There’s Now a Term For When You’ve Been Ghosted But They Go Through Your Social Media

A cute guy once slid into my Instagram DMs and it sparked a little romance. After a few days, we agreed to meet for dinner. We had a great time and casually made plans to meet again. We talked via the app for a while after that but he slowly disappeared. Classic ghosting story. For those who aren’t aware, ghosting is when someone ends a blossoming romance by suddenly disappearing like Casper.

But the thing is, this guy was still present on my social media, especially my Instagram Stories. He always views my stories. Without fail. If in the first few hours his profile photo didn’t appear, it would appear just hours before the story expired.

Yes, I’m aware of social media’s algorithm and I’m sure it has played a large role in this story. Because he frequently views my stories, Instagram probably placed my profile at the start of his Stories tab so he can see if I posted anything. But if he has lost interest, he would probably not view it even if I was first in line. Because he stopped viewing, the app would place my profile down the line. But there he still was, his photo still haunting me.

I wondered: is there a phenomenon to explain a ghost that haunts you? Turns out there is.

It’s called orbiting. Simply put, it’s when someone has stopped reaching out but continues to linger in your social through views, likes, and favorites. It might even be worse than ghosting because ghosting means the person has disappeared off the face of the earth. It’s harder to move on when the person hovers online, lurking in the dark.

The term orbiting was invented by Anna Iovine, a writer who wrote a story last month on the topic on the website Man Repeller. There, she described dating a man who ghosted her after two dates. She coined the term to describe the situation where a suitor keeps you in his or her orbit: close enough to see each other; far enough to never talk.

It looks like I’m not the only one who has experienced it. Check out some of the reactions on Twitter:

So what can we do about orbiting?

It’s hard to say because it depends on how emotionally invested you are. It’s harder to move on if you’ve been going out for a while or if you’ve developed deep feelings. But our suggestion is to realize that you’re being orbited and that the person is probably not that interested or is keeping you as an option. It’s easier to free yourself from this sticky situation once you do.

As for me and that guy, I wasn’t all that hurt that he’s orbiting me as I didn’t like him enough to care. It’s fitting, though. Our short-lived romance started on Instagram and it ended on Instagram.

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