Out Of All The Dating Trends, 'Submarining' Has Got To Be The Worst


Dating trends. Geeze, it’s getting to the point that we can’t even keep track anymore! 

We’re currently in drafting season in preparation for cuffing season (when people look for someone to boo up with, just in time for the winter cold). Breadcrumbing (when someone gives you just enough attention to keep you around without them ever really making a commitment) annoys us to no end. Have you heard of Tindstagramming before? It’s when someone can’t get you to connect with them in Tinder, so they basically stalk you on Instagram. (Eww.) Oh, there is one we do adore. It’s called “Trumping”. It’s when people lie and say they are Trump-supporter, just to get folks to leave them alone. (HIL-AR-OUS!)

But the one that gets under our skin more than just about any of the others (at least of the ones we currently know about) is submarining. It’s when someone actually dates you for a period, goes ghost (disappears) and then randomly shows back up, without explanation, acting like nothing ever happened.

It might sound like something you wouldn’t ever get down with at first. But look at it this way. If you went out with a guy a few times, things were going well, you didn’t hear from him for several weeks and then he hits you with a text about going to the movies, he just took you down under—he just “submarined” you!

How do you avoid being a victim of this super-wack dating trend?

Casper the Friendly Ghost
1 / 5

Confront The Ghost

They say the thing that “real” and metaphorical ghosts have in common is they become less powerful if you confront them. 

In the case of your “submarine ghost”, the moment that they hit you up, no matter how much you like them or are happy to hear from them, it’s OK to not act like it’s all good. 

Don’t lead with “So, where the heck have you been?!” Start with some small chit-chat, just to keep them off of the defensive and then ask, “So, why haven’t I heard from you in a while?” 

Don’t cut them off during their explanation. Listen to it all the way through. 8.5 times out of 10, it’s gonna be a load of crap. It’s up to you if you want to shovel your way through it and try again.

Rita Ora saying "What's up?"
2 / 5

Ask What The Deal Is

Speaking of questions, it’s also OK—encouraged even—to ask them what their deal is. Maybe not just like that, but kind of on the “Were you sick?”, “Did you lose your job?” or “Did something traumatic happen?” 

For one thing, there is a possibility that these things could’ve happened. But even if they didn’t, them hearing you ask will hopefully show them how ridiculous submarining is; that there really should be no reason to do it to someone unless there was a true crisis or emergency.

woman talking about boundaries
3 / 5

Set Some Boundaries

If that is what you decide to do, please set some firm boundaries. You can’t control if they submarine you again, but you can state on the front end what your needs are and what you expect. Something along the lines of “If we’re gonna see each other, we need to communicate more regularly” is a good place to start. 

If they hesitate or stutter through their response, that’s another red flag. You know what else is? If they didn’t apologize for submarining you in the first place.

Cookie talking about what she doesn't have time for
4 / 5

Decide If Taking Them Back Is Worth It

No matter how fine, smart or funny they are or how lonely you are, you teach people how to treat you. Not to say “once a submariner, always a submariner” but do be honest with yourself about if it’s worth the risk of giving them another shot. 

If you have more reasons on your list than you missed them or the sex was off the charts, proceed. But if you can’t think of five good reasons that are based on pure common sense, chalk them reaching out as a way to make peace with what they did. Then move on.

Tamar Braxton saying "I'm done"
5 / 5

Be “One And Done”

Submarining is a form of emotional manipulation. Plain and simple. That’s why this isn’t something that you shouldn't tolerate happening more than once. 

If you take them back, it’s all good for a few months and then it’s “crickets” again? Block them from your social media and your smartphone. 

No one is worth sending yourself through that emotional roller coaster ride. Let them go submarining…alone.



Just a woman who digs all things relationships. HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS, that is. I've been writing (professionally) for close to 20 years, including having two books published. I'm also a marriage life coach and doula. Sometimes I speak to large audiences or do radio interviews, but usually I'm sitting in my favorite chair, surfin' the 'net and penning stuff that I wish I had read in my early 20s.

Listen, I don't have all the answers, not by a LOOOOONG shot. But whatever I can do to spare folks any heartbreak, bitterness or straight-up drama, I'll devote some keystrokes to doing. 

That's it...in a nutshell. For the most part. Kinda. ;)


16 Gifts You NEED If You’re The Kind Of Person Who Celebrates 4/20 Year-Round

16 Gifts You NEED If You’re The Kind Of Person Who Celebrates 4/20 Year-Round

a sad woman

6 Signs Your Self-Esteem Is Keeping You From True Love

woman with dice

11 Board Games For A Kickass Grown Up Game Night


This Dating App Matches Users To DNA Samples & It's Honestly A Little Frightening

couple hugging

5 Red Flags In A New Relationship You Should Never Ignore According To A Marriage Coach


8 Sexual And Romantic Orientations You've Probably Never Heard Of (But Just Might Identify With)