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A relationship expert on the dating terms to know right now

Maria Sullivan, dating expert and VP of Dating.com, runs down everything you need to know about orbiting, breadcrumbing and more

Will Gleason
Written by
Will Gleason
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We've all been there: Your friend is walking you through their most recent break-up and they suddenly throw out a term you've never heard before. You smile and nod, but later you think to yourself... "Wait. WTF is orbiting?"

So we reached out to an expert on modern dating, Maria Sullivan, VP of Dating.com, to get the lowdown on the of-the-moment terms that we should all be familiar with while we're dating in NYC

What is breadcrumbing and what should you do if someone's doing it to you?
Breadcrumbing is the new ghosting, except instead of cutting off all types of communication out of nowhere, you string someone along even when you have no intentions of taking things further than a flirty text message. If you notice someone showing these signs, nip it in the butt and walk away from the situation. If you are feeling extra sassy, call them out on their sketchy and misleading behaviors.

What are some warning signs that you're being breadcrumbed?
Some warning signs to be on the lookout for include, texting back three days later and not committing to making a plan to hang out in person.

What is orbitting? 
It's when your relationship ends, and you remove that person from your life completely, but you still find your self-liking their social media posts.

What are some helpful ways to stop ourselves if we find ourselves orbitting an ex?
If you find yourself orbiting an ex, make sure you remove them from your social media channels to prevent you from constantly checking and engaging with your ex’s content.

If you're feeling like you're being orbitted, and want to establish a relationship with that person, what are some good ways to reach out or make a move?
If you notice you are being orbited by someone you had a falling out with, it shows that they still care and just aren’t over the situation yet. After a significant amount of time, reaching out with a phone call or text message will help smooth over the situation and hopefully resolve the issue.

What's sliding into someone’s DMs? 
It's when you sent a direct message to someone on social media.

Is there a socially acceptable/non-creepy way to "slide into someone's DMs" and pursue a potential romantic interest that you follow on Twitter or Instagram?
This is tricky, but totally do-able! If you are looking to slide into your crushes DMs make sure you avoid doing so during the wee hours of the morning. Many people meet their significant others on social media, but make sure to keep it light and playful. Start off with a simple reply to a story on Instagram or Snapchat, or respond to a recent tweet to make it timely.

Looking for a cheap date idea?

  • Sports and fitness
  • Sports & Fitness

If your date can't volley some jokes while gently hitting a plastic ball across the table, well, maybe that's a foul. See if you two hit it off over a game of table tennis at Ping Pod. These 24/7 ping pong pods are popping up all over NYC. Pricing ranges from $15-$50/session depending on demand (be sure to book online in advance).

We recommend trying the Astoria location so that after you've worked up an appetite, you can walk a few blocks to The Freakin Rican for one of the city's best cheap eats: The $4.25 alcapurrias. 

Set you back: $25+

  • Museums
  • Art and design
  • The Bronx
  • price 1 of 4

Grab some lunch at 188 Bakery Cuchifritos in the Bronx, a casual lunch counter focusing on all things pork with recipes of Puerto Rican and Dominican provenance. Cuchifritos are the fan-favorite, the standout morcilla (aka blood sausage) in particular — and it's only $2.

Then, head a few subway stops uptown to the Bronx Museum of the Arts where you can see more than 1,000 works of art and imrpess your date with just how cultured you are. The Bronx Museum of the Arts is always free to visit. 

Set you back: $15

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  • Attractions
  • Parks and gardens
  • Chelsea

Stroll The High Line with your sweetie, a place of respite among the concrete jungle. While this spot is most popular during the warm months, its fun to visit any time of year. 

Don't miss the rotating works of sculpture and art by different artists every season. Also keep an eye out for free star gazing nights and lively cultural happenings like Latin dance nights. The best part, however, has to be the people watching: Grab a seat on the stairs over looking busy Tenth Avenue and see locals and visitors from all walks of life milling their way about the city.

Set you back: FREE

  • Bars
  • Breweries
  • Williamsburg

If you and your sweetheart are major beer enthusiasts, Brooklyn Brewery hosts an intimate tour (no more than 30 souls), where you can geek out and get an exclusive look around the joint. The informative guide not only gives you an in-depth history lesson about the brewery, but a beer tasting along the way.

And you won’t walk away empty-handed either: all participants leave with a complimentary souvenir glass, so you’ll have a little something to remember the date by (besides the hangover.)

Sets you back: $48+ (tours start at $24/person)

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  • Movie theaters
  • Independent
  • East Williamsburg
  • price 2 of 4

This overrated date night comes in handy, especially when the cost is dirt cheap. Unlike other movie theaters, Syndicated lets you wine and dine while you watch a classic flick. Get this: movie tickets are just $9 apiece. And since the movie is so affordable, you can schmooze your date by splurging on some gourmet popcorn from the concession stand.

Sets you back: $18+

Dessert and nerdery

It’s been scientifically proven that nothing in the known universe is more romantic than pie. At Gowanus go-to Four & Twenty Blackbirds, two slices of shop faves like salted apple caramel or grapefruit custard will cost about $12. (Arrive early in the evening, as they tend to sell out.)

Then, fill your head with, you know, actual scientifically proven knowledge at the Bell House for a free dance party or a show like Secret Science Club. Tip: Bring someone geeky to this, lest you seem…like a total geek.

Sets you back: $12

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  • Bars
  • Pubs
  • Park Slope

No matter how tight your budget, you can still get loose on the dance floor at Park Slope's Union Hall. Free dance parties go down most Saturday nights, featuring DJs spinning old-school hip-hop crowd pleasers and heavy-hitters at midnight. Check out the drink specials and definitely split a basket of fries ($7) or wings ($13)—served until midnight —before you hit the dance floor.

Sets you back: $20

Graphic Love Stories

Nerd is the new cool and nothing says nerdtastic like a good comic book. Geeky sweethearts, make your way to Williamsburg's quaint comic book store, Desert IslandDiscover each other's favorites or grab a copy of Smoke Signal, the shop's free anthology.

Sets you back: FREE

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Cans o’ beer and lush gardens

Enjoy the city’s cheapest booze cruise and panoramic views of lower Manhattan aboard the Staten Island Ferry, where domestic cans are in the $5 range.

Once ashore in Staten Island, take an eight-minute bus ride and tour the grand estates and lovely waterfront grounds of Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden, originally established as a retirement estate for sailors in 1801. Tickets cost $5/person.

Sets you back: $30

Nature and history in the Bronx

Seeing an outdoorsy guy or gal but don’t have the gas money to drive upstate? Fortunately, there’s ample natural beauty to explore in Van Cortlandt Park. The secluded banks of Van Cortlandt Lake (in the southwest region) are begging for a quiet but passionate make-out session.

Post-smooching, stop by the Van Cortlandt House Museum ($5/person), just west of the lake. Its 1740s stone edifice hosted George Washington twice in the midst of the Revolutionary War, and the current interior features re-creations of furnishings favored by the abode’s namesake, the rich merchant and mayor Jacobus Van Cortlandt.

Sets you back: $10

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