Common Abbreviations on Dating Apps

Dating 101
15 May 2023
8 min read
12 Most Common Dating Abbreviations

Online dating is incredibly popular these days. Some of the leading platforms in the industry have revolutionized the concept of dating in a matter of years. And now, one thing everyone needs to get into the magic world of online dating is the right vocabulary, including all the brand new dating abbreviations that appeared recently.

Words and phrases we use have always been important in dating. Previously, the special ‘dating code’ had quite strict boundaries and people relied on full titles to communicate their needs. With time, the strict etiquette eased and adapted to our current lifestyles. In the era of 9-to-5 office jobs and busy commutes, acronyms are very popular.

These abbreviations and acronyms really transformed the way we talk with people online. Continue reading and explore some of the most common acronyms you will find on dating apps.

Most Common Dating Abbreviations in 2023

There’s an entire “language of dating” that you’ll have to pick up. And that language is made of acronyms – you know – those alphabet letters that stand for actual words? The online dating scene is full of them.

So, before you start chatting up what looks like a pretty hot prospect, you better be able to understand what they are saying to you, and it would be even better if you could use them too. You want the right “dating code” vocabulary.

Let’s unpack the most common abbreviations (aka most common acronyms) you’re likely to run into.

1. DTR

Every relationship, whether it started online or offline, goes through a very important phase. During this period, the couple defines the future of the relationship by having an honest and profound discussion. This conversation is often referred to as DTR, or simply “Define The Relationship”.

Related reading: A Guide to Growing an Exclusive Relationship

This one among dating abbreviations is used surprisingly widely all around the world, which only proves the importance of a DTR. Even if you are talking with a person you met a few days ago online, you might still need to have a DTR. It will help you decide how to move forward and what to expect in the future.

Having a DTR conversation as early as possible in the relationship is probably helpful. You both may be at very different places, and it will let you know whether it is worthwhile to move forward and what you might expect in the future.

But timing your DTRs is quite important. Having one at an early stage could easily scare your partner away, especially if your feelings and emotions are stronger than theirs at the time. Many people are afraid of talking about commitment, which is why DTRs happen to be such a sensitive topic.

But if you do it too late, you might end up missing some important details and ruining your relationship. So, all in all, DTRs have proven to be important enough to deserve their own acronym, as well as a spot in the acronyms’ hall of fame.

2. IRL

This acronym means “In Real Life” and is used everywhere and is not exclusive to dating. However, IRL has gained a particularly important role in the online dating scene.

Meeting someone online implies a lack of physical contact, at least in the beginning of a relationship. When it’s time to meet each other in the real world, IRL is the term people normally use.

Related reading: Is He a Body Language Guy? How to Read The Subtle Signs

If you’ve been on online dating platforms, then you have probably gotten messages such as: “Hey, do you want to meet IRL sometime soon?” or “I would love to see you IRL, cutie!”.

3. CPL

If you see CPL in an online dating profile, it means a couple looking for matches

This one among dating abbreviations in a profile preference means that a couple, not a single, is looking for matches. And there are lots of couples on dating apps looking for threesomes, other couples for “swinging,” or maybe some open sex party venues

The online dating scene is now full of couples looking for threesomes, other couples, and all kinds of things. They usually explain their needs in more detail, but the abbreviation can often be the first indication of a couple.

Bringing in some extra drive into a couple’s sex life can be amazing. Dating apps made finding hook-ups quite easy, so couples are onto it!


This acronym is extremely useful whenever you want to arrange a quick meet-up. Simply text “WLTM” to say you would like to meet your match. This term is often used among couples, friends with benefits, or sex buddies.

This one among dating abbreviations has lots of implications. Are you ready to meet someone IRL and get to know them even better? Perhaps a meet-up at a restaurant for lunch or dinner? Are you wanting to be sex buddies? Maybe meet up at a hotel or your place? All good, if they have the same purpose!


When you receive a potential match or a “flirt” message from someone that you are clearly not interested in, writing IDKY, or ‘I Don’t Know You‘, is a good response. Hopefully, it shuts that person down immediately.

And if not? Most dating apps have a block button – use it.

6. NSA

When you see this in a person’s profile, you know immediately that they want no string attached. In other words, they are interested in hook ups, probably sexual, with no desire for any type of romantic relationship. If you are interested in the same type of relationship, be sure to put that in your profile preference.

You have every right to be free from complicated attachments. If that is your lifestyle right now, then online dating apps will be a great source for such relationships. You can chat with others who have that same lifestyle and arrange to meet up with them, which may just be the best sex you’ve ever had.

Related reading: What is NSA in Dating? Let Freedom Ring!

7. FWB

FWB, or friends with benefits, is very close to NSA. Except, of course, that you are friends, not just one-night stands of sex buddies. Well, maybe you are sex buddies with the benefit of also being friends.

If you’ve developed a strong friendship through your online dating experience, it’s a wonderful thing. But when you get together because of that friendship and decide to enjoy sex for the sake of sex, even better. Here’s to FWB.

Related reading: What Are the Signs Your Friends with Benefits Is Falling for You

8. BiF / BiM

Looking for a bisexual partner? You can quickly identify them by the acronyms BiF (bisexual female) and BiM (bisexual male). Bi female and bi male dating abbreviations can be quite useful if you are bisexual looking for other bi people, or simply want to remain open about your identity.

Note: If you are open to a relationship with a bisexual, you will need to state this in your own profile so you will get those matches.

9. DOM, SUB, D/S

It should not come as a surprise that these terms have emerged, becoming quite popular. Someone with DOM in their bio is most likely a dominant searching for a submissive partner. SUB, on the other hand, stands for submissive who’s looking for a dominant.

A lot more people are into D/S (domination/submission) than one might think.  If you are either a dom or sub, be sure to put it in your profile, so that anyone you are matched with will know and be ready for that great experience.

10. BRB

In the course of chatting up potentials on a dating app, you may receive a “BRB,” or ‘Be Right Back‘ message. Don’t take it wrong. Your chat mate may have something urgent to attend to or may just need a break.

Take it for what it’s worth. Just say “TTYL” (talk to you later). When and if they are ready to resume the conversation, they’ll come back. If not, well, just move one.

11. BM&Y

This little message means that you don’t want what you say to be broadcast elsewhere. It’s ‘between me and you’. You may be saying something intimate ro revealing something about yourself that is very personal.

12. HAK

What a great way to say goodnight or to end a chat with a dating acronym standing for ‘Hugs and Kisses‘! If you are feeling drawn to your chat mate, then use this as a sign-off. It sends a great message about your feelings for them.

Related reading: 23 Romantic Gestures for Her

Are There More Dating Abbreviations You Ask?

Oh yes. And more are coming on board all the time. But this should get you started and help you look like you are a chat master. Learn as you go, and don’t be afraid to ask what an acronym means during your conversations. There won’t be any judgement!

Dating Tips Author
Shelly Standford
After a devastating relationship breakup, I threw myself into the dating scene by registering on Hily. I had over 100 dates - some absolute disasters, some pretty average, and some that were actually great. So many stories to tell and insights to share with you guys!

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