If you’re single and ready to mingle, the holiday season can be a great time to date around and potentially meet someone new to snuggle with during the colder months. This is known as “cuffing season”, a common dating trend that comes and goes with the seasons.
But along with the more familiar, romantic dating trends come some unfortunately toxic ones, and experts have coined a new one called “holi-dazing”, which they warn is manipulative. According to Fruitz, a dating app popular among Generation Z, holi-dazing is a combination of already existing trends “love-bombing” and “situationships”.
Love-bombing means a prospective partner who starts “bombing” you with lots of attention and affection at the very start of a relationship, but later uses it as a way to manipulate and control you. Meanwhile, a situationship is when people aren’t able to define what’s going on between them and are either nervous or reluctant to commit to a relationship.
Holi-dazing, according to Fruitz relationship expert Rhian Kivits, involves elements from both these trends and combines them to trick someone into thinking they are looking for a long-term partner.
What does holi-dazing look like?
Kivits explains: “Holi-dazing is a new dating trend that sees singletons intentionally leading on potential love interests by deceptively leaning into the nostalgic romance familiar in Christmas rom coms by pulling on the heart strings, in order to secure a seasonal partner.
“It’s a manipulative and toxic dating tactic where singletons pull out all the stops to give the impression they’re looking for a ‘forever’ partner, by copying cliche Hollywood behaviours and actions. Instead, they’re selfishly duping them into a false sense of security, providing a ‘fairy-tale’ experience by masquerading their intentions - be it long term or short. It’s a combination of the trends ‘love bombing’, 'future-faking' and the ‘situationship’ but with a heady dose of Christmas nostalgia.”
Why is holi-dazing toxic?
According to Kivits, the trend has emerged out of a desire to “lean into idyllic festive scenarios played out in our favourite rom-coms as a way to win over or manipulate a prospective partner”. He warns: “This trend is particularly toxic as it capitalises upon festive and romantic cues that are incredibly familiar and can make you feel like your dreams have come true.
“The big problem with holi-dazing is that when things fizzle out after the festive season and your love interest ghosts you or withdraws, you could find yourself feeling incredibly let down and disappointed. You may even end up starting the New Year feeling heartbroken and hopeless about relationships. Nobody wants to spend January nursing a broken heart or feeling like they have lost trust.”
What are the signs of holi-dazing?
Similar to love-bombing, holi-dazing can start with a person seeming extremely interested and keen on moving through the stages of a relationship too quickly.
“If someone is coming on too strong and giving over-the-top compliments and romantic gestures, it could be a sign that you are being holi-dazed,” Kivits says. “If their behaviour feels excessive and overly affectionate, it’s worth asking yourself whether it feels genuine or if it is moving too quickly.
“If they seem to be making extreme promises about the future or telling you that you’re the best thing that’s ever happened to them, they could in fact be displaying manipulative behaviour.”
Keeping you at arm’s length
It might sound counterintuitive, but a person can express heightened levels of affection and interest while still keeping you guessing, which could be a sign of holi-dazing. If they seem reluctant to introduce you to their family and friends, and appear to be keeping you at arm’s length from their everyday life, Kivits warns that this could mean they “are not serious about securing you as a partner and don’t truly intend to make a commitment to you”.
They make the rules
Another sign to look out for is if your potential partner will only meet you if it’s on their terms and how they want, without any consideration for your needs and wants.
“If they only want to see you when it’s convenient for them, one-on-one, or on their terms, but combined with exaggerated expressions of love and neediness from their side, this could be a sign that they are just looking for something fleeting over the festive period, instead of giving the relationship the time it needs to build to a stronger connection and stable emotional bond. It’s all about seeing whether their words and affections marry up with their actions,” Kivits says.
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How to avoid getting holi-dazed
As with all relationships, it’s important to set boundaries and be clear about your intentions. This is even more essential in order to avoid being holi-dazed, or falling victim to any other toxic dating trend.
“As a general rule of thumb, if the person is trying to manipulate you, they will become defensive, quickly lose interest, struggle to commit to long-term plans, or may even resort to gaslighting to save face,” Kivits says.
“It’s important to note that it's okay to allow yourself to get caught up in the romance of the moment whilst being upfront about your needs and expectations. Dating is all about having fun and enjoying the moment, whilst being honest about what you want and your intentions, plus feeling safe to share how you feel.”
Read more about relationships and dating:
Psychologist reveals the dating ‘formula’ that can help you find love (Yahoo Life UK, 3-min read)
This is the biggest red flag for dates according to 80% of Brits (Yahoo Life UK, 2-min read)
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