Orbiting: What It Is and How It Affects Relationships After a Breakup

In a world where we were still getting used to the idea of ​​how traumatic ghosting can become, now comes a new phenomenon to worry about in our interpersonal relationships: orbiting.

It’s a kind of half-ghost, which fades but not completely. Whether it’s our ex, a friend who left us standing, or someone who wanted to break off the relationship but didn’t completely leave, giving the occasional signal through social media.

Let’s see in more detail what is in orbithow social media has maximized this phenomenon and what to do to avoid falling victim to it.

    What is the orbit?

    Human relationships are complicated, for better or for worse. All have a beginning followed by a knot and, for some, an outcome, a rupture which can be consensual and peaceful or tense and conflictual. Other times the end of the relationship is brutal, one taking the initiative to break up and without the other giving him time to react and giving the impression that the end is open because. Who left wonders over and over “Is the relationship over or are we still dating?” The unknown arises especially when the one who broke it did it simply by disappearing.

    The orbit is a phenomenon closely related to ghosting, so before explaining it in depth, let’s briefly see what the latter is. Ghosting is a very common social practice today, in which basically a person who has a relationship with another (mostly romantic but can also be a friendship) leaves them without a trace. Breaking up is not done by words or gestures, but simply by ceasing to report to the other party and pretend it never existed. It is as if he had disappeared from the face of the earth.

    Orbiting is ghosting’s little brother. It happens in love and friendship, in which one of the two wants to stop having an intimate relationship. However, the difference here is that the contact is not completely lost, because the quitter continues to give signals, especially through social networks. You can even interact with the abandoned part but in a very superficial way, like “liking” your posts or seeing your stories. Of course, he doesn’t respond to your direct messages or take your calls.

      They orbit around you

      “Orbiting” means “orbiting” or “orbiting” in English, and defines very well the behavior that encompasses the term, coined by Anna Lovine in the blog “The Man Repeller”. “Orbiters”, that is, people who disappear from our life but do not leave it completely, orbit us like the Earth does with the Sun: they revolve around us, but do not touch us. They are not too involved in our lives but they want to know everything again. They must stay informed but indirectly, without ever having a direct conversation with us.

      So, as we mentioned, our “orbiter,” whether ex-partner, ex-friend, or distant relative, will gossip about what we’re doing and quitting on social media. He’ll watch all of our Instagram stories, maybe retweet our Tweets, and even leave a few short, ridiculous comments on our Facebook photos. Yeah Al, sounds pretty shitty to me, looks like BT isn’t for me either. Cut with you in the real world, but stay aware of your virtual life.

      But do not believe that this phenomenon is specific to social networks. While new technologies have spurred it on, the truth is that orbit has been around for a lifetime. Basically it’s being aware of the life of a person that you had a really deep relationship with before and now that you broke up you don’t want to be close but not too far away so you don’t know what that’s in your life.

        Consequences of orbiting

        Putting into orbit involves several consequences that mainly fall to “putting into orbit”. The victim of such a dynamic You may be caught in a state of uncertainty when you see that your ex-partner or ex-friend has abandoned you, but not completely. I don’t know if the relationship broke up or just took a while.

        As he sees that his ex is always watching what he is doing on social media, the person in orbit can hope that they will come back. Thing is, he probably doesn’t want to get back together with her, but he’s interested in chatting about her life.

        Despite this, victims of orbit they may not realize the serious problem of emotional dependence in which they are immersed. Far from accepting the fact that they won’t come back with them, like their old orbit around them, they think it might mean something. Unsurprisingly, the fact that your ex is always watching you on Instagram stories or commenting on your Facebook posts is an interaction after all, and you might think that, even if it’s minimal, it means there’s still some fun. hope.

        Especially in the context of romantic relationships, these dynamics are fueled by the misconception that love is only found once, as Angélica Vera Vázquez, a professor of human sexuality and gender psychology, believes. If the orbiter is an ex, the person in orbit may cling to the idea that this may be the love of his life and that at some point he will talk to her again to start the relationship over again.. The sad reality is that this ex didn’t have the guts to break up with him while talking to him, but made him half ghost.

        Such behaviors, which seem benign, can degenerate into symbolic violence. They start creating asymmetrical power patterns where one of the two, the orbiter, knows it can cause a problem. He may not be aware of the power the other person has given him, the force he is exerting over the person in orbit just by looking at their posts and making them believe there is still something there.

          Testimonies in orbit

          People Who Have Fallen Love In Orbit Have Very Similar Experiences which can be illustrated by the following anonymous testimonials modified to respect your privacy.

          Every time we talked about feelings he would tell me that “now I can’t or don’t want to be with you” but he kept commenting on my posts so I thought maybe “now” would change . I clung to the fact that he was a maybe now, and that he liked my photos and my memes made me think maybe he was getting closer. »

          “I fell in love with him and started to do the same. As I liked my photos, I did the same with yours. I watched his stories, I reacted to what she posted and i got the idea that the flame of the relationship was still alive i didn’t get a response via private message but i also didn’t get blocked from the network so i thought there was a possibility of my return.”

            What to do in these situations?

            If we go through an orbital situation, in which our ex-partner or ex-friend is waiting for what we are doing on the networks and which sows doubt of the uncertainty of his return or not, all accompanied by suffering, you have to ask yourself a few questions before you act:

            • Why do I want this person?
            • Is this really what I need?
            • What am I waiting for?

            As we mentioned, in orbit, they half ghost us. It is there but it is not. He wants to have enough of a relationship with us to know our life but not enough to connect on the level as intimate as he was before the situation. That’s why it’s important to learn to distance, to say goodbye and to understand that if our presence on social networks and other platforms hurts us, there is only one thing that will do good: block it.

            You have to learn that it is normal to block according to people. Look at it this way, it’s like we’re pushing him away from our lives for good. It is to make him take this step that he did not dare to take on his own and make a complete ghosting of it, only that the victim is no longer us but those who took the last word.

            Learn that your person is not dependent on who you like or who sees your photos. It’s also about understanding that you don’t have to give a “like” to feel important, that if you really want someone in your life, you have to tell them and not be intermittent. And if you want to break up with him, say so clearly and don’t leave him in the dark because the grief over the breakup will be worse. You always have to talk about things, even if they are bad.

            Bibliographic references

            • Carvajal Tamayo, MJ (2018). The fragility of the bond in romantic relationships.
            • Cena, R., & Faet, BG (2013). The “love tightrope walker”: the political-emotional contradictions of new love relationships. Latin American Journal of Body, Emotion and Society Studies, (12), 23-35.
            • Infobae (2021). What’s going on on social media and why it’s more disturbing than it looks. Infobase.
            • Otero, XM (2005). Neither with you nor without you: the unbreakable couple. Intercontinental Journal of Psychology and Education, 7(2), 27-42.
            • Villegas, M., & Mallor, P. (2017). Couples à la carte: romantic relationships in postmodern society. Herder Editorial.
            • Waldek, S. (2018). Forget the ghosting: now “the orbit” is here to ruin your love life. Initiated.

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