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The internet has helped change the way people talk to each other — especially when it comes to dating. But, one thing that might take you aback is the fact that just like language in general, online jargon is always changing.
The good part about these new linguistic shortcuts is that they’re usually pretty easy to pick up on once you’ve identified them — and once you’re more experienced with the world of online dating, these dating acronyms and emojis will become second nature. Here are some commonly used terms that singles might want to know before filling out a dating profile.
DTR stands for “define the relationship,” and it’s often when couples don’t have clarity on where they stand and need to talk about what the relationship or situationship is. Are you officially off the market, or are you still in the casual dating realm?
If you’re not quite sure where things are going, a simple “I like you, but I want to DTR to see if we’re on the same page here” text will clear things up.
If you want an easy way to remember what NSA means in dating, just think of the NSYNC album “No Strings Attached.” NSA, not to be confused with NSFW (not safe for work), means that you’re looking for a casual fling without titles or obligations.
If you write in your dating profile that you’re seeking NSA relationships, you’re making it clear to other singles that you’re not pursuing a steady relationship. NSA daters desire an adult relationship that is more physical than emotional. Yes, some people may change their minds after a few dates, but in general, it’s a good sign you’ll get your heart broken if you’re trying to turn an NSA date into a long-lasting and serious connection.
Be cautious if you’re using the eggplant emoji to tell your family about a great new eggplant casserole recipe. They’ll likely assume its referring to a penis. Often used for sexting, the eggplant emoji is great to use for digital foreplay. It’s also a much safer bet to send to a new romantic connection instead of a picture of the real thing, especially if you’re not sure if those advances are wanted.
You can also pair this emoji with a few others — like a mouth emoji, or a sweat droplet emoji — to get specific ideas across to a sexting partner. It’s a good way opener to sexting because you can gauge the person’s response and see if they’re open to escalating the conversation. If your match sends a banana or peach emoji in response, you’re in, and it’s on!
Very similar to NSA, the FWB title has been around for some time. FWB stands for “friends with benefits,” and the term is used to define a relationship built on mutual respect, sexual encounters, and … well, not much else. For example, you wouldn’t expect a FWB relationship to automatically be your plus one at a wedding. FWB relationships vary, and you often have to set up boundaries for what you expect out of it. If you’re feeling flirty with a connection but aren’t looking for anything serious, you can ask them if they’re interested in being your FWB.
ENM refers to ethical non-monogamy, which means a couple or poly group has agreed to have an open relationship. If you have polyamorous dating fantasies, this may best a good acronym worth exploring. In an ethically non-monogamist relationship, both partners have permission to explore both romantic and sexual relationships with others.
Ethical non-monogamy usually requires a good amount of communication between partners. It can be a healthy relationship dynamic with the proper boundaries and expectations in place. Telling singles that you’re in an ENM relationship is a great way to communicate that you’re not officially single, but have permission to date people outside your primary relationship.
Coffee Meets Bagel (or CMB) is a popular dating site for people looking for long-term relationships. Oftentimes, daters will shorten the dating app’s name to CMB because it’s less of a mouthful. Before signing up and exploring matches, online daters should know that CMB refers to its potential match prospects as “bagels,” and both bagels need to agree to a match to start chatting with each other.
If you want to start flirting with a romantic interest, a tongue emoji may be the best way to get those feelings across through text. A tongue can be seen as playful, sexy, or thirsty. Daters often pair the tongue with other emojis to indicate licking different body parts. If you happen to be at a stage in your relationship where you’re sexting, you may find yourself using the tongue emoji more than average.
There are actually two meanings of BAE — used in lowercase letters, it is a term of endearment that stands for “baby,” or a significant other. In capital letters, as an acronym, BAE signifies “before anyone else.” If you call someone your BAE, you’re signifying that they are prioritized in your life.
If you’re serious about someone and want to lock down the relationship (DTR!), telling them that they’re your BAE is a solid step forward.
The heart eyes emoji is a great way to express to a partner or dating aspect that you love and adore them. Daters in online chats often use the heart eyes emoji to communicate appreciation for something the other person said. It’s a safe way to express positive feelings if you’ve never expressed them otherwise, and is generally well-received.
If you’ve been with your partner for a long time, consider yourself to be in an LTR — aka a long-term relationship. LTRs are relationships that go the distance and last for years, or maybe even decades.
Writing LTR in your dating profile is also a way to indicate that you’re looking for a long-term relationship and not a casual hookup. While LTRs offer a lot of benefits, it’s not necessarily what everyone wants, so stating your intentions with a dating acronym can be a good way to weed out potential matches who aren’t looking for a commitment.
A peach emoji might be innocent if you get a text from your grandmother about her famous peach pie, but in the dating world, a peach emoji means something completely different. The peach has a resemblance to a certain body part, and daters often send it as a compliment to someone with a lot of junk in their trunk, if you know what I mean.
Usually, a peach is a stand-in for a butt. It’s commonly used during sexting, or if you want to send a one-time steamy message to a partner while they’re at work that’d also be appropriate if accidentally seen by someone else. You can blame the cleft for why it quickly got this distinction among texters.
Initially crafted in the early 1990s, a MILF stands for “Mother I’d Like To…” well, you know. Hint: Not friend! Reserved for exceptionally attractive mothers, the MILF term expresses attraction and sexual desire toward an older woman. If you’re interested in dating mature women, you might use this phrase often. Looking to see who might qualify as being a MILF? Just check out movies like The Graduate or American Pie.
If the heart emoji isn’t doing it for you, “ILU” is a dating acronym that means simply “I love you.” A romantic person can use the dating term to show affection via text. If you receive this message and want a cute way to return the sentiment, “ILU2” should work perfectly. This acronym isn’t just reserved for romantic relationships either — you can also use it for family members and trusted friends.
It’s one thing to know where you and your partner stand, and it’s another for the world to know. In the modern age, many couples have used social media as a step forward in their relationship. FBO stands for Facebook Official.
If your relationship is FBO, that means you’ve set your relationship status on Facebook to “in a relationship,” and it’s up there for everyone to see.
When it’s official on Facebook, anyone else your partner tries to talk to will know they’re spoken for.
There are a few different types of sweat emojis out there, but the red-faced sweat emoji is often used to convey attraction. If someone sends a sultry shot, a sweat emoji is a good response back if you want to pay them a compliment. You can also use a fire emoji if you think the sweat emoji is too bold.
BBW refers to a big beautiful woman. The shorthand is an empowering way to define plus-size women in the dating world. It can also be used by daters to describe their preferred type. Using BBW exudes confidence and positivity about the fact that women come in all shapes and sizes. If a woman labels herself as a BBW, she’s most likely a confident dater who knows herself and what she deserves.
If someone says they have an MBA, that means they have a master’s degree — but if they are MBA, they’re stating that they’re married but available. MBA is often used in online dating to tacitly explain a person’s situation.
MBA is not one thing. Singles will need to dive a bit deeper to see if an MBA person is interested in an extramarital affair, or if their partner is on board for a polyamorous relationship. Regardless of the circumstances, getting on the same page with a new person is key for any relationship dynamic.
Adult Friend Finder is a popular hookup site geared toward people looking for a sexual relationship. If someone asks if you’re on AFF, they’re likely trying to gauge if you’re down for hookups (aka DTF). While plenty of romantic matches have been made on AFF, most users have an easier time finding long-term love on more mainstream dating sites like eharmony or Match.
Put together, the popcorn and snowflake emojis stand for Netflix and chill. When put in a dating context, the term “Netflix and chill” may mean more than you think. It doesn’t just refer to an innocent movie date, most users ask potential partners to Netflix and chill when they’re looking to hook up by the time the credits roll.
A bit of savvy knowledge about popular dating terms can go a long way in your text conversations. By incorporating some of this lingo while chatting with potential partners, you may find it easier to get on the same page. Acronyms and emojis are a good way to dip your toe into important topics, including sexting, conveying emotions or ideas that you may not want to put into words just yet.
Now that you’re up to speed on the dating lingo, it’s time to DTR and maybe go FBO with someone new.