What’s the “Houseplanting” Dating Trend & Is He Doing It To You?

Another day, another terrible dating trend is upon us. Remember that scene in How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days in which Kate Hudson’s character tells Matthew McConaughey’s character that he killed their love fern? Yeah, well “houseplanting” is similar, only it has nothing to do with a guy’s plants. Instead of neglecting his plants, he’s neglecting you.

  1. He doesn’t give you the slightest bit of affection. You know how plants need water and love to grow? Well, so do people. We should get the love we need from our partners, though. The water we can get ourselves. However, being the victim of houseplanting means that you’re not getting any love or attention from the person you’re dating.
  2. It can feel the same as being ghosted. This dating trend really hits home because who hasn’t felt like the person they were dating wasn’t making them a priority in their lives? Houseplanting can also be an alternative way of saying that you’ve been ghosted because the feeling is the same: the guy’s just disappeared and has stopped giving you his attention.
  3. It’s almost more sinister than ghosting, though. While ghosting is insulting because the guy just goes AWOL on you, houseplanting can be more taxing because it can be dragged out. So, a guy who houseplants you might give you attention on some days and then totally neglect you on others. This is similar to how he might water his plant when he feels like it only to neglect it at other times. He’s inconsistent, and that can be very frustrating to have to deal with.
  4. It can make you feel helpless. Is there anything worse than feeling powerless in your relationship? You’re at the mercy of your crush’s or partner’s will. It’s all down to him whether you’re given attention and affection or whether you’re just sorta left there alone until he can be bothered.
  5. It says more about the person you’re dating. While it’s easy to internalize those feelings of rejection, you shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that houseplanting says a lot more about the person who’s rejecting you than it does about you. Similar to a ghoster, a guy who doesn’t give you attention even though he calls you his girlfriend is a jerk.
  6. He’s keeping you around in case he needs you. You might wonder why a guy who acts like this would keep you around. Why does he resurface and act like the best partner for a few days or weeks only to disappear on you or make you feel like he couldn’t care less about you? It’s probably because he wants you around in case he needs you, like if his other girlfriend falls through.
  7. He’s putting in just enough effort. A guy who’s guilty of houseplanting will be a pro at putting in just enough effort to keep you interested, in the same way a person might put in as little effort as possible to keep a house plant alive. He might text you every now and then to make sure you’re still keen on chatting or dating him, but he won’t go the extra mile to show you he’s really into you.
  8. Ultimately, he doesn’t really care. In the same way that he might have some plants around his house that his mother gave him which he doesn’t really want, he might continue initiating contact with you because he figures he might as well have you around. Or perhaps it’s convenient because you’re always doing the work to keep things going. The thing is, though, that he really doesn’t care about you or nurturing a solid relationship with you. If you happen to walk away once and for all, he won’t lose sleep over it. He reckons he can easily trade you in for a different flower.
  9. You’re not his favorite flower. Imagine this guy as a gardener. He’s got a whole garden of different flowers and plants and you’re just one of them. But you’re not his favorite because he’s spending much more time tending to those other ones that he keeps ditching you for. But honestly, he’s doing you a favor, so take the hint and leave for greener pastures.
  10. Don’t wait around for love. Instead of waiting around for a guy to love you, you should delete the loser and show yourself some love. Nurture yourself and watch yourself grow with all the happiness you give yourself. Now that’s real love.
Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.