Getting to the relationship stage can be challenging enough without having to navigate situations like benching and soft-launching, but we also have to deal with ‘stashing’, another painful dating trend that has made its way onto the scene.
Imagine you’ve been dating your partner for a while now, and everything seems to be going well. You’ve introduced them to your family, taken them on nights out with your friends, they’ve even made a few cameos on your social media pages. But hang on. Have you met their friends even once? And why do they avoid mentioning you on the phone?
If this sounds familiar to you, then you might be being stashed.
What is stashing?
Stashing, a term coined by Metro’s Ellen Scott in 2017, is the super confidence-boosting dating trend where your partner, for whatever reason, hides you away and keeps you from being involved in other aspects of their life. It’s as if they don’t want the people around them to know that they’re dating you. Yet, they still keep you around.
Aspects of stashing are somewhat normal early on in the relationship when you’re still testing the waters and getting caught up in each other’s company. But after you’ve been together for some time, stashing can become rather suspicious.
After a while, excuses start coming as to why you won’t be invited along to the dinner party or why your partner’s parents are just too busy to meet you; and you start to wonder whether they’re actually ashamed to be seen with you.
Ellen Scott described that ‘stashers’ often hide their romance from their public life ‘because that way, they’re able to pretend that they’re not really dating the person they’re stashing, meaning they can justify getting with other people, doing whatever they fancy, and being generally inconsiderate and awful.’
Of course, this kind of behaviour is enough to get anyone down and can be a kick to the knee of our self-esteem and confidence.
What should you do if you’re being stashed?
If you think you’re being stashed you have one of two options.
The first is to sit your partner down and talk to them about how you’re feeling. Ask them why they’re hiding you away and let it be known that you deserve a bit more of a show about you.
It seems daunting, but if all goes well, your partner will offer up a reasonable explanation, and you can work towards a solution that works for the both of you.
But then again, not everything goes the way we hope and once confronted, your partner may try to feign innocence. Maybe they evade the situation by claiming they haven’t spoken to their family much lately or that they didn’t think you’d like hanging out with their friends. Worst off, your partner could turn the situation on you and demand to know why it matters so much what other people think or why you place so much importance in social media presence.
If you think your partner isn’t sincere in their response, then you’re left with the second option: run.
Stashing is a soul-crushing dating trend, and nobody deserves to suffer through that. Not to mention stashing could be a huge red flag that something more sinister is going on. Sometimes it really is just best to walk away and save yourself the heartbreak.