5 new heartbreak hazards to look out for while online dating

The efficient, logical and often rewarding practice of online dating can be an excellent way to connect to someone with whom you have a lot in common.

But the complications of a relationship can often be exacerbated by the ever-changing digital landscape that comes with connecting via a smart-phone app.

CBC Life's digital lifestyle expert Jamey Ordolis joined host Sheryl MacKay during North by Northwest to give an update on five of the latest online dating hazards.

1. Breadcrumbing

​Reminiscent of the Grimm fairytale Hansel and Gretel, "breadcrumbing" is a new digital take on the old method of stringing someone along.

A breadcrumbing victim receives flirtatious messages and social media interactions from a person who will "like" a photo on Facebook, for example, but the flirter has no real intention of realizing the romance.

"It's completely noncommittal. It's keeping things going but at the minimum level possible," said Ordolis. 

She said social media has made stringing someone along not only convenient but easier to do by accident.

What might be thought of as an innocent click of the finger can be misconstrued by the person on the receiving end as something much more meaningful.


2. Catfishing

Originally, "catfishing" referred to assuming a false identity online, and then courting someone as that persona.

Now, the term is used to describe people who misrepresent themselves, be it through misleading photos, self-descriptions or relationship statuses.

Ordolis reports the Number One grievance for women dating online is that their potential love has lied about their height. For men, it's that a woman has lied about her age and weight.

"You do want to amp up the way you look. You don't put your worst photo up, but you also don't want to put up one that misleads people," said Ordolis.

3. Submarining 

"Submarining" is the child of "ghosting." 

Ghosting is when you make a connection with someone, go on a few dates, and then they completely disappear. The person stops responding to messages and stops answering the phone.

Judging from the many online daters she's spoken to, Ordolis said it is by far the most emotionally-damaging practice. 

Submarining however, is when someone vanishes, like a submarine going underwater, and then suddenly resurfaces. The submariner will act as though they've been there the whole time, and torpedo their target with messages of affection.

4. Haunting

Distinct from ghosting, "haunting" is when your new flame texts you back and interacts with you online, but does so infrequently.

Haunters will respond to messages hours or days after they were originally sent and in a very sporadic fashion.

Ordolis said this practice basically haunts a hopeful person by making them hang onto a relationship that is otherwise dead.


5. Stashing

"Stashing" is when someone keeps their new relationship under wraps.

Ordolis said a stasher will rarely take their date out on the town and when they do, all photos taken of the trip will only feature the stasher and omit the stashee.

With more people meeting online and fewer meeting through mutual friends, Ordolis said stashing has become much easier in the digital age.

In her seven years of online dating, Ordolis has committed many of these practices. She's had them happen to her too.

Ordolis said it's important to remember the people you connect with are real people with feelings, not just names in your phone.

With files from North by Northwest