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Disclaimer: The below is solely intended for informational purposes and in no way constitutes legal advice or specific recommendations.

The only thing more difficult than keeping up with the number of new online dating apps available might be staying current on the slew of online dating terms that have cropped up in the digital age of romance and courtship.

The online social network Reddit gave birth to the latest term Wednesday when a Redditor highlighted her experience of being “trickle ghosted” by her now ex-boyfriend.

The poster shared details of how her long-term boyfriend of four years gradually cut back communication—not entirely—but to a trickle over the course of several months. This unexplained lack of communication was ultimately covering up for some shady behavior. According to “u/throwmeaway,” her now ex was cheating on her and had told mutual friends that they had broken up, while still maintaining a facade of the relationship.

“I had no idea what was going on and just wanted some sort of answer from him,” u/throwmeaway wrote. “I stopped going out as much, and didn’t really see my friends for the 2+ months he was trickle ghosting me.”

And so, from the ashes of her broken relationship emerged a new dating term: trickle ghosting.  

Ghosting: a brief history

Trickle ghosting is simply the latest form of ghosting, which gained prominence with the popularity of online dating apps like Tinder, Hinge and Match, among many others. The act of ghosting typically involves a complete cut-off in communication with someone you’ve been dating–either casually or seriously–with no explanation. This can also involve blocking an ex on social media, on a dating app or even their phone number.

The person who has been ghosted is often left in a state of surprise and confusion, not knowing if their own behavior is the cause for the sudden lack of communication. This is perhaps why ghosting, and its many variations such as zombieing and breadcrumbing, have become so reviled in the online dating space.

Instances of such actions seem to hit a collective nerve, as was the case with u/throwmeaway’s Reddit post, which has drawn over 17.6K upvotes and 1,500 comments at the time of publication.

How to deal with being trickle ghosted

The fast-paced nature of today’s online dating environment means you’re likely to experience some form of ghosting at one point or another. According to Psychology Today, about half of online daters have experienced ghosting and half have also admitted to ghosting someone. Trickle ghosting is potentially even more hurtful, as one person is strung along in a one-sided  relationship that has no future.

To avoid being trickle ghosted, emphasize communication in your relationship, and continually reinforce your expectations about what level of communication is acceptable as your relationship progresses. If you suspect something is “off,” a PeopleLooker search is one resource to potentially shed more light on the person you’re dating.