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We all know what ghosting is, but stashing is more subtle and may be even worse.

Stashing is a new term, but not a new concept (Image via Reader's Digest)

Defining a relationship can be complicated. Figuring out what your partner means to you and, even worse, attempting to guess what you mean to your partner can easily force relationships to a precipice of total discomfort. The dating world has certainly offered a multitude of new terms and concepts, trying to help ease the burden of understanding what is actually going on in people’s lives and relationships.

Many people make the argument that taking a risk at love and possible heartbreak is greater than feeling nothing at all. Essentially, if love is the finish line, hate is not actually the loser circle. That location is reserved for indifference. Perhaps because of these exact sentiments, a term was popularized in our culture. “Ghosting” is the term used when one person in a relationship disappears and cuts off all forms of communication without any reason or explanation given to the other person. This twenty-first-century term can have terrible effects on a person, forcing them to question what they did wrong, how they could have acted differently or how they should have changed. It calls for personal reflection, but in an extremely negative light.

While ghosting is definitely a problem in the dating world, a new trend known as “stashing” is plaguing people to an even greater extent. The term was first coined by Ellen Scott, who writes for Metro UK and explains the concept as a progressive phenomenon that happens sneakily over the course of a relationship. This trend is when someone is dating someone else, but actively chooses to hide them away from other people in their lives.

If you find yourself reading this article and wondering if you could be a victim of stashing, first think of the parents you have never been introduced to, the friends you’ve never met or the social media posts you have never been tagged in. If all of these things are ringing a familiar bell and happen in your own relationship, then you are being stashed.

Stashing is often hard to recognize, seeing as in private moments, it is clear that you and your significant other are in a committed relationship. However, when your significant other does not admit the existence of your relationship publicly or to other important people in their lives, you are not receiving the love and respect you deserve. So how can you recognize if you are being stashed?

1. You have never met your partner’s family.

There have been numerous times when your parents have invited your partner to dinner or family events. You have constantly added your partner to your reservations or plans, but you yourself have never been the “plus one” to any event your partner or their family has hosted.

2. You are virtually nonexistent on your partner’s social media pages.

If you received a notification that your partner has posted a photo with you, then he/she is not hiding you from anyone. However, if you scroll through the photo array you have been tagged in over the course of several months and your significant other has never been the one to initiate the tagging, then you might have a problem.

With the connections and accessibility that social media offers, it is easy for family members to see who you are spending your time with. In an effort to keep you hidden, your partner will most likely keep their social media pages dedicated to selfies, landscapes or pictures of entire friend groups together.

3. Your partner will blame their friends for being the reason you are being kept in the dark.

In an effort to deflect the blame off of themselves, your partner will mostly likely tell you that their friends are too immature or too embarrassing for the two of you to be together with them in public settings. Perhaps your partner will tell you that the two of you can meet up in private, but there is never an effort to be together publically, especially in a setting where others could confirm the status of your relationship.

It is easy to read these warning signs and believe that perhaps you did something wrong to make your partner want to hide you from other important people in their life. One thing that remains true as this dating trend persists is the feeling that you are replaceable. Perhaps the relationship you are in is temporary and does not have any long-term prospect; however, it is always better to know if your partner feels like you are interchangeable and replaceable.

No one deserves to be stashed away and there should always be a sense of pride in a relationship and in your partner.

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