5 reasons why your partner could be ‘pocketing' you
Is your partner hiding you from the world? Here are common reasons some people hesitate to introduce their loved one to the world.
Not making their relationship public is a mutual choice that partners make sometimes, and the reasons can range from privacy to cultural factors. But there are times when one person has no qualms in introducing their partner to the world, but the other is not ready and makes even deliberate attempts to hide the relationship even at the cost of making one feel invisible. This toxic dating trend pocketing can be frustrating for many who want to be acknowledged in their partner's circle but end up feeling ignored and neglected. While pocketing for a short period can still be tolerable, stretching it to years can spoil a relationship. This may also mean that the other person is not serious about you, has trust issues or may even be cheating on you. Thus, it's important to investigate the truth behind pocketing. (Also read: Is your ex orbiting your social media? 5 creative ways to make them stop)
"Pocketing, or stashing, is a cause for concern in any relationship. It occurs when someone fails to introduce their partner to others despite dating for an extended period," says Dr Chandni Tugnait, M.D. (Alternative Medicines), Psychotherapist, Life Coach, Business Coach, NLP Expert, Healer, Founder & Director – Gateway of Healing.
Signs of pocketing
Although it might be difficult to identify if you're being pocketed, some tell-tale signs may help.
"If your partner talks less about their friends, avoids introducing you at social gatherings, or seems unwilling or nervous to take you out with co-workers, it could be a sign of them covertly pocketing you. These can be obvious red flags that your partner is not taking the relationship seriously or is ashamed of introducing you to their most significant people. People who relatively quickly introduce close friends and family members into their relationships are more straightforward about what they seek and the relationship's progression. On the other side of this equation, those who consistently avoid being seen with someone — even if they genuinely love them — might feel uncomfortable taking risks and committing to their partnerships. As such, pocketing carries some heavy expectations and almost screams underlying issues within relationship dynamics that are often worth investigating before things reach an undesirable impasse. You must talk things through with your partner if you have any suspicions regarding this destructive behaviour. Letting them know how their actions make you feel can be very enlightening," says Dr Chandni.
Dr Chandni lists five common reasons why people engage in pocketing:
1. They're not ready for commitment
Some people may engage in pocketing because they're not prepared to commit to a serious relationship or they are afraid of making it official. They may enjoy the company of their partner, but they still need to be comfortable sharing their personal life with others. They may be afraid of committing too soon and regretting it later.
2. Fear of judgment
Another reason people may engage in pocketing is that they fear judgment from their family and friends. They may worry that their loved ones won't approve of their partner for various reasons, such as differences in religion, race, or socioeconomic status.
3. They're seeing other people
Sometimes, people may pocket their partner because they're seeing other people simultaneously. They may not want their other partners to find out about their relationship, so they keep it a secret.
4. To avoid conflict
In some cases, people engage in pocketing because they know that revealing their relationship would cause conflict within their social group or family. For example, someone dating outside of their religion may choose not to tell their parents to avoid an argument.
5. To maintain control
Pocketing someone can be a subtle form of manipulation and control, as it puts the power into the hands of the one pocketing. They may want to keep their partners to themselves and not share them with others - a red flag in a relationship that indicates deeper issues around trust and control.
"In a relationship, it is natural to want to be publicly acknowledged by your partner and be included in their life as an equal. A partner who practices pocketing, most likely, doesn't have a malicious intent but seeks to conceal the relationship from those closest to them. This behaviour is often unhealthy as it reflects a lack of commitment and can lead to mistrust and insecurity within the relationship. Talk to your partner in case you spot any signs of pocketing. Authentic communication can go a long way in building and nurturing relationships," concludes Dr Chandni.