Stashing is a dating trend that's been around for years, and it might be happening to you, if your partner is hiding you from their friends and family.
From the creators of “ghosting,” comes a sequel to god-awful “breadcrumbing” and a “benching” spin-off. There's a new dating trend that shows that the world is indeed full of jerks. Nah, I’m kidding, it's not that bad, but yes, there have been horrible people out there for centuries. That’s why a nasty dating trend that’s been around for years now has a name. So, the one we’re going to talk about today is one you might have heard about previously (in case you didn’t have the bad luck to meet someone who did it to you), which basically consists of your partner hiding you from their friends and family.
The name of this trend, “stashing,” was first used in Metro UK, but it’s so relatable it started being used in different media and blogs. The main issue with stashing is not only the fact that it can make you suspect your partner’s behavior immediately, but it can indicate that they might not be thinking of you as a formal partner or an important part of their life. However, before you start panicking because your partner hasn’t introduced you to their family or friends, there are many factors to consider before you can automatically qualify their actions as stashing. So, I’m going to tell you the story of a friend who was stashed, so you can get a better idea of what it means. For story purposes, I’m going to call her Violet.
A few years ago, Violet met this guy at a workshop in college. He was about ten years older than her, already had a job in his family’s business, and needed to take one last class to finally graduate. They started dating, and eventually, things got serious. Violet talked about him all the time and told me how he was the most wonderful man she'd ever met. However, I only knew him from photos on his social media and the few times I saw him walking around campus. You see, they didn’t have photos together nor did she upload photos of him on her social media because he asked her not to do it. I found it strange, but thought, okay, their relationship, their business. Still, it kept bugging me and other friends who knew of her relationship that even though they'd been together for a year, they never shared anything on their social media, and in fact, when Violet invited him to hang out with us, he never went.
At first, I thought, “well, maybe he’s shy, or he doesn't like to socialize.” However, I thought something was off when one day my friend asked me if it was normal that they'd been together for a year, but that she'd never met his family or his friends. So, to get the whole story, I asked her if she knew whether he had a good relationship with his family (I know he worked with them, but who knows? Maybe he couldn't stand them), or if he had no friends (which is also a possibility, unlikely, but still). She told me that she didn’t know much about his family because he barely talked about them and he wouldn’t allow her to visit him at his job. Of course, that was very suspicious, and it's also one of the main signals of stashing: your partner doesn’t introduce you to their friends and family after having dated for a while, and they do everything in their power to keep you away from them.
Of course, when my friend thought of the possibility that his family and friends might not even know of her existence, she started thinking about a wide range of scenarios and reasons why he would keep her hidden because she also noticed that he wouldn’t even mention her when he had a phone call from his mom or his best friend. Then, she thought that maybe he was a womanizer and wanted people to think he was single, or that he already had a partner and Violet was the side chick, or maybe that he was embarrassed of being seen with her. No matter the reason, she felt awful, as you might have guessed, and yet, she wasn’t sure of how could she confront him about it. And that’s another key part to determine whether your partner is stashing you or not.
When you confront them about it, their reaction is important. Perhaps they didn’t even realize they were doing it, but once you bring it up, they introduce you to their friends or family. Also, they might finally tell you about their awful relationship with their family and how they don’t want you to get involved, which is a very valid reason. Nevertheless, if they start avoiding the topic and even questioning you about why you want to meet them, that is a big red flag to consider, and it's exactly what happened to my dear friend Violet.
After confronting her boyfriend and seeing his reaction wasn’t as calm as she'd hoped it would be, she decided to end things for good. Later we found out through other people who knew him that he wasn’t cheating on her or anyone else, but that he was “indecisive” about staying with my friend or dating a woman he'd met at his job. That doesn’t justify what he did, but still, the lack of true commitment to the relationship is part of what makes stashing such an awful trend.
Now, if you think your partner might be stashing you, the best thing you can do is ask them directly why they don’t introduce you to anyone, and tell them about how you feel. Honesty and communication are essential for any healthy relationship, so if you find an issue, you can find a way to solve it or, on the contrary, stop wasting your time and your feelings on someone who doesn’t really appreciate the wonderful person you are.
Photos by Jesse Herzog