How to know if you’re being ‘pocketed’ by the person you're dating
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There's nothing quite like that moment you meet your partner's friends and family for the first time, is there?
You get nervous because you want to make a good first impression, but you also don't want to come off too strong.
But for some people, they never get to meet their partner's nearest and dearest.
Seems unusual right?
Well, if this has happened to you, you might just have found yourself embroiled in a new dating trend called 'pocketing'.
This is more than being nervous about introducing your other half to your parents.
According to psychologist and life coach Ana Jovanovic, pocketing essentially means you're hidden from view in virtually all aspects.
She said to NBC News: "Pocketing is a situation where a person you're dating avoids or hesitates to introduce you to their friends, family or other people they know, in-person or on social media, even though you've been going out for a while. Your relationship seems non-existent to the public eye."
So basically, the average person would have no clue that the two of you are dating.
There are nuances to why somebody might hold off bringing a romantic interest into their family fold.
The key distinction is transparency, as social worker Rachel Perlstein explains.
Perlstein said: "When you are focused on building a relationship with a new partner, your intention is usually to wait until you know the person well enough on an individual basis, and like them enough to decide you want to bring this person into your social and familial life.
"Pacing and awaiting the right time to offer an introduction is truly about bringing you and partner closer. Pocketing comes with the intention of hiding away the person you're dating.
"Oftentimes the pocketer does not want their partner to meet friends and family; it's a way of creating space and distance in the relationship."
There are several things that might motivate a person to pocket their partner - perhaps a fear that they won't gel with the wider family.
Or the person could be protecting an image of themselves that would be disrupted if their relatives met the person they were settling down with.
Jovanovic said: "Once the person they are dating meets the friends and family, the facade they worked hard to build will collapse and leave the other person disappointed.
"By not introducing the person they're dating to others, they are protecting the fragile image of themselves that attracted the person in the first place."
Surefire ways to know that you're being pocketed?
If your partner never makes plans with other people - They constantly make excuses about why you don't meet their family and friends - They always meet you in discrete spots - You're never properly introduced if you run into somebody they know.
So, what to do about it if you find yourself in this situation?
Perlstein recommends communicating without being confrontational.
She said: "Strike up a conversation with your new partner about how you're feeling and get curious.
"Give the person an opportunity to talk with you about why you've yet to meet their friends and family.
"It's possible that they are not pocketing you, but their time frame works different from yours, you have different expectations about what a relationship looks like, and/or you're both viewing the relationship differently."
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Topics: Sex and Relationships