shows up for sex, then runs off to something else
  • Says he’s busy at work, promises to see you when things ease up
  • Asks for your understanding, especially if you object

Breadcrumbing means you are with a man who won’t spend quality time with you. He shares very little of himself and hopes to keep you interested with mere crumbs of his attention, hoping that will satisfy you.

Why choose to breadcrumb you? It’s a bit like orbiting dating. He isn’t ready for or doesn’t want a real relationship, he’s a player with multiple women, or he’s lacking in emotional IQ.

How To Stop Breadcrumbing


Most self-respecting women will not put up with this for long, which is wise. Once a man starts breadcrumbing, there’s no returning the relationship to the glory of what it once was.

You are on an irrevocable downhill slide that is only corrected when you END IT.  Walk away with your dignity and head held high to find love with a better man.

Dating Trend and Behaviors

The most important take away about orbiting dating, breadcrumbing and ghosting is this – these are not really new ways for men to treat you poorly. There have always been men who don’t treat women respectfully or cherish them as the joy of their life.

This is NOT new. Maybe the method is new via social media stalking, but the meaning of the behavior is not.

Any man who disappears, runs hot and cold, parcels out his attention or will only text or view social media – all of this adds up to the EXACT SAME THING – he’s NOT the man for you!

You deserve better. You deserve true love and the whole shebang with a man who treats you like gold and knows how lucky he is that you are in his life.

If the man you are dating doesn’t act this way, that automatically makes him the WRONG MAN. Unless you don’t mind substandard treatment and a lack of respect…

love yourself to build confidenceSelf-Respect and Self-Love

The best thing you can do if you continually run into men who fall into any of these three dating trends is to walk away.  Respect yourself enough to not let men take advantage of you. Love yourself enough to know you deserve the real thing.

All love starts with self-love. So, if you think that this crummy guy is the best you can do, that’s where you are wrong. Time to look within and ask yourself how you can love yourself more. Most often, you’ll have to be there for yourself and take care of yourself to move on and find love again.

Here’s what is so amazing about self respect and self love: The more you love yourself and refuse to put up with poor treatment, the better the quality of the men you’ll attract. I’m not kidding. This is how it works. Self-love, ATTRACTS real love.

Read more on how to love yourself first.

kick him out of orbit when he doesn't treat you right Kick Him Out Of Orbit!

While you can’t stop a man from following you on social media, you don’t have to let it bother you. Unfriend and hide their posts when possible. Don’t give his ridiculous behavior any of your energy or thought. Don’t bother with it, respond to him or talk about him.

This way of handling orbiting dating will keep your energy free, so you can move on to find a better man.

You seek a man who wants to spend time with you and cherishes how you light up his life.  He’s OUT THERE. But you’ll only find him if you aren’t all tangled up with some idiot who can’t or won’t deliver the love you want.

Believe in yourself and true love and you will find it. That’s one dating trend that has never varied or changed one bit. People fall in love every day. You could be next so don’t give up!

It’s time for you to understand men better and what their mixed signals really mean. Download my free book His Mixed Signals Are So Confusing today.

Single for too long, Ronnie wanted to find love. She put her skills from personal development and her spiritual path to work, dating 30 men in 15 months to meet her adorable husband Paul. Discovering the keys to manifesting and midlife dating, she founded It’s Never Too Late to help smart, successful women find love or live an empowered and magical life. Ronnie Ann Ryan, MBA, CCC, is a Certified Coach who has helped 1,000s of midlife women with her Love & Magical Life Coach services. She’s the host of the Breathe Love & Magic podcast and has been featured on NBC, ABC, & Fox News, NPR, BBC, eHarmony, MSN.com, and Connecticut Magazine among others. Also, Ronnie is the author of 6 books which are available on Amazon.

7 thoughts on “Orbiting, Breadcrumbing, And Ghosting Oh My! Dating Trends”

  1. Insecure men period. Guys that need that instant gratification by keeping you (as what they think) as another option and not put in any time or effort. A lot of guys do this. I have friends that do this kind of thing, its ridiculous and beyond comprehension and above all disrespectful. I see it as one less guy to compete with and their actions can only make more serious guys like myself, look a lot better.

  2. I have so many friends who are being “orbited” by guys who stalk their Instagram stories. One of my friends was religiously checking to see if the guy she liked watched her stories….until she realized he was never ever going to reach out. It really does mean nothing. I recommend using the “hide story” feature to block them from seeing you. You’ll soon forget about them and if they want to text, they have your number!

  3. I met a guy a week ago working at Home Depot. I could see him checking me out. He came over and recommended a product. We flirted. we exchanged numbers. He texted me about later to say it was nice to meet me and I texted back the same. He sent a pic of himself and one with his granddaughter. Next few days he texted to ask how I was doing. Then he asked for a pic (I don’t get this with guys). I said I’d text one. By this point I’m irritated wondering if texting is all there is. I respond “I’m fine. And you?” He says that I could call him. I tell him I was thinking the same thing and to call me. I added I’m not a big texter. That evening I had to take my mom to the ER. I texted that I’d be with her all night but let’s talk the next day. He expressed sympathy. The next morning I texted she was doing better. His response, “Okay.” I thought maybe I’m being silly waiting for him to make the first move so I called him that night. No text or return phone call – it’s been five days. Clearly I’ve been ghosted but I’m confused. A friend suggested I text to say hello. What I really want is for him to explain what happened. Should I text him to close this out, apologize or just move on?

    • Hi Jane, There are lonely people (men and women) who want to text or talk but not date. They want to feel someone is part of their life, without much effort and don’t want to get involved. They are not ready, capable or interested in anything serious. So it makes no sense to you who wants a real relationship but this happens all the time. What should you do next? Block him and move on to meet more men. There’s no point in asking why he ghosted because he will never give you a true answer if he even responds. Don’t bother asking or saying anything, just move on and block him so he won’t waste your time or take up head space. Last question, why do men ask for pictures? They like to fantasize!

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