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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

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?

Desert Island
Photograph: Courtesy Desert Island

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 weekly anthology.

Sets you back: FREE

Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

Laughs and views

Start out an evening in LIC by sauntering through Gantry Plaza State Park, a waterfront respite that boasts a beautiful midtown-Manhattan backdrop. Next, head to double-tiered comedy venue The Creek and the Cave, which welcomes stand-ups (including occasional surprise bigwigs like Jerry Seinfeld), improv troupes and variety shows every night of the week, often for nada. Prove that you’re not that much of a Costanza by springing for some fish and pork tacos ($4–$6). 

Sets you back: $12–$15

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Pete's Candy Store, live music venue, Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Free gigs and high-end cocktails

Wait until you’ve been out a few times and you’re ready to squeeze in nice and close before hitting the teeny back room of Pete’s Candy Store, which hosts no-cover shows by indie artists and acoustic troubadours every night of the week. Afterward, head around the corner to The Shanty, a naked brick-and-concrete bar attached to the New York Distilling Company that offers some pretty sweet happy hour specials.

Sets you back: $16–$24

Syndicated, dine-in movie theater
Photograph: Courtesy Michael Tulipan

Dinner and a movie

Movie theaters Independent East Williamsburg

This overrated date night comes in handy, especially when the cost is dirt cheap. Unlike other movie theaters, Syndicated let’s you wine and dine while you watch a classic flick. Get this: movie tickets are $7 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: $7-$25

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Hot-and-heavy at Alameda’s happy hour

Restaurants American Greenpoint

This Greenpoint bar knows how to set the mood with rustic wooden tables and romantic lighting without making you go, y’know, broke. Hell, you and your date can get a buzz and some grub for 11 or 12 bucks! You can’t go wrong with a classic beer and burger deal or something a little fancier like boquerones and Prosecco.

Sets you back: $11–$12

Photograph: Courtesy Caroline Voagen Nels

Get your groove on at midnight

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 ($6) or an order of deviled eggs ($5)—served until midnight —before you hit the dance floor.

Sets you back: $18

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Four & Twenty Blackbirds
Photograph: Lizz Kuehl

Dessert and mind-blowing 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 run you $11.50. (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’s monthly Secret Science Club event, where experts lecture on crazy-cool theories for free. Tip: Bring someone geeky to this, lest you seem…like a total geek.

Sets you back: $11.50

Van Cortlandt House Museum
Photograph: Francis Smith

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), 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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A cinematic shrine and plenty of Guinness

Secure film-buff status by bringing your date to the Museum of the Moving Image on a Friday evening (4–8pm), when the admission fee is waived. Make sure to fool around at the permanent collection’s sound-editing, dubbing and stop-motion-animation stations before leaving. Afterward, drink your fill at the charming Irish joint Quays Pub (45-02 30th Ave at 45th St, Astoria, Queens; 718-204-8435) with rounds of Guinness ($5 to $6), poured just as they should be: in two steps, so that a perfect head peeks over the rim.

Sets you back: $22

Experimental theater and suds

Take that cute starving artist to The Chocolate Factory, which hosts cheap ($15 to $20) and free avant-garde theater, dance and performance art. If you opt for a gratis show, treat yourself to libations at the roomy craft-brew haven Alewife Queens and have a deep conversation about the meaning of the work you witnessed. Get more bang for your buck by splitting a growler of the 7.2 percent ABV Beerly Legal Saison, brewed specially for the owners by Captain Lawrence.

Sets you back: $30–$50

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