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Submarined: Another Complexity of Dating in the Modern World

Dating has never been more complex or bizarre. Adding more confusion is the fact that some daters have no intentions of forming a relationship. One of the devestating dating phenomena currently are those daters who seem interested and form a relationship, sometimes very intimate and then disappear completely when they can’t deal with what’s expected in a normal relationship.

We call this type “Ghosters” and they’ve been around for a while. If you’ve ever been ghosted, you know the devastating feeling of someone you cared for to simply disappear without a word, call or text. But to make matters worse, now comes along a phenomenon called “Submariners.”

Submariners are sneaky, they disappear and then show up later acting as if nothing ever happened. In fact, they are so bold, they pretend that nothing is wrong, and offer no excuses or apologies for their lack of showing up. They often blame the ex for being hurt by their disappearance. Clearly submariners are emotionally immature but there is something more that makes them an unworthy partner. They aren’t able or caring enough to put themselves in another’s position and understand their hurt, concern and feelings of disrespect. If you’re currently dating and have been submarined, I have suggestions that can help you restore your respect and avoid this type in the future.

  1. Understand that dating apps make the behavior of discarding easy. If you use dating apps such as hinge, tinder, or bumble it’s like fishing. Other daters are catching dates and throwing back ones they may have already established a relationship with when they feel forced to deal with real issues. It’s a cowardly thing to disappear and perhaps worse when you disappear and then resurface again acting as if nothing is wrong.

  2. Speak directly and keep strong boundaries. The number one deficit of daters on apps is they do not communicate clearly. We’ve been socialized to hold back, not scare the potential dater and not be honest about how we feel. If you want to attract emotionally mature dates, begin with yourself and be direct about your intentions.

  3. Call out your submariner for their lame behavior. If your ex has recently resurfaced after disappearing call them out. We’ve been taught to be quiet and not admit when our feelings are hurt. This behavior enables submariners to continue this hurtful game. Hold them accountable and don’t be afraid to tell others to be on guard with this person if they are on a dating app.

  4. Try your best not to take it personally. If you’ve been submarined it’s not you, it’s about who you allow yourself to date. The more direct and intentional you communicate; the more likely submariners won’t date you. They thrive on vagueness and casual relationships where they aren’t expected to be responsible.

  5. In the future date look for consistency in your dates. Anyone you date in the future should have a pattern of commitment before you date them seriously. When you call, they should answer, and if they can’t then text, and when you plan to meet, they should be there. Emotionally mature people are honest, open and act in the best interest of the relationship. The first time they drop off the grid is the last time you should date them.

When someone is into you, they don’t play games. If they get scared or whatever, they talk to you about it instead of vanishing. Someone who doesn’t have the emotional maturity to send a polite text that they aren’t interested is someone you cannot trust. Learning to believe your date’s actions and stop trying to create a relationship where there is none is the first step in protecting yourself from being a victim of submarining. Treat others with the same respect you give to yourself and let them go.


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