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Roaching Dating Trend: 13 Signs and Tips to Save You From It

This dating trend has become so common and problematic (like the pests themselves), that it’s officially been given its own term - Roaching Dating! You might be unfamiliar with the term, but the behavior, or talk thereof, is sure to ring a bell. 

If you want to find out more about this nasty dating trend, the roaching red flags to look out for, and how to avoid this sort of situationship, read on.

What Is Roaching in Dating? 

Roaching dating is a new dating trend that’s as gross as the critters it’s been named after. Shivers! Let me paint you the picture… a cockroach typically multiplies in hiding, comes out in the dark, and when you turn the lights on there are suddenly hundreds of these buggers at your feet. 

Well, when it comes to dating, “Roaching” is pretty much the same… you might be seeing someone and things are going relatively well until you “turn the lights on” and find out that the person you’re seeing is actually sleeping with many others, in hiding. Gross!

"Roaching is a dating term coined that refers to someone that is sleeping around with many," says Susan Trombetti, CEO of Exclusive Matchmaking. “It's inspired by the ickiness of seeing one of these nasty little bugs — but knowing when you turn the lights on, there are lots of them.”

9 Signs You’re Being Roached

Roaching sucks! It can tamper with your confidence, turn you into the green-eyed monster, take you down a rabbit hole of questions (and answers you don’t really want), and break the trust between you and your loved one. In order to avoid that dark abyss, we’ve compiled this guide to help you identify the warning signs that come with the territory…

Man sleeping with other girls

1. The person you’re seeing is very flaky with plans

Someone who’s involved in roaching dating is likely to be flaky with plans, changing plans as they please. You’ll find it almost impossible to make any sort of concrete plans with them. And, they’ll usually only confirm, or cancel, something at the very last minute. 

The reason they behave like this is because they’ll be waiting to see if something more appealing comes up, potentially with someone else they’re seeing, before confirming with you.

They like to keep their options open and their first priority is always themselves. So, if you feel like you’re just an option while you make them a priority, take heed. Tread lightly.

If the person you’ve been seeing is consistently flaky with plans, bad with communication, and rarely reaches out first to make plans with you, see it as a red flag. 

Either they’re just not into you enough, or they might be involved with many other people at the same time. Trust your gut instincts.

2. They don’t want to get serious

If you’ve been dating for a while and things have been going well, you may feel blindsided when they all of a sudden tell you that they don’t want anything serious. Or, they might avoid the “what are we” chat altogether. This sort of behavior is bound to raise some red flags. 

If you’ve been seeing each other for three months or more and things don’t seem to be progressing into an official relationship of sorts (if that’s what you want, of course) then I suggest having a serious talk with your partner. 

Communication is key! Ask them where they see things heading between the two of you. If you’re not on the same page, walk away sooner rather than later. 

3. They keep you at an arm’s length 

If there’s a constant feeling of distance or disconnect between the two of you, they’re likely keeping you at bay for one reason or another. While they might have feelings for you, there’s something stopping them from getting too close. This something might just be a new love interest, or the many other people they’re having sex with. 

If you’re feeling like you’re being kept at an arm’s length, the quickest way to try and get to the bottom of it is by having open and honest communication. Talk to your partner about the way you feel and see how they respond. 

If you mean enough to them, they will work on changing their behavior, if not then perhaps it’s best you go your separate ways. 

4. They tell you they only want something casual 

Sometimes, the person you’re seeing will be upfront and honest and tell you that they only want something casual. Kudos to them for being honest! 

There are many reasons people opt for keeping things casual, from being busy with work and school goals to mental health issues or wanting to see multiple people before settling down. 

Whatever the person’s reason is for wanting to keep things casual, the fact that they were honest and mentioned it up-front should be given credit. Many others heartlessly string people along, knowing full well they have no intention of turning it into anything other than casual sex. 

5. They’re hardly ever available 

they're hardly ever available

Hardly available for date nights? Rarely answers their phone? Takes ages to reply to texts? Communication only happens when it suits them? If this sounds familiar, chances are the person you’re seeing is hiding something. 

Perhaps they’re not interested in continuing the relationship and they’re slowly ghosting you (which, in itself, isn't a healthy way to respond to something). 

However, if they’re still stringing you along just enough to keep your interest piqued, chances are they’re involved in this new dating trend and sleeping with multiple people. Their availability will be limited because of the number of people they’re involved with and need to keep up with.

6. They’re guilty of stashing 

“Stashing” or “Pocketing” is another millennial dating trend. The term is used to describe a relationship wherein one partner deliberately hides the other from friends and family, both in real life and on social media. 

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So, you’ve been seeing the same guy for a few months now but still haven’t cracked the nod to meet his family or even get invited as his +1 to his friend’s birthday celebration? Something is off and we’re pretty sure you can feel it too. Stashing is incredibly toxic and hurtful. 

Perhaps he’s embarrassed by his family, or doesn’t see a future with you, or, perhaps, he’s keeping his options open and seeing multiple people at the same time. Whatever the reason in this scenario, the truth is, if you often feel left out by your partner then it’s time to leave. You deserve better treatment.

7. They act shady

Shady behavior is shady behavior. You know it when you see it.

If they avoid answering calls or opening their messages when you’re around, or take their phone with them everywhere they go, there’s a good chance there’s something they’re trying to hide.

You might even find that they’re always anxious and jittery and in a rush to “get somewhere” (without telling you where exactly). These sorts of people are also likely to share very few details about their plans, whereabouts, and day-to-day life with you. Simply put, this is shady and they’re probably hiding something. This warrants a red flag or two. 

8. Your relationship is primarily sexual 

Sex is an important part of any relationship and a sign of true chemistry. However, balance is important. If you feel that your relationship is primarily based on sex, with very little attention being given to your emotional well-being or needs, your partner might be involved in this icky dating trend. 

9. You feel like a backup plan 

Perhaps you’ve started to feel like they’re only available to see you when they want something from you or when there’s nothing better they have planned. Narcissists are usually incredibly charming and before you know it, they may have already convinced you that these feelings are utter nonsense. 

Keep tabs on how often they make you feel like a backup plan and don’t stand for it. Chances are, they’re making many other women feel like backup plans too in order to satisfy their own needs

5 Ways to Save Yourself from Roaching?

1. Set boundaries

Set and communicate your boundaries and expectations from the get go. Whether you begin chatting on dating apps or happen to meet your new partner while out and about, it’s important that you’re upfront and honest from the beginning about what you’re looking for and what your expectations are. 

Setting boundaries will help protect you from falling victim to one of these nasty relationships. 

If you’re using dating apps, I suggest mentioning what you’re looking for in your bio - chances are, somebody who’s into this new dating trend will skip over someone whose bio mentions anything about wanting a serious relationship. 

2. Have the exclusivity talk

If things have been going well for some time (I usually suggest around 3 months), chat about the status of your relationship and your expectations. 

Once you define what you are, there are certain boundaries that you know shouldn’t be crossed, and if they are overstepped, should be met with consequences. In this way, having the exclusive chat will also protect you from being roached.

3. Pay attention to red flags 

pay attention to red flags

If red flags come up time and time again, and something just doesn’t sit well with you, trust that feeling! In the beginning, you might want to address the red flag behavior but if nothing changes over time, or their behavior worsens, cut your losses and walk away. 

The sooner you walk away from a toxic relationship, the more hurt you’ll save yourself from.

4. Practice safe sex

Always practice safe sex, especially in the early stages of a relationship when you’re still getting to know someone. Using condoms will protect you from potential STIs and unwanted pregnancies. 

Contracting an STI is a high risk if the person you’re seeing is involved in roaching (sleeping with multiple people at once). So, make sure you always have condoms on hand. If you’re worried that you’ve been exposed to an STI, go to your local clinic for a check-up ASAP.

5. Check in with yourself from time to time

At the end of the day, it’s your responsibility to check in with yourself from time to time. 

Consider what you want and what you don’t want in the bigger picture. Work on improving your self-esteem and developing your self-worth continuously so that you love yourself enough not to settle for one of these toxic relationships. 

Why Roaching Should Be Frowned Upon, Even Condemned

1. It promotes dishonesty in relationships

Encouraging or promoting this sort of behavior amongst peers, and society in general, promotes dishonesty between partners and the eventual decay of relationships. 

For any relationship to function ethically and harmoniously there needs to be a foundation of trust between partners. Roaching does not advocate this. Roaching involves dishonest, hurtful, and harmful behavior and should never be encouraged. 

2. It can have harmful mental and physical effects

Not only can roaching dating have a host of negative mental and physical effects on the victims, like contracting STIs, or negatively affecting their self-esteem and future relationships, but roaching can also have a lot of negative, long-lasting effects on the perpetrator. 

Roaching exacerbates the risk of things like STIs, unwanted pregnancies, increased anxiety, depression, and loneliness.

3. It encourages manipulative behavior

Instead of admitting to their wrongdoings, narcissists will use manipulative tactics to justify their behavior and make victims feel unreasonable for feeling the way they do. This harmful behavior in turn creates a toxic cycle of events, unhealthy for all.


Where did the term roaching come from?

Coined by AskMen, the term roaching or “roaching dating” comes from the nasty little bugs that breed in large numbers in hiding, and come out in the dark. There’s a chilling feeling that comes with seeing one of these little bugs but knowing there are hundreds more lurking around in the dark corners. 

Similarly, there’s a chilling feeling that comes with finding out your partner is in fact a roach, sleeping with multiple people (many probably still unbeknown to you) at once. 

What can you do if you’ve been roached?

Context is important here. If you’ve been dating for a long time and this was all done behind your back, along with a host of lies and manipulation, it’s time to walk away. This sort of behavior is extremely toxic, especially when there’s little remorse shown. 
If, however, the relationship is still new and boundaries or exclusivity has never been discussed, then perhaps not all hope is lost. Have a casual conversation (because you don’t want to scare them off from the very beginning) about your expectations going forward and determine whether or not you’re on the same page. If not, find someone who wants what you want. 

How have dating apps fueled the roaching dating trend? 

While there are many upsides to dating apps - the ease with which you’re able to meet someone, the overall convenience of them, and the ability to vet people (to a degree) before even meeting them - there are also many downsides. 
Unfortunately, dating apps have made it easy to keep swiping/looking for the next best thing/person, which goes hand in hand with roaching. People who are into roaching like to keep their options open in case there’s something or someone “better.”


Roaching dating is a toxic and hurtful dating trend that is likely to have gained even more popularity since the rise of dating apps. If you’re a victim of this sort of dating, remember that you’re not to blame for anyone else’s poor behavior, and you certainly shouldn’t stand for it either. 

I highly recommend putting boundaries in place by discussing your wants, needs, and expectations of your relationship. You can then better assess whether the two of you are on the same page, or not. Being on the same page, or at least a similar one, is important for a healthy, happy, and respectful relationship to develop.

Utilize this tool to verify if he's truly who he claims to be
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.

Do you want to find out if he's texting other women behind your back? Or if he has an active Tinder or dating profile? Or even worse, if he has a criminal record or is cheating on you?

This tool can help by uncovering hidden social media and dating profiles, photos, criminal records, and much more, potentially putting your doubts to rest.


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