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What Is Pocketing? 5+ Obvious Signs And What To Do About It

We all have certain assumptions when it comes to dating. If we are getting on with someone we assume the relationship will follow a natural path. 

That path includes meeting friends and family and perhaps even co-workers. But say that doesn’t happen? There’s a chance you are being pocketed.

What Is Pocketing And Should I Be Worried?

Pocketing is a dating term that means the person you are dating is keeping you a secret. They are, in effect, putting you in their pocket and hiding you from the people in their life. It has nothing to do with pocketing money or stealing from a partner.

Of course, when we first start to see someone we might like to keep the relationship under wraps. We may want to see if it has the potential to develop into something more serious. We want to be sure about a person before we share them with the people we love. 

But there’s a difference between being cautious at the beginning of a relationship and secreting away a person in your life. That’s called pocketing. So why do some people engage in pocketing?

5 Reasons For Pocketing

The first thing you should know is that pocketing is not always about how this person feels about you. It doesn’t necessarily mean, for example, that they are ashamed of you. There can be many reasons for pocketing.

1. They Are Having An Affair

they are having an affair

The most obvious reason for a person wanting to engage in pocketing, is that they are already in a relationship. Perhaps they are married or have children? Maybe they just want to have casual affairs with someone. However, they know this person would never agree if they knew the truth about their situation. 

2. They Are Ashamed Of Their Life

I dated a guy once who never introduced me to his family. This was because his brother was an alcoholic and he had cut off all ties with him. However, his mother was enabling his brother’s drinking so he didn’t speak to her much either. 

To him, his family didn’t reflect his values in life. However, he did talk about them and let me know why he wasn’t in contact. 

3. There Is A Cultural, Religious Or Racial Barrier

This scenario happens more frequently than you would expect. People come from different backgrounds but we are all living in a multicultural society. Younger generations are more open-minded than their older parents. 

The person you are dating may feel as if their family wouldn’t approve of you so they engage in pocketing.

4. They Are Struggling With Their Sexuality

Unfortunately, some people are still afraid to come out to their parents and close friends. Or they may be experimenting with their sexuality but don’t want their family to know they are gay. They might never have introduced a same-sex partner into their life and that is why you are subject to pocketing.

5. They Are Still Involved With An Ex

they are still involved with an ex

Some people like to keep their options open for as long as possible. Then there are others that won’t start a new relationship before an old one has ended. 

It’s a tricky time between finishing a relationship with one person and starting a new one. You’re not quite done with your ex but you don’t want to jeopardise this new love.

6 Signs Of Pocketing

1. They Never Talk About Their Family Or Friends

One of the first questions we tend to ask our date is about their family members. Do they have any brothers or sisters? Do they live locally? Does this person get on with them? It’s natural. We want a rounded picture of this person before we commit to a relationship. 

Not having a conversation about your family is more than weird. It’s a red flag of pocketing

2. You Never Go To Their Place

When a relationship is progressing nicely one of the next stages is to go to that person’s house or apartment. I mean, you can’t keep dating in bars or restaurants. At some point, you are going to have to go to that person’s place of residence. 

If it doesn’t happen it might mean that they are embarrassed of where they live. But if it is coupled with other signs, such as not meeting their friends, I would suggest this is pocketing.

3. You Always Meet Out Of Town

you always meet out of town

Does this person always want to meet you miles away from where they say they live? Are you finding it odd that they never suggest a local hook-up for a date? Do they always get a table at the back of the restaurant or want to sit in the shadows? 

This is a sign that they are avoiding the places where they live or work. It’s so that they don’t run into anyone that they know.

4. You Never Met Their Family Or Friends

It’s good to be cautious at the start of a relationship. However, if you haven’t met any of their friends or family after a month or so then this should cause concern. Do they make excuses or give unconvincing reasons why they are never available? Is now never a ‘good time’?

This is not normal behaviour unless they actually tell you about a problem they have with their family. However, it’s very unlikely that they’ll have problems with family and friends and co-workers.

5. You Don’t Get Introduced To Friends Or Family

Have you been out on a date and someone has come up to your partner to chat? You wait to be introduced as his or her date but they don’t mention you? It’s a bit rude, right? Actually, it’s called pocketing. They are deliberately pretending that you have nothing to do with them. 

They don’t want their family or their friends to know that you exist.

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6. You Are Not On Their Social Media

We connect with a partner through social media, especially if we don’t live with them. It’s a quick and easy way of staying in touch with someone. However, our whole lives are also on social media with ways of connecting with the people in our lives.

Therefore, it stands to reason that a person who is pocketing you won’t want you to be on their social media platforms.

What To Do If You Suspect Someone Is Pocketing You

what to do if you suspect someone is pocketing you

If you think your partner is pocketing you then you need to have a frank discussion. But don’t go in all guns blazing. This may be a very sensitive topic for that person. 

If they are ashamed of their family they may not want to open up immediately. They might not even want to discuss it at first. Be patient and let them know you are an understanding and compassionate person.

Tell them that you won’t judge them because of who their family or friends are. You are interested in them as a person, not their family. However, you do need to know whether this is pocketing or a serious relationship. 

You can start the conversation in many different ways, but always use a friendly tone and ask with curiosity, not accusations

For example:

‘I noticed you never talk about your family. I hope everything is ok?’

‘I’d love to come over to your place for a change. Is there some reason you prefer mine?’

‘I was a little upset that you didn’t introduce me last night when your friends came over.’

The trick is to keep the conversation casual and not to get over-emotional. Try and be matter-of-fact about the pocketing. It is also important to listen to their actual words when they share their explanation. 

You might have already formed an opinion that you are being pocketed. 

Your partner might feel as if you are rushing them into a more serious commitment than they are willing to make. If this is the case then it is perfectly ok to enquire about the future. 

Do they ever see the situation changing? You can assure them that if they are not ready now you are prepared to wait. 

However, if this is how your relationship is going to be for the foreseeable future then perhaps you should re-evaluate your position. 


What is pocketing in dating?

Pocketing is a dating term where someone intentionally hides you away from all aspects of their life. They essentially put you in their pocket and keep you away from everyone. There are many reasons for pocketing. The person might be married or ashamed of certain aspects of their behavior. 

What does it mean to pocket someone?

Pocketing someone is intentionally keeping them hidden from your life. You never introduce them to your family or friends. You pretend they don’t exist. You don’t add them to your social media. You are their secret and no one else in their life knows about you.

What is Paperclipping in dating?

The term paperclipping comes from the old Microsoft Word paperclip icon that would pop up at intervals to see if you need help with something. In dating it means a person you haven’t seen for a while that pops up out of the blue to reignite some interest. However, what they are really doing is making sure you are still available for them.

What is Zombieing in dating?

Zombieing in dating is when a person has ghosted you in the past, then some time later suddenly pops up as if nothing has happened. This could be liking a post of yours on social media, or a text or call out of the blue.

What does cuffed mean sexually?

Cuffed is a term that means a person who likes to be single or has casual relationships during the summer months. However, they want to get cosy when it gets dark and cold in the winter. They play around in the warm weather but don’t want to be on their own in the winter.

In Summary

There can be many reasons for a person to engage in pocketing. If your suspect this is happening to you then remember, no one has to put up with behaviour they don’t like

If you found this article helpful then please share it. 

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Whether you're married or just started dating someone, infidelity rates have risen by over 40% in the past 20 years, so your concerns are justified.

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