To make sure you never miss out on your favourite NEW stories, we're happy to send you some reminders

Click 'OK' then 'Allow' to enable notifications

Relationship expert issues urgent warning over 'paperclipping' dating trend

Relationship expert issues urgent warning over 'paperclipping' dating trend

You may have fallen victim to this...

OK guys, Valentine's Day is well and truly behind us and while I'm sure a bunch of loved-up couples are now enjoying the post-celebration buzz - many singletons have been left battling with the faff that is the modern dating scene.

Now, we already know all about thawing, submarining, the dreaded 'Ben stage' and even getting 'zombied' but there is yet another little phrase we need to add to our vocabulary and keep on our radar as one relationship expert has issued an urgent warning over the 'paperclipping' dating trend.

Dating coach Hayley Quinn has explained exactly what on earth paperclipping is, and has shared the major warning signs you need to be aware of to avoid being paperclipped.

Hayley tells Tyla: "In short, paperclipping is about your emotionally unavailable ex popping up at just the moment you were about to move on and forget about them."

Even better?

Apparently, the phrase is inspired by Microsoft's 'Clippy' - the über annoyingly intrusive paperclip icon that kept popping up on the screen."

But why do people do it?

Well, it all comes down to the instant gratification of a short-term fix which may come in the form of attention, connection and physical intimacy.

Dating coach Hayley Quinn has opened up all about the dreaded 'paperclipping' dating trend.
bymuratdeniz / Getty Images

People who paperclip usually do so without considering the long-term impact it will have on the other person to be in a continual on-again, off-again relationship.

They may not even be considering that they're messing the other person around - they're simply 'reacting to having an unmet need'.

OK, so how does it differ from breadcrumbing?

"Paperclipping is similar to breadcrumbing, in that it's a red flag that this relationship is destined to go nowhere," Hayley explains.

However, unlike breadcrumbing (where someone you're trying to get to know, gives you just enough effort to keep your interest but never enough to develop a relationship with you) you're paperclipped by an on again, off again partner.

Sound familiar?

Well, sorry to say, but you may have been paperclipped.

The dating coach says paperclipping is red flag that the relationship is 'destined to go nowhere'.
Ragnar Schmuck / Getty Images

So, what are the telltale warning signs you can look out for to ensure you never go through the ordeal again?

Hayley says: "You know you've been paperclipped when thoughts of your ex have finally started to recede, and then you're dragged back into a relationship with them when they send you an out of the blue message.

"The catch is, no matter what they say, the results of trying to forge a relationship with them are always the same: It goes well for a short while before they become flaky, start avoiding you and eventually call the whole thing off.

"You're starting to think they're just interested in short term attention, and not anything meaningful."

Right, you've just figured out you're being paperclipped... but how should you go about navigating it?

First and foremost, Hayley advises, you should check in with yourself and ask yourself whether the relationship is actually what you want.

"You may have a strong connection to the person you're seeing but if the relationship they offer you never meets your needs, it's time to stop trying," the expert notes.

Be sure to not fall into the perilous trap of believing that if you just try a little bit harder, or work more on yourself that your relationship will come right.

"Also," Hayley adds, "don't create a precedent where someone can leave your life in a hurry, then walk straight back in after sending you a few messages."

You may even be guilty of paperclipping someone yourself.
kitzcorner / Getty Images

Muster up the self-esteem to release that you want and deserve more and have the confidence to say 'no' to this relationship so you can find one that's better suited to you.

OK, that's all well and dandy, but what should you do if you find yourself paperclipping someone else?

Hayley says you should 'look long and hard' at the reason why you keep reaching out to an ex that you're no longer with.

She continues: "After your relationship ended you may have temporarily felt relieved, but as the weeks have rolled by perhaps dating new people hasn't worked out in quite the way you expected it to, and you're missing the comfort of your ex.

"Perhaps you know you're uninterested in a long-term relationship, but are looking for a short term fix."

So, instead of acting on this impulse, take the time to consider how emotionally confusing this will feel to the other person.

"Instead of paperclipping them, let them go and focus on developing who you are, and what you want, as a single person," Hayley suggested.

Well, the more you know - eh?

Featured Image Credit: bymuratdeniz / Getty Images/bymuratdeniz / Getty Images

Topics: Sex and Relationships, Life