What is 'pocketing'? This dating trend could say a lot about your relationship
Let's face it. Not all relationships are great. Sometimes you want to shout it from the rooftops that you're dating someone new, while other times you just want to keep it to yourself.
The practice of not telling others about someone you're seeing may be way more popular than you think. In fact, it's starting to be known as "pocketing" on social media.
What is "pocketing" in a relationship?
“Pocketing is when one person doesn’t acknowledge or post their boyfriend or girlfriend on their social media," guest co-host Justin Sylvester explained to Jenna Bush Hager on Thursday's episode of TODAY with Hoda & Jenna.
Should you be concerned?
Although “pocketing” someone may not seem like a big deal, Sylvester said it could be more worrisome than you might think.
“Girls, if you’re in a relationship and your man hasn’t posted you, nine times out of 10, you’re a sister wife,” he said. “And you didn’t even know it.”
Can "pocketing" still happen if your partner isn't on social media?
Jenna then asked Sylvester if she should be concerned that her husband, Henry Hager, isn't on Instagram.
"OK, but I have a husband and he don't post anything about me," she shared. "Does he need to get on Instagram just to put our love out there?"
"No," Justin replied. "Don't ever, ever walk your man into Instagram if he doesn't have it."
Why do "pocketing" and Instagram go hand-in-hand?
The self-proclaimed dating expert noted that Instagram can cause unwanted problems in a relationship, especially since the app gives users the ability to message nearly anyone they want, a feature known as sliding into someone's DMs or direct messages.
"There are some nasty people out there that will slide into someone's DMs because they think your man is the one," Sylvester said. "So keep him off of social media."
At the end of the day, Sylvester noted that it's never good to "pocket" someone if you're in a serious relationship with them. That can tell you exactly how your partner feels about you.
"This is the thing, ladies and gentlemen," he said. "I always say, if I'm in a serious relationship and we're ready to take that next step and we have to have that exclusive conversation, then you should let the world know."
"Via Instagram," Jenna added.
"At least a story. Minimum," Sylvester chimed in.
Can "pocketing" happen to anyone?
Relationship expert and author Susan Winter told TODAY that "pocketing" can happen to anyone in a romantic relationship with someone else. But she doesn't advise doing this practice because it can be very "hurtful" for the person you're with.
"You can’t have it both ways. You can’t get the best of us in private and then hide us from the public. It makes the person feel like you’re ashamed of them, or that they’re inferior or inadequate and nobody wants to feel that way," she said.
Is "pocketing" a new trend?
Winter noted that "pocketing" is not a new dating trend either. It's been around for years and the only difference is that now, people are doing it on social media.
"Every week, I am reading a new term for BDB, bad dating behavior. The list seems endless, but this behavior has been around for a very long time," she said. "And anyone who has been considered a side chick or somebody who's dating somebody, and they tell their friends that they're seeing this person yet their friends have never met them, and they're not connected on social media — this is just the outgrowth of that."
Why do people try to "pocket" their partners?
When asked why people would do something so hurtful to someone they're seeing, Winter said it has everything to do with not wanting that person in your "inner circle."
"You will know where you stand in your partner's life by how far they let you into their inner circle," she said. "So if your partner has never introduced you to their friends, and your partner has never taken you to a company party and your partner has never allowed a picture of the two of you together to go on social media, and the holidays are coming and you have never been invited to join your partner with their family, then you definitely do not have a partner. Not in the traditional sense. You are simply sleeping with somebody who is keeping you on the periphery of their life."
After all, "if you never let somebody 100% in, you never really have to deal with letting them go in the same way that you would if you were in an official relationship," Winter added.