Isolationships? Lock-tail Hour? Yes, Dating Terms Are Still A Thing During Corona.

Scott Hirsch
From Ghosting to Tuck-Buddies: Can You Guess Which Modern Dating Terms are Real?
Online dating has given us as many clever dating terms as it has marriages. Okay, that’s an exaggeration. But it seems that with every passing year we coin more terms to describe the horrific, humorous, or just plain bizarre behaviors prevalent in the modern dating world.

With coronavirus and the changes brought about by social distancing, you’d think that new dating terms--and the behaviors that inspire them--would have been put on pause. But nope. Just as the coronavirus has transformed the way we date, a new class of dating terms has sprouted up to cleverly document our new reality. 

From classics like “ghosting” to new additions like “Isolationships,” here’s a glossary of modern dating terms you may have experienced, may have been guilty of yourself, or may not have even heard of yet. Oh, and a few we made up, just to see if you can catch them (see answer key at the bottom).

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Glossary of Dating Terms


Keeping potential partners on the backburner in case your current relationship doesn’t pan out. Often involves sly flirting, though it may incorporate other sly dating behaviors, such as deep liking and breadcrumbing. See date piling for the corona-era version of benching.


Leaving little hints of interest for someone without acting on them. Often includes subtle Facebook comments and sporadic but persistent Instagram likes. To breadcrumb someone is to create a trail of interest that is at once suggestive and innocent.

Connectile Dysfunction

The bane of many socially-distanced couples, connectile dysfunction is an affliction in which a partner’s lackluster internet signal leads to incomplete or unsatisfying virtual sex.

Cuffing Season

A period of time, usually fall and winter, when singles pair up just to endure the dreary weather. Both parties are aware that it’s not leading anywhere, but what else is there to do in February?

What percentage of first dates end back at someone’s place? Check out our survey

Date Piling

The practice of “stockpiling” online dating matches in order to hit the ground running once the pandemic ends. Date piling is the benching of the corona era.

Deep Liking

Going way back into somebody’s Facebook or Instagram history and liking old posts in order to let them know you’re checking them out. 


Define the Relationship. A conversation about the status and future of the relationship. Usually but not always prompted by the one who’s ready to move past the situationship. 


A Covid-inspired form of foreplay that requires creative ways of arousing a partner without the aid of physical touch. 


When exes flock back to you during the pandemic because their options are suddenly limited. This is a corona-inspired version of submarining.


When someone you’re dating vanishes without word or warning. 

Google Maps-ing

When you’re running late and give your date bad directions to the restaurant so you can still beat them there. 

The HoneyZoom Phase

That magical first phase of a virtual relationship when everything is perfect and you haven’t yet started to notice the flaws in each others’ internet speeds and microphone quality. 


Relationships that have been forged in the wake of lockdowns and social distancing restrictions. Isolationships may not be the most love-fueled relationships, but as the song goes, “If you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with.”

Locktail Hour 

Zoom cocktail dates during lockdown in which each person mixes their own drinks and adjusts their own lighting accordingly.


When a partner books all your vacations in small towns on the premise of their “quaintness” and “romantic, old-timey charm,” though in reality they just can’t afford Paris. 


Bombarding a partner with good memories every time they try to raise an issue in the relationship.


When a person you’re no longer seeing purposefully remains on the peripheral of your life. Usually manifests on social media where someone views and likes your posts while maintaining an infuriating silence in real life. 


Also known as pre-cheating. Subtly scouting out your options while still in a relationship. 


Using photos of 80s film heartthrob and “Goodfellas” star Ray Liotta as your OKCupid profile pic. 


Wooing your partner from the sidewalk while they stand on the balcony. Sure, you may be separated by a pandemic and not an epic family rivalry, but romance is romance.


When someone ghosts you and later blames it on something out of their control. 


Breaking up with someone before the holidays to avoid having to buy them a gift. 


When you learn that someone you once ghosted is Facebook friends with someone who recently ghosted you and you’re forced to follow the person you ghosted online in order to track down the whereabouts of your current ghost. 


A term for a relationship that’s yet to be defined. You’ve seen each other at least a couple of times, and plan to see each other some more, but there’s no official Facebook announcement in the near future. For now you’re in a situationship. 

Slow Fade

A slow, gradual way of breaking it off with a partner. Usually includes increasingly frequent lapses in communication, excuses that become less and less convincing, and finally, a ghosting or quiet bow-out.

Spider Webbing

Creating circumstances that would make it harder to end a relationship. If your partner has left heavy furniture in your apartment, or started a successful rock band with your siblings, they may be spider-webbing you. 


When someone who ghosted you reappears out of the blue and acts as though nothing’s wrong. Similar to flu-meranging (see above). 

The Clean Thrill of Health

The buzz from finally hooking up with a match after you’ve both tested negative for corona.

Tuck Buddy

Someone you keep hooking up with because they have exquisite bedding. Signs that you might be someone’s tuck buddy: they only call you after long flights, and their dirty talk involves thread counts and exotic fabric names. 


Blaming your grammar mistakes, inappropriate tweets, or poor sexting skills on self-diagnosed Covid symptoms. 

Masks On Our Faces, Hearts On Our Sleeves 

Covid-19 has drastically changed the dating world. But the fact that we’ve so quickly adapted to socially-distanced dating is a testament to both our ingenuity and to the power of love. Sure, we may have to flirt from balconies and computer screens for the time being, but if these new dating terms prove anything, it’s that we’re more than up to the challenge. So, there’s no need to delete those dating apps. Just get creative, follow your heart (and the guidelines), stay safe, and before you know it, your “farplay” could lead to an “isolationship” that might one day become a true LTR. 

Answer Key 

These are the terms from the list that we made up:

  • Connectile Dysfunction
  • Cordus Interruptus
  • Google Maps-ing
  • HoneyZoom Phase
  • Mellencamp-ing
  • Montaging, Raygiarizing
  • Romeo-ing
  • Scapeghosting
  • Séance-ing
  • Spider-webbing
  • The Clean Thrill of Health
  • Tuck Buddy
  • Typochondriac
Scott Hirsch
Scott is a content writer who has worked as a special education teacher, lifestyle writer, and researcher. He enjoys literature and travel and believes that a sense of wonder and curiosity is the key to living a fulfilled life.