The term was recently coined by writer Anna Iovine at the Man Repeller website.
“I started dating a man — let’s call him Tyler — a few months ago,” she writes. “We met on Tinder, naturally, and after our first date, we added each other on Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram. After our second date, he stopped answering my texts. I soon gathered it was over, but in the ensuing days, I noticed he was watching every single one of my Instagram and Snapchat stories — and was often one of the first people to do so.”
Despite unfollowing and unfriending the bloke on multiple platforms, he still continued watch her Instagram stories months later.
“This is not ghosting. This is orbiting.”
Yep if suddenly being ignored wasn’t awful enough, the "orbiter" make it obvious that they’re still keeping tabs on you.
Iovine says that after chatting to her friends about this behaviour, she realised it’s an actual thing – people “keeping you in their orbit ... close enough to see each other; far enough to never talk”.
“It’s all about having one foot in and one foot out,” dating expert Persia Lawson told the BBC. “It’s a way of them showing you, ‘Hey, I’m still here’, but not getting into a relationship.
“They’re keeping communication ever so slightly open, just in case they decide they want to start things up again.”
Iovine also suggests that it might also be down to a lack of social media savviness.
“I can’t help but wonder whether some people, like Tyler, simply don’t know the ramifications of their actions. Perhaps he doesn’t know I can see that he’s viewing my stories.”
Either way, it's a douche manoeuvre of the highest degree.