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What Is Roaching? The Dating Trend You (Probably) Want to Avoid

What Is Roaching? The Dating Trend You (Probably) Want to Avoid

Don't be afraid to cut your losses if you and the person you're dating are not on the same page.

hen you're dating someone new, it's understood that he or she may be going on dates with other potential suitors. But once things progress past the initial dating stage and things have become more intimate, you may assume that you're the only one this person is connecting with in this way. 

However, if the person you're seeing is hiding the fact that he or she is seeing other people, that's considered roaching. 

Here's what you need to know about roaching – how the dating term got its name, what roaching means, signs you're getting roached and what to do next.

What Is Roaching?

woman lying on bed dejected
(Photo by pawel szvmanski on Unsplash)

Roaching refers to hiding the fact that you're seeing other people from the person you're dating. Even though you may not be in an exclusive relationship with the person who is roaching you, the behavior is still considered harmful because of the secrecy of roaching.

Roaching initially got its name in honor of the old adage about cockroaches – when you see one, you know there are more that are lurking underneath the surface. Similar to when you see one roach and know it's a sign of others, finding out about one other partner the person you're dating is also seeing implies that there are others that are not being disclosed to you, and that you're purposely being kept in the dark.

RELATED: 5 Ways to Know You’ve Found the Right Partner — and 5 Things to Do If You Haven’t

Roaching happens when the person you're dating casually hints or accidentally reveals that they are seeing other people. Whether this is done through conversation about an ex that's back in town or spotting a text conversation on his or her phone accidentally, learning that the relationship you're in is casual enough that the person you're with is actively pursuing other people while seeing you can be upsetting. 

Who Can Roaching Happen To?

man and woman standing facing the camera
(Photo by Matheus Ferrero on Unsplash)

The term roaching specifically applies to the dating phase, where you may not be in an exclusive relationship but have still established an intimate relationship with the person you're with, to the extent that the person should be disclosing whether or not he or she is seeing other people, because this can have an impact on your sexual health. 

Even if the relationship you're in is a casual one, not disclosing how casual the relationship actually is isn't okay. It's also important to know that even if the person who's roaching you may make it seem like you're overreacting or gaslight you into thinking what's happening is okay, this isn't the case. Someone who is roaching you may say things like "I figured you were seeing other people also," or "We never defined this relationship as exclusive, why are you upset?" 

RELATED: 7 Deep Questions Every Woman Must Ask Her Romantic Partner – And What The Answers Mean

It's upsetting to learn that you're not on the same page as the person you've been seeing, especially when your sexual health is involved. It's unfair for this person to then make it seem as if you've done something wrong by brushing it off as no big deal or point fingers at you to state you should've asked them about whether or not they were seeing other people if it was going to be a problem. Roaching can happen to anyone – even those who asked questions about the exclusivity of the relationship early on can end up being roached and lied to. If roaching happens to you, understand that it's not your fault. 

Signs You’re Being Roached

young woman receives unfortunate text message
(Photo by freestocks on Unsplash)

The good news about roaching? This problematic dating behavior does come with telltale signs. Below are signs to watch out for when it comes to roaching.

  1. They won't talk about defining the relationship. Having "the talk" about defining a relationship is one that many may be apprehensive about. You or your partner may not want to scare each other off by moving too quickly and having a conversation about where the relationship is headed too early on may feel that way. However, if the person you're dating won't answer questions even when posed in a more casual way, this may be a sign they're hiding something.
  2. They cancel plans and rarely make them. If the person you're dating is treating you as an option when you're treating them as a priority, pay attention. Someone who is roaching won't be proactive about making plans with you, they'll wait for you to reach out and then weigh their options between what you propose and what others in their roster are up to before deciding on plans. In the event something "better" comes along, they may dip out on the plans you've made at the last minute. 
  3. They keep you at arm's length. Even if you've been dating for several months, your conversations never progress past surface level details. Attempts at getting to know them on a more personal level like asking about their family, their history or even future hopes and dreams are brushed off. 

What to Do if You’re Being Roached

young man and woman have conversation seated in nature
(Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash)

In the very early stages of dating someone new, getting roached is considered more acceptable and almost inevitable. Once you've been dating for several months, however, talking to the person you're seeing to understand where you're at and what expectations he or she has for the relationship is an important step. If you find out you've been roached, here are a few things to keep in mind.

Getting roached doesn't necessarily mean the relationship is doomed. If you find out you're being roached, context is important. If the two of you haven't discussed whether or not your relationship is exclusive, they're not technically doing something wrong. Roaching becomes harmful when the person you're dating is being purposefully dishonest and withholding information, even after the two of you have discussed expectations within your relationship. 

RELATED: 10 Steps to Help you Get Over a Breakup

Discuss relationship expectations. If you feel it's too early on to define the relationship, having a conversation about your expectations even in a casual relationship setting is not only important but is also a reasonable ask. Especially if the relationship is an intimate one, discussing your expectations regarding protection and STI testing can be one way to approach roaching within a more casual relationship.

Get clear on where you want this relationship to go. Finding out that the person you've been dating has been seeing many other people can be upsetting – but if being in a committed relationship is your goal, forcing a relationship onto someone who isn't ready or interested isn't in your own best interest. If having a conversation with your partner reveals that he or she wants something more casual, don't be afraid to move on to pursue what you're really looking for romantically.


Just like an actual roach infestation, roaching is something that can be unavoidable within the landscape of dating. Communicate your expectations as the relationship progresses when it comes to disclosing other partners, and don't be afraid to cut your losses if you and the person you're dating are not on the same page.


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