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The Rise of Orbiting: Understanding the Latest Dating Trend and How it Differs from Ghosting

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The Rise of Orbiting: Understanding the Latest Dating Trend and How it Differs from Ghosting


In the fast-paced world of modern romance, new dating trends constantly emerge, shedding light on the complexities of human connections. ‘Orbiting’ has recently gained attention as a phenomenon that differs from the well-known ‘Ghosting’ practice. While ‘Ghosting’ involves suddenly cutting off communication with no explanation, ‘Orbiting’ takes a different approach, with individuals maintaining a presence in the other’s social media orbit while avoiding meaningful engagement. This behavior raises questions about boundaries, communication, and mental health in relationships. Join us as we delve into the nuances of ‘Orbiting’ and explore its impact on the ever-evolving dating landscape.

Orbiting vs. Ghosting: Key Differences

In the realm of modern dating, ‘Orbiting’ and ‘Ghosting’ are two prevalent behaviors that can leave individuals feeling confused and emotionally drained. While both involve a form of disengagement, there are key differences that set them apart.

Definition and Nature

Orbiting: When someone ‘orbits’ you, they maintain a presence in your social media circle by liking posts, viewing stories, and engaging with your digital footprint. This behavior can give the illusion of continued interest or a lingering connection, even though there is no direct communication. Why do people orbit? It could be for many reasons. Perhaps they are bored, are curious about your life and what you’ve been up to, or they simply accidently watched your story or liked your social media. It could be all these reasons, one of them, or something else. Unfortunately, it’s hard to know exactly why you’re being orbited due to the nature of the behavior.

Ghosting: On the other hand, ‘Ghosting’ refers to a complete and sudden cessation of communication. The individual disappears without explanation, leaving the other person feeling abandoned and uncertain about the status of the relationship. The person who ghosted you can orbit; they may watch your stories, like your posts, but not reply to any direct messages, calls or requests for communication.

Intent and Impact

Orbiting: Orbiting can be damaging to one’s emotional well-being. The constant digital presence can lead to prolonged feelings of attachment and false hope, preventing individuals from fully moving on.

Ghosting: Ghosting, on the other hand, is more abrupt and final, and can cause immediate distress and confusion. The lack of closure can leave the person on the receiving end grappling with unanswered questions and a sense of rejection. Note: Somebody may ghost you and then orbit you by ignoring any direct communication but continuing to view your social media stories or like your online posts.

Emotional Toll

Orbiting: The consistent online interactions in Orbiting can create a sense of emotional limbo, where individuals struggle to heal and let go due to the ongoing digital reminders of the past relationship.

Ghosting: Ghosting, with its swift and complete cutoff, can trigger feelings of self-doubt, worthlessness, and betrayal. The sudden disappearance can shatter trust and lead to lingering feelings of hurt and rejection. 

By understanding these distinctions between Orbiting and Ghosting, individuals can better navigate the complexities of modern dating dynamics and protect their emotional well-being in the process.

Signs of Orbiting in a Relationship

In the realm of modern dating, ‘orbiting’ has emerged as a subtle yet impactful phenomenon that can leave individuals feeling confused and emotionally drained. Understanding the signs of orbiting is crucial in recognizing this behavior in a relationship and taking necessary steps to address it. Below are some common signs that indicate someone may be orbiting you:

1. Consistent Social Media Interaction

One of the primary signs of orbiting is when an individual consistently interacts with your social media posts, such as liking photos, commenting, or viewing your stories, despite little to no direct communication in real life. This behavior can create a false sense of connection while maintaining a distance in the relationship.

2. Hot and Cold Communication

Orbiting often involves sporadic and inconsistent communication patterns, where the individual may reach out occasionally with brief messages or likes, only to disappear or become unresponsive for extended periods. This behavior can lead to mixed signals and uncertainty about the person’s intentions.

3. Avoidance of Direct Interaction

Individuals who engage in orbiting may actively avoid engaging in direct conversations or making plans to meet in person. They may prefer to keep communication superficial and limited to online platforms, avoiding deeper emotional or personal discussions.

4. Comparison with Past Interactions

If you notice that the individual frequently references past interactions or memories shared with you but does not make an effort to create new experiences or deepen the connection, it could be a sign of orbiting. This behavior suggests a reluctance to progress the relationship beyond a certain point.

5. Failure to Define the Relationship

A significant indicator of orbiting is the lack of clarity or commitment in defining the relationship. The individual may keep the dynamic ambiguous, refusing to label it or make future plans, which can lead to feelings of uncertainty and frustration on your part.

Recognizing these signs of orbiting in a relationship is the first step towards addressing this behavior and setting boundaries to prioritize your emotional well-being. Communication, honesty, and self-awareness play crucial roles in navigating the complexities of modern dating trends like orbiting.

Dealing with Orbiting Behavior

In the realm of modern dating, dealing with ‘Orbiting’ behavior can be challenging and emotionally taxing. Here are some effective strategies to navigate this phenomenon:

1. Acknowledge Your Feelings

It’s essential to acknowledge and validate your feelings when faced with ‘Orbiting.’ Accept that it is natural to feel confused, hurt, or frustrated by someone orbiting around you without fully engaging. Remember that your emotions are valid, and it’s crucial to address them.

2. Communicate Openly

Engage in open and honest communication with the person who is orbiting you. Express how their behavior makes you feel and set clear boundaries. Clearly communicate your expectations in the relationship and don’t hesitate to express your needs and concerns.

3. Focus on Self-Care

During this challenging time, prioritize self-care and well-being. Engage in activities that bring you joy and relaxation, whether it’s spending time with loved ones, practicing mindfulness, or pursuing hobbies. Taking care of yourself emotionally and mentally is crucial when dealing with challenging relationship dynamics. 

4. Seek Support

Don’t hesitate to seek support from friends, family, a coach, or a licensed mental health professional. Talking about your feelings and experiences with someone you trust can offer valuable insights and emotional support. A therapist can provide guidance on setting boundaries, building self-esteem, and navigating complex relationship dynamics.

5. Set Healthy Boundaries

The ultimate way to shut down an orbiter is to block them online. Establishing clear boundaries is crucial when dealing with ‘Orbiting’ behavior. Define what behavior is acceptable to you and act accordingly.  Prioritize your well-being: blocking the person who is orbiting you can be an act of self-care. If you don’t want to block the orbiter, stop looking at who is viewing your stories. Turn off all social media notifications, and even take a break from social media. Make a point to not look at the orbiter’s social media.

By implementing these strategies, you can navigate ‘Orbiting’ behavior with resilience and self-empowerment, prioritizing your emotional well-being and fostering healthy relationships. Remember that you deserve to be valued, respected and have a line of open communication in any relationship you choose to engage in.

Impact of Orbiting on Mental Health

The rise of orbiting in modern dating culture has significant implications for mental health. When someone is orbiting you, it means they keep in touch through social media by liking your posts, watching your stories, or commenting, but they avoid actual communication. This behavior can have a detrimental impact on one’s mental well-being.

Emotional Turmoil and Uncertainty

The act of being orbited can lead to emotional turmoil and confusion. It creates a sense of uncertainty and can stir up feelings of rejection or inadequacy. The constant presence of the orbiter in your online sphere can keep the emotional wounds fresh, preventing closure and healing.

Anxiety and Obsessive Thoughts

Being orbited can trigger anxiety and obsessive thoughts. The inconsistent behavior of the orbiter, who seems present yet remains distant, can cause the person being orbited to constantly analyze and overthink the situation. This can lead to heightened levels of stress and anxiety.

Self-Esteem and Self-Worth

The phenomenon of orbiting can also impact one’s self-esteem and self-worth. Constantly seeing notifications from the orbiter without any meaningful interaction can make individuals question their value and importance. It can create a cycle of seeking validation from external sources, affecting confidence levels.

Coping Strategies

To protect mental health in the face of orbiting, it’s important to set boundaries and prioritize self-care. Blocking the orbiter, engaging in activities that promote self-esteem, seeking support from friends or a therapist, and practicing mindfulness can help mitigate the negative effects of orbiting on mental well-being. It’s also helpful to take a break from social media.

Orbiting can take a toll on mental health by fostering emotional turmoil, anxiety, and impacting self-esteem. recognizing the signs of orbiting and implementing strategies to protect mental well-being is crucial in navigating this modern dating trend.

Setting Boundaries in the Orbiting Era

In the age of modern dating, where technology plays a significant role in our relationships, setting boundaries is crucial to maintain emotional well-being. Here are some essential strategies for setting boundaries in the orbiting era:

Communicate Openly

It is essential to communicate openly with your partner about what behaviors are acceptable and what are not. Discuss your comfort levels with social media interactions, texting frequency, and overall communication patterns. Setting clear expectations can help prevent misunderstandings and avoid potential issues related to orbiting. For example, if your significant other is orbiting you but ignoring your texts, call them on the phone and discuss how you feel about the situation.

Define Your Limits

Take the time to reflect on your personal boundaries and what you are willing to tolerate in a relationship. Identify specific actions or behaviors that make you uncomfortable and communicate them assertively. Remember that setting boundaries is not about controlling the other person but about advocating for your emotional needs.

Practice Self-Care

Engage in self-care practices to nurture your emotional well-being and strengthen your sense of self-worth. Take care of yourself and prioritize your mental health. Make time for activities that bring you joy and relaxation that are not screen oriented, and seek support from friends or a therapist if needed.

Quotes for Inspiration:

  1. “Boundaries protect our time and energy, allowing us to focus on what truly matters.” – Greg McKeown 

  2. “When we fail to set boundaries and hold people accountable, we feel used and mistreated.” - Brené Brown

Remember that setting boundaries is about respecting yourself and your needs while fostering healthy relationships. You may benefit by setting boundaries with yourself by limiting your screen time, taking a break from social media, and blocking or unfollowing the person who is orbiting you. By establishing clear boundaries in the orbiting era, you empower yourself to navigate modern dating trends with confidence and self-assurance. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why do people orbit?

  • There are a number of reasons why people orbit. They may be curious about your life and what you’ve been up to, or they accidently watched your story because their phone was on. Maybe they are testing you and waiting to see how you’ll respond. It’s possible that they want to see if you’re dating somebody new. It could be all these reasons, one of them, or something else. Since somebody who is orbiting is not communicating with you directly, it’s hard to know exactly why you’re being orbited. 

What is the difference between orbiting and ghosting?

  • Orbiting involves someone staying connected on social media after a breakup, while ghosting is cutting off all communication abruptly. The person who ghosted you can still orbit - they can look at your social media stories or like your posts but refuse to communicate with you directly.

How can you recognize if you are being orbited in a relationship?

  • Signs of orbiting include consistently viewing your social media stories/posts without any direct communication.

Is orbiting behavior harmful to one’s mental health?

  • Yes, orbiting can lead to confusion, anxiety, and a sense of being emotionally manipulated, affecting one’s mental well-being.

How should one deal with being orbited by an ex-partner?

  • Set clear boundaries, block the ghost online, stop looking at who viewed your stories, limit or stop social media, and prioritize your emotional well-being by seeking support from friends, a coach or a therapist.

Can orbiting behavior be addressed and resolved within a relationship?

  • Open communication about boundaries and expectations is key. If the behavior persists despite clear communication, it may be necessary to reevaluate the relationship dynamics.


Understanding the nuances of ‘orbiting’ as a modern dating trend is essential in navigating the complexities of relationships in today’s digital age. Distinguishing it from ‘ghosting’ provides insight into the impact it can have on individuals’ mental well-being. By recognizing the signs of ‘orbiting’, setting clear boundaries (such as blocking them online), and knowing how to effectively deal with such behavior, individuals can empower themselves to maintain healthy and respectful connections. The rise of ‘orbiting’ underscores the need for open communication, self-care practices, and a deeper understanding of digital communication etiquette in fostering fulfilling relationships. Embracing awareness and proactive measures in response to ‘orbiting’ can contribute to more meaningful and authentic relationship dynamics in the evolving landscape of modern dating.

Interested in going to therapy? Visit for 10% off your first month of therapy with BetterHelp and get matched with a therapist who will listen and help.

Here at Coping with Ghosting, we understand the complexities of navigating modern relationships. We offer a supportive community, resources, and tools to help you heal from emotional hurt and build strong, trusting connections. Visit today to explore our blog posts, podcasts, and workshops designed to empower you to navigate the intricacies of relationships with confidence and clarity.


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