Currently gracing multiple sets of linen with your presence? Forget ghosting, breadcrumbing and even Tinder roulette; there’s a new dating trend on the market – ‘candy corning’ – which you are probably falling for, and which is even more addictive than the rest of them.
Not to mention: if you pride yourself on seeing through other people’s antics then you’re in for a rude awakening.
Why? Because, as New York artist and social
commentator illustrator Samantha Rothernburg recently pointed out (and as sex therapist Heidi Gee has confirmed to D’Marge), ‘candy corning’ is self-inflicted.
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While ‘candy corning’ is often described as ‘dickmatising,’ anyone can make the mistake of returning mattress and mattress again to someone with whom they have a less than ‘wholesome’ relationship – not just women.
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Not to mention, there is a wealth of Reddit literature dedicated to discussing why it is that, far from being deterred by red flags, many men are actually drawn to them like moths to a flame. This in mind, D’Marge got in touch with couples counsellor and Sydney sexologist Heidi Gee, to ask what exactly the deal is with ‘candy corning.’
Heidi told us that insulin-spike relationships are one of the defining themes of 2019, and that we keep returning to them “because of fear and insecurity.” In fact, Heidi has a lot of clients who have told her they know their relationship is going no-where but that “fear of the unknown, [of] not having that person in their life” stops them calling it quits, even though they know ending it “might be good for them.”
As for ‘candy corning’ specifically, Heidi breaks down the trend into two categories. First are the serial daters, who find it especially difficult to be on their own, and are scared of dealing with the pain of their last relationship ending, and so jump straight onto the next piece of ‘candy corn’ they can find.
Heidi says these daters need to learn and grow, else they will end up attracting the same kind of person as the last time: “Something I’ve been telling clients and friends is that you need to ‘feel to heal’ – go through that, learn and grow.”
“If you don’t go through that then you’re only going to be attracting the same type of people that got you in trouble.”
To do this, Heidi suggests asking yourself, “What is it about the person that’s wrong, and why am I attracting (or attracted to) these kinds of people?” She also says going to therapy can be useful to work through these issues and get to the bottom of your motivations and tendencies, as well as helping you consider what you really want and deserve.
“Going to therapy helps break those patterns.”
Then, Heidi says, there are those that simply like the chase, and are not attracted to the ‘candy corn’ per se, but its unattainability: “Some people see red flags and say I’m going to try anyway.” And while Heidi says that’s all well and good while you are enjoying yourself, she also sheds a word of warning for those that hope their ‘candy corning’ will end in a relationship.
“When things don’t flow as they should then you need to really question it. I’m not saying you should sit back, but if things seem forced you should ask yourself if it’s worth it.”
“If you see red flags and are still drawn to that person then you need to ask yourself – what am I [really] drawn to? Am I attracted to that, or is it the chase?” Heidi continued. “You might be ignoring the signs or thinking you could change the person.”
“These red flags are doing you a favour. Sure: if this person is not emotionally available, it might not be their fault – but to avoid that potential bullshit and heartbreak, don’t force things.”
According to Heidi, some red flag deal-breakers that suggest you are dating a piece of candy are: being on the rebound, lying around who else they are dating, being dishonest about being hung up on heir ex, or hiding the fact that they have a child: “If they’re doing that initially, what are they going to be like a few years down the track?”
There are also some more forgivable potential red flags, Heidi says, which can be overlooked. For instance: “If someone is shy or introverted, why not give them a chance?” Heidi also understands how hard it can be to reject someone after noticing a red flag, but encourages you to bite the bullet (and send the ‘your services are no longer required’ text) anyway.
“It can be really hard if you feel like you’ve got a connection with them, but if someone hasn’t been totally honest with you then you need to remember: for a longer-term relationship there needs to be communication as well as chemistry. People get so hooked.”
“You could be in contact with someone for months and have amazing conversation and sexual attraction, and suddenly things turn pear-shaped without you seeing it,” Heidi adds. When we asked her why this is increasingly the case, she said it comes down to new technology and changing social patterns.
“The temptation has always been there, but with dating apps, it’s easier to date a few people on the go and be a bit deceitful because you’re behind a screen. And there are a lot more options now. With the internet, you can be whoever you want to be and talk to as many people as you want to date.”
“That’s fine, but if you’re not being totally honest or if you have someone who really likes you and yet you’re talking to five other people that’s when problems can occur.”
This, Heidi said, leads into a broader discussion around how dating apps have changed our standards, and limited what we are (initially) able to look for in a partner: “We’ve become fussier in what we want – physical appearance is definitely a big thing, because we have swipe-based apps like Bumble, Zoosk and Tinder, and you’re going on pictures so you are judging a person on their looks.”
“This is potentially limiting our options; the person who might not be our ‘normal’ swipe who we are always attracted to might be something that we connect with amazingly but we don’t give that chance as we’re focussed on a certain type.”