If you've been dating in an age of social media – especially now that you've swapped from posting one and another status update to run 24/7 multiplatform documentaries of your existence – the chance is that you have been looked upon, liked and followed by a crush, a lover or an ex.
Boasting Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter can be exciting when they come from a potential romantic partner, confusing when untouched and annoying when the look is an ex. In the latter case, it is as if the spectrum of a relationship that could have been throwing over the shoulder, keeps losing without having to commit to any real interactions.
Unlike ghosts, which is a fancy word for disappearing from a lover's life without notice, there could not exist circumference before the start of social media. It is a behavior bound to the medium, and at an age where people can be hyperlinked without speaking. Removal methods for digital observation – likes, views, etc. – that bind the orbiter and the circumference.
How it feels to be orbited depends on your relationship with the orbiter. When you are interested in the satellite device, watching your social media activity, lane gives an endorphin speed, the feeling of being surrounded by someone you want to get closer.
But when it's bad, it's bad. It's the frustration to wonder why an item would rather look at your life than being a part of it. It's the disappointment when someone who has been on the pitch for a time never comes closer. And it is the acceptance of the hard truth of all digital romance: Finally, the relationship must be disconnected or terminated.
Kristine Mahan, 23, from Denver, was going to experience a "painful digital" seven month long relationship with someone living in Minnesota while living in Boston. One day, not two weeks after they last visited each other, he stopped to respond to texts and Snapchats immediately and without warning, as if in recent months was simply deleted.
"One thing he did not stop doing, though, looked at my stories and liked images on Instagram," said Mahan. At first she felt hurt by the silence and confused by her exhaust's constant monitoring of her online life. But after a while, Mrs Mahan came to see the behavior as a form of contact. "I felt the urge to send subliminal messages through Instagram Stories, and knew that was the only way I could communicate with him," she said.
Ian Coon, 21, Des Moines, dropped Snapchat completely, partly due to the number of previous friends and dates that went around his account. When he met his current boyfriend, he said, "If I had enough to get to know him, I would have to have the text or FaceTime or gisp – go on a date."
Sometimes circumference is so inexplicable that it just feels rude. Alexi Mojsejenko, 22, and living in New York, believes that there are some of her past who look at her stories to believe her, but retard as and comment on her Instagram posts.
"Orbiting, in this sense, feels just very passive aggressive," Ms. Mojsejenko said, "like a quiet and lonely fight."
Kate, a 27-year-old living in Colorado, took a more positive view. She says that the course has become a kind of flirting for many people.
"The bold will go far and like things from way back, which definitely says something," she said, and referenced posts on her Instagram account. "Or they are just lumpy and showed by accident that they stalked."
She said that orbiters did not like family pictures or scenic pictures. Yet, of course, it is an optimal way to ban someone without recognizing their existence online.
It should also be said that circumference is not always intentional. Instagram Stories seamlessly seeks into each other (and ads), so it's possible to see some daily updates by accident without digging deeper into the entry log.
Nevertheless, it's a fact that dating is confusing and it can make it worse. Small internet behavior is infinitely interpretable, making it impossible to understand where you and another person are standing. The trick of a potential connection makes you wonder if they will ever materialize personally. And the pioneering ex-girlfriend only serves to keep you in a shadow version of the relationship, wondering whenever he or she looks at one of your stories, what happened or what could have been.