Do you feel like someone is submarining you, and you’re checking this out just to confirm that? We got you covered.
The internet has shifted the way people find romantic partners. You can now find someone at the tap of the button. Developers are also constantly working on algorithms that could help you find your perfect match. Thanks to technology, your dating options are limitless.
However, due to the limitless options provided by the online forums and dating apps, most people tend to keep looking for a partner even though they’ve met someone that has the potential to be their partner.
They can’t settle down because of the thought that they could’ve missed out on someone great. So instead of focusing on their recent matches, they treat these people as backups, as they endlessly look for that “special someone.”
This has birthed several toxic dating behaviors, such as ghosting, zombieing, breadcrumbing, orbiting, etc. For this guide, we will focus on submarining; find out what a victim usually goes through and ways to manage this toxic practice.
What is Submarining?
If you’re not familiar with what a submarine is, it’s a type of ship capable of operating above and below the surface of the sea. Designed mostly for warfare, it usually stays underwater for long periods, then would pop back up when needed.
This watercraft is the inspiration behind submarining, a dating behavior wherein a person disappears from someone’s life then resurfaces after a few months without an apology or explanation. Like a submarine, they’re submerged to the depths of the ocean, then poof! They’re back on the surface again.
This dating practice is also called “paperclipping” since they’re just “clipping” your contact, like some archived document. Then once they need someone to lean on or have a date with, they’ll just hop back into your life.
The Submarining Cycle: Typical Scenario of the Victim
If you’re still unsure about how this dating practice works, we’ve shared here the usual cycle and scenario that a person goes through when someone is submarining them.
1Love Bait: You just had a great date with someone.
You met someone on a dating app or website. After a few days of chatting, you’ve decided to meet up. Things went well. You discovered mutual interests and even made plans for the next few dates. The next dates ended up on a good note, too. You feel like this person could become a potential partner in the future; your best friends are even aware of this person.
2Hidden in The Seas: Your date cuts contact without an explanation.
The next day, you messaged your date, saying how you’re excited to meet them next week. However, your date never responded. They just “seen-zoned” you. You thought to yourself, “Oh, this cutie is just busy with work since they had a big project or something… They’ll reply soon.” But your date never replied.
As much as you didn’t want to double text, you just had this urge to message them again. You sent a message for the second time. They didn’t respond, and this time, the message wasn’t even delivered. This means that your date either unfriended or put you under their “ignored” list.
You gulped, thinking that maybe there was a glitch on the app. You called them, but they never answered the phone. This has left you wondering and lingering for their presence.
3The Resurfacing: Your date starts messaging you again.
After a few months, you start seeing other people again. Despite the trauma caused by your previous date, you realized that not everyone is like that ex-fling. You start messaging people on dating apps again. You even asked your friends if they have single acquaintances with whom you can have a coffee date.
However, you got a text message from *that* person. They messaged, “Hey… How are you?” as if nothing had happened a few months prior. You asked this person what happened to them. Your ex-fling just gave a vague response and instead became persistent on seeing you again. They started sending you sweet messages again and exclaiming how much they’ve missed you.
Despite the shitty thing they did to you before, you suddenly felt a sense of hope and excitement. You really liked this person, so you decided to try it again with them. This could end in two ways, the person ended up staying or leaving you again without an explanation. Most of the time, it’s the latter.
Why People Succumb to Submarining
Now that you’ve learned about the cycle that victims go through, you’re probably wondering why people succumb to “submarining.” We’ve listed some of the possible reasons below.
Keep in mind that there’s no valid excuse to submarine someone. Whatever their reason is, the submariner is emotionally immature and handled the situation incorrectly. We only have this section to see the perspective from the submariner’s side.
1They only see you as a relationship backup.
Submariners usually do this practice to someone they consider a “fallback.” The submarined person is someone they would reconnect with if their current relationship or fling didn’t work out. Most submariners tend to be extremely bored when they’re not fooling around with someone, so they keep up certain contacts just in case they need romance.
2They’re afraid to commit.
There are rare cases wherein a submariner is 100% into their partner. However, they may feel that the relationship is quickly heading to serious territory, so they go in flight mode.
They don’t necessarily want to end things with you but also have no interest in committing, so they would rather leave you hanging in hopes that they could rekindle the connection once they’re ready for the real deal.
3They’ve gone through a rough patch and isolated themselves from the world.
There are also some rare cases wherein the other person is going through a personal matter that they’re not comfortable discussing with you. They just wanted to take time off with everyone. But once they’ve figured things out, they start messaging you again, hoping that this time, they could set things right.
Having a major problem isn’t a valid excuse, though. Being hurt doesn’t mean you can hurt others, too.
What to Do When Getting Submarined
When getting submarined, there are two paths that you can take; we’ve listed them below. Remember, prioritize yourself and your mental well-being when making the decision.
1Ignore and run!
Someone who doesn’t have enough emotional maturity to say goodbye properly isn’t someone you should be in a committed relationship with. You shouldn’t be with someone who can’t be honest with you. Unless they have a solid answer on why they left in the first place, you shouldn’t give this person a chance.
We get that you probably have feelings for them, but do you really want to deal with the constant worrying? Also, forgiveness doesn’t equate to rekindling. You can still forgive the person without connecting with them anymore.
The main reason why these shitty dating trends are still happening is that people let themselves get into these types of situations. If we don’t tolerate such behaviors, these people will get a slap from reality and maybe try to become better when cultivating relationships.
If this submariner showed up in your DMs again, you can either ignore it or say goodbye.
2Say yes to a second chance, but be vigilant.
If the person had a reason that you think is valid enough to succumb to this behavior, you can still be optimistic and welcome them into your life. But remember, they may end up leaving you hanging again. That’s why if you’re going to hang out with this person, make sure to be vigilant and see if their actions match up with their promises.
We honestly suggest the first option when dealing with a submariner, but it’s up to you whether or not you’re going to let this person be part of your life again or not.
Frequently Asked Questions
As you’ve learned the different aspects surrounding submarining, we hope that you’ll get to figure out how to handle a submariner. But if you still have a few questions lingering in your mind, we’ve answered some of the common questions below.
1What’s the difference between zombieing and submarining?
Zombieing and submarining are similar; zombies and submariners get off the grid and then pop up after a certain period. However, zombieing happens when a person “ghosts” you for years, while submarining occurs when the submariners only stop contact for a few months.
2What’s the difference between submarining and breadcrumbing?
The difference between these two dating behaviors is that a breadcrumber doesn’t ghost, unlike a submariner.
A person who breadcrumbs only strings you along for weeks or months without pushing through an actual date or relationship. They pretty much do the bare minimum, such as sending your sweet messages every now and then. On the other hand, a person who submarines leaves off the grid then returns as if nothing happened.
3Is submarining worse than ghosting?
In a way, it is worse than ghosting. When someone ghosted you, even though you were left hanging, at least you’ll be able to get through the moving on process seamlessly since the person no longer bothers you. On the other hand, a submariner withholds you from moving on. You’re always on edge and wondering if they will come back.
4Is stashing and submarining the same thing?
Nope, even though both stashing and submarining are harmful dating practices, they are totally different from one another. Stashing occurs when a person doesn’t introduce their partner from their inner circle. They keep their partner a secret from their loved ones and aren’t introduced on any social media platforms, as well.
5Is there a way to avoid dating a submariner?
Unfortunately, there’s no way to know if a person submarines or not. If you’re in the early stages of seeing someone, enjoy the romance but don’t get too carried away with it. Assess if the person makes an effort to connect with you before you start going lovey-dovey with them.
6Is submarining a toxic dating behavior?
Yes, it is! Not only are submariners emotionally immature, but some of them are also manipulative and pull off this kind of behavior because they’re confident enough that they can rope you back into their lives.
7Can submarining occur between family and friends?
Yes, submarining isn’t solely for romantic partners only. There are cases wherein a submariner would cut contact with their family and friends, then would hop back in when they needed something from them.
8I’m the submariner; how do I show that I’ve changed my ways?
Prove it with actions, not words. You’ve got to be patient and consistent. Show that you are truly sorry for what you did before.
It’s also helpful to fully explain the reason why you left before. You can’t just act as nothing happened after inflicting pain on someone you’re supposed to care about. If the person can no longer trust after what happened and prefers to no longer talk to you, you need to respect their decision and let this story be a lesson for you.
People don’t deserve to be submarined. We should all aim to be emotionally mature and not succumb to these shitty dating practices, such as submarining.
It may be tough, but we should all be honest if we want to break things off with someone. Let’s say your date has different views about careers or relationships. Tell them in person or through a phone call that you feel like you’re not a match. Be sincere and assure them that they’re as amazing as they are; it’s just that you both have different views in life. It’s that simple.
We hope that this guide has given you clarity and peace. And in case you haven’t stumbled upon a submariner, may this article help you make informed decisions when it comes to your dating life in the future. For more relationship-related articles, click here for more guides.