From ghosting to benching, dating trends describe all the weird and woeful ways people behave in the realm of romance. Now, there’s a new term to worry about.

Introducing “curving”: when someone rejects you in a way that is so sneaky, you probably won’t even recognise it as rejection.

It's a way of letting someone down without actually telling them you're no longer interested.

Like most buzzy dating terms, it’s a form of behaviour most singletons will be familiar with, only now there's a word for it.

Curving can take many forms.

For example, one person may conduct their insidious curving habits via texting. Maybe they take days, or even weeks, to reply to your last WhatsApp message.

But instead of leaving you hanging (note: this is ghosting), a curver will reply, but their responses will be sporadic and often apologetic e.g. “I’m so sorry for the delay, I’ve just been really busy with [insert predictable excuse here]”.

Of course, they really might have been too occupied with work, family, friends, or the washing up to take a minute out of their day to craft a message to you.

But when this kind of behaviour becomes habitual, and you find yourself spending more time waiting for this person to reply then actually engaging in conversation with them, you know they’re taking you for a ride, and a curvy one at that.

Another crafty breed of curving is when someone goes one step further and convinces you that they really want to see you, but cancels at the last minute.

They’ll say things like: “I would love to hang out with you on Saturday, but I’ve got this [insert predictable excuse here] thing that I really can’t get out of. Let’s definitely do something soon though”.

So, you twiddle your thumbs and wait for “soon”. But, dear singleton, with a curver, “soon” will never come, and the longer you wait around for them, the more disappointed you’ll be when you realise they actually had no intention of ever seeing you.

“Curving is certainly a major problem that many of my dating coaching clients experience,” explains dating coach James Preece.

“Deep down, they know that the other person isn't that interested but they still hold out hope.  They convince themselves that they are just having a bad day/week/month. If they can say the right thing they'll magically become keen again.”

When a person curves you, it’s usually their way of trying to cool things down without explicitly saying so, Preece tells The Independent.

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“They don't want to talk to them but they don't know how to end it. It's easier to have short, boring interactions rather than directly state they don't want to see them.  This is a lack of respect and only leaves the other person feeling sad and confused.”

Dating psychologist Madeleine Mason adds that people who curve often behave in this way to boost their own ego, because continuing to brush off someone who is romantically interested in them makes them feels more desirable.

But, she tells The Independent, ultimately it boils down to the person being curved to put an end to this behaviour.

“The person who keeps texting and accepting poor quality responses is at fault,” she says, advising anyone currently being curved to have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to behaviour, which can be both cruel and manipulative.

The Independent's Millennial Love group is the best place to discuss to the highs and lows of modern dating and relationships. Join the conversation here.​

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