What Is Curving? The Dating Trend That’s So Much Worse Than Ghosting

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Curving — meaning on the dating scene — is worse than ghosting. Many of us have experienced ghosting, where a person we're attracted to and are dating suddenly disappears without explanation.

But there are other dating trends that match and are even worse than ghosting. And one trend that's leading to heartbreak is called curving.

Curving is truly horrendous.

You can tell if someone is curving you if they're distant in your life, but not absent.

From breadcrumbing to paperclipping, of all dating terms, this one's the worst.

RELATED: What It Means If A Guy Texts Every Day (But Doesn't Call)

What is curving?

Curving is often considered worse than ghosting, but it’s very similar.

According to Urban Dictionary, curving is like ghosting except more brutal: "They wanna seem nice, maybe they take days, or even weeks, to reply to your last WhatsApp message. But instead of leaving you hanging, a curver will reply, but their responses will be sporadic, closed off, and often apologetic." 

Curving refers to a conversation that is slowly becoming more and more one-sided. This means the majority of the conversation is upheld by one person in the relationship, and the other one is the "curver."

This concept isn't new and has a long history in which the definition of "curving" changes often. 

The origin of the word comes from the ordinary noun "curve," which is a “bending line," and the slang "curve" has had many different implications since the 1400s.

Contemporary use comes from the early 2000s when "curve" was used as a way to say "bounce" or "peace out."

It started being used as a word to "get away" from someone in 2009, and around 2016-17 it was mainly used in dating slang with other words like ghosting, cuffing, and among others. 

Currently, most websites and dating experts claim that curving has definite signs you can spot before it happens, unlike ghosting.

This is because “curvers” don’t just disappear as “ghosters” do. Relationship coach Keith Dent says, "Curving someone is a passive-aggressive way to show someone that you really aren't interested in them." 

Curvers' messages, body language, and tone can speak volumes about their opinion of the relationship and the likelihood they will leave you on read — literally.

However, curving can also be a viable way to end a relationship that isn't meeting your needs.

Curvers gradually express less and less interest in you, stop texting you for days or weeks at a time, or prefer to keep the relationship electronic, meaning you’ll never meet in person no matter how hard you want to.

What does it mean to get curved?

Messages from the "curver" might include words like "sorry," "I've been busy," "occupied," "haven't had the time," and "insert predictable excuse here" messages.

But if someone is curving you, they simply don't care about you. It's not that hard to take a minute out of their day to text someone back instead of ignoring their message for days or even weeks.

In these circumstances, being curved means to get stood up, rejected, or downright ignored — but what does curved mean sexually?

Adds Dent, "To be curved means a person will show they are attracted to you just enough to sleep with you, but when it's time to talk about commitment, they have nothing to say. They will avoid confrontation at all costs. From ignoring your questions about your relationship to deflecting a totally different topic, their goal is to distract you long enough so you forget what you were even talking about or drop it until the next time. The 'curver' will repeat the process until the 'curvee' decides to take real action and leave them alone."

RELATED: What Is Breadcrumbing? 3 Reasons This Dating Trend Is Even Worse Than Ghosting

What is a curver's goal?

Whatever their M.O., all curvers share the same goal: to reject a person without actually having to reject them.

Curving is becoming more and more common as dating apps dominate real-world dating. After all, curving is way easier if you’ve only talked to someone over text or on the phone rather than meeting in person.

In some cases, a curver responds to texts, but in a way that indicates they aren't really interested in the conversation. They never initiate a conversation, relying on the other person to do all the talking.

According to dating coaches Orna and Matthew Walters, curving is simply a product of lack of communication skills. "It's normal human behavior to fear conflict; however, it’s important to treat people respectfully so that you keep your heart karma clean," they say.

The Walters explain that if someone wants a relationship, they will be interested in spending time with you.

"Even the busiest of people make time for a relationship they value," the Walters said. "You have two choices: Move on and stop initiating contact to see if they take the lead, or simply make a direct request. Either way, you’ll get out of limbo and have the answers you need to move forward either deepening the relationship or moving on to someone else."

How To Tell If A Guy Is Curving You

What does it mean to get curved by a guy? Because most people want closure, curving can be even more hurtful than ghosting, not to mention passive-aggressive.

When a guy curves you, he's not allowing you to grieve after your relationship has ended and is giving you false hope that the relationship might continue, which is disrespectful and rude, to say the least.

You'll know that a guy is curving you when he hasn't mentioned getting together again.

Typically, he's slow to respond to your texts or doesn't respond at all, gives you short answers like "yep" or "haha," and doesn't show interest in continuing to talk.

He might also make future plans with you, despite having no intention to follow through.

There’s also another reason curving and ghosting are used by men. This is because male ghosters and curvers can’t handle rejection or conflict. Women, however, are also capable of this. And if this is true, like many therapists are saying it is, it tells us a lot about the world’s ability to communicate with each other, and it says that we can’t.

Direct communication is important, but it can be complicated if you’re not sure how the other person will react or think of you after you tell them you don't want to see them anymore.

How To Tell If A Girl Is Curving You

How do you tell if a girl is curving you? A woman's approach may be a bit different than a man's.

This can include being short with her texts, leaving you on "read," saying she's busy all the time and can't hang out, giving generic responses, never starting a conversation, or just ignoring your texts altogether.

Women also might try to keep a guy in the friend zone and talk about other guys to him to communicate the message she's not into him.

It's just another passive-aggressive approach.

Rejecting someone isn’t a cakewalk, but it should be a better option than ghosting or curving someone. Sometimes, it's best to be the bigger person and tell the person you're seeing that you don't want to see them anymore.

If you have a curver in your life or realize that you might be curving someone, consider being honest about your feelings for them. It will help you both find what you need.

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Meaghan Summers is a freelance editor for Sourcebooks, independent consultant for Fiverr, and associate editor for Defense Security Cooperation University. Her writing covers mental health, pop culture, and relationship topics.