Dating has never been so complicated with social media and digital capabilities to reveal your relationship to the world, it can feel overwhelming. It’s common when you’re in a new relationship and really excited about someone you met to want to tell the world. But what happens when rather than proudly telling everyone on social media about your new date, your partner hides you? They don’t post updates or photos and like their phone, rather than show you off they stick your relationship in their pocket?
'Relationship pocketing' is a new term used in the dating world where your partner consistently avoids sharing you with others. There is no mention of you on their social media posts or among their friends and family. In a recent Pew Research study, more than 91% of people between the ages of 18 and 29 frequently posted about their romantic relationships and updated their status frequently, so when your new date doesn’t it can be startling.
Jumping to conclusions and accusing your partner of stashing or cheating on you aren’t encouraged but talking to them openly and telling them what you’re noticing and asking for clarity is a good place to begin. If you aren’t sure you want to begin that discussion or you’re confused with their signals these five behaviors are highly correlated with someone being pocketed.
1. Your dates or meet-ups are at unfamiliar out-of-town places. When someone is pocketing you, they want to keep you secluded from their real life. Therefore, meeting up in unfamiliar or out-of-the-way places is a sign that you’re being pocketed. This is not a normal pattern, when someone wants to be with you, they want you to get to know them better personally, where you go, likes and dislikes.
2. Your date never introduces you to people, others, or friends. Your date avoids inviting you to anything that includes them and their friends or family.
3. You are never mentioned on their social media. The posts you tag them or comments you make disappear from their profile. It’s as if you don’t exist socially or personally with them.
4. There is no sign of affection toward you in front of others. It’s as if you’re roommates when you’re with this person in public. They show no sign of affection with a kiss or hug in front of others.
5. Their friends or family have never heard of you. If you’ve been with this person for more than a month and their friends or family haven’t heard of you that’s a bad sign. It may be normal not to introduce your date to your family or friends right away but after a month they should at least know you exist.
If you’re in this type of relationship these tips can help you fix it or let it go.
· Communicate how you feel. Rather than jumping to conclusions, advocate for yourself by telling your partner what you see and how it makes you feel.
· Listen to their side. Maybe they’ve been severely hurt in the past and need time to trust again. Once you understand their part you can decide if you are invested in the relationship or need to move on.
· Respect from another begins with self-respect. Don’t become a doormat for someone who is using you or not treating you as a priority. You’re not your partner’s therapist, taking responsibility and getting help is each person’s individual job. No matter what excuse they give, if they don’t treat you as a priority, let them go.
Relationships thrive when both partners feel prioritized and valued. Don’t allow yourself to be hidden away or unacknowledged by someone who is dating you, no matter what their excuses are. A healthy relationship is to be celebrated not hidden away in someone’s back pocket.