Decoding Dating:
Common Dating Profile Acronyms

Whether you’re new to dating apps, dipping your toe into the Portland dating scene, or just trying to find the right match, understanding the many acronyms used across dating profiles can be crucial to dating successfully. While one might search the web to find clarity while swiping, it would undoubtedly take a lot of precious time with the sheer volume of information potential matches include in their bios. This date coaching acronym guide aims to help clear up confusion over common but seemingly vague terms so you can find someone looking for the same thing as you. Or utilize them in your profile so others may do the same!

ISO = In search of

This acronym will often precede others or an explanation of what the potential match is seeking in plain terms. This will usually give you the most complete explanation of what app users are seeking, allowing you to determine if their desires align with yours. Example: “ISO: the perfect hiking buddy to escape Portland with on the weekends.”

IRL = In Real Life

This acronym is often used to indicate that someone is interested in meeting in person sooner rather than later or to indicate a difference between their online persona and who they are offline. An example could include: “I’m a smooth talker online, but IRL I get nervous around new people.”

IG = Instagram

Potential matches will often include their social media handle or link their account if the app allows. Often the person wishes for interested parties to follow or message them on Instagram directly rather than communicating via the app. This also allows users to present themselves with more information and photos than allowed by most dating apps. If someone asks for your IG they are most likely interested in learning more about who you are outside your dating profile.

ENM = Ethically Non-Monogamous

Ethical non-monogamy is defined as a relationship structure in which one is romantically or physically involved with multiple people who are all aware of and agree to this practice. Everyone involved gives consent, which is not considered the same as cheating or being unfaithful. This term is an umbrella that encompasses many relationship structures, including open relationships, swinging, and dating multiple people at once. Another common term, Poly, is short for polyamory, which is a type of ethically non-monogamous relationship structure in which participants are involved in or looking for multiple committed romantic relationships simultaneously. There is a fairly significant ENM community in Portland, and members are often open to sharing their experiences if you harbor any curiosity, so long as you ask respectfully.

Niche Dating Terms – Here are some common terms and acronyms used by the ENM community.

NP = Nesting Partner

A nesting partner refers to a partner engaged in a co-living situation. This is usually a serious long-term relationship. Nesting partners could share a bedroom or have separate bedrooms, depending on their arrangement. Similarly, they may have different rules about having other partners over, sleepovers with other partners, etc.

AP = Anchor Partner

Similar to a nesting partner, an anchor partnership is a serious committed relationship. This person is usually someone that one would plan a future with and consider an essential part of their life. They could be a nesting partner, or live separately. A Primary Partner refers to one main partner who is considered one’s most important romantic relationship, which is considered a hierarchical structure. An anchor partner is usually used in place of a primary partner when the relationship structure is non-hierarchal, and one can have several anchor partners.

Meta = Metamour

A metamour is your partner’s partner. One may have an ongoing friendship or relationship with a metamour or may have limited contact depending on the relationship structure and individual preferences.

KTP = Kitchen Table Poly

Kitchen table polyamory is a structure in which all partners and metamours spend time together, the idea is that everyone involved is comfortable sitting around a table conversing and having a meal together. The other side of this is Parallel Polyamory, which means having separate relationships with little to no overlap or contact between partners and metamours.

NRE = New Relationship Energy

This term refers to the feeling of excitement and connection that comes from dating someone new. In monogamous relationships, this is usually referred to as the “Honeymoon phase.” When one has multiple relationships it can be important to balance NRE with time spent with already established partners.

SP/Solo = Solo polyamory

Solo Poly refers to an individual who is interested in dating several people casually but is not interested in an anchor or nesting partner, preferring to keep themselves as their own primary partner.

FWB = Friends With Benefits

If someone has FWB in their profile they are most likely not interested in a romantic relationship. They seek an emotional but platonic connection as well as a physical one with those they meet on dating apps. If you’re seeking a romantic connection this might be a structure to avoid unless boundaries are very clearly stated.

NSA = No strings attached

Similar to FWB, a no strings attached relationship is not romantic. This setup might not include friendship either. Someone looking for NSA is interested mainly in a physical relationship without expectations of romance or friendship. This is also a situation to steer clear of if you are looking for companionship beyond physical intimacy.

LTR = Long-Term Relationship

If a potential match says they are seeking a long-term relationship this means they are seeking connection, romance, and eventually a commitment. They are likely not looking for a simply platonic or physical relationship, but rather are interested in finding a partner they can plan a future with. If you are using dating apps to find ‘the one’ (or ones if exploring ENM) those with this acronym in their bios will likely be looking for something similar.

We know this is a long post with a lot of info to get through, so here’s a short puppy break!

BLM/NO SWERFS/TERFS = Various Political Views

In the current Portland dating climate, many people are looking to match with others who hold similar political beliefs to them. Profiles with these acronyms will indicate that users believe Black Lives Matter, or that they are not interested in matching with those opposed to sex work or transgender rights. This can be a great way to find potential matches who share your same values.

TFT = Transgender for Transgender

If someone has this in their bio it indicates that they identify as transgender, and are seeking connection with others who are also trans. This doesn’t always mean they are only open to connections with transgender matches, so don’t see it as an immediate ‘no’ if you are cisgender or don’t identify as trans. However, this likely means they are prioritizing connecting with other members of the trans community, especially those who also live and date in Portland.

NBY/NB = Non-binary

If someone lists their gender as non-binary or mentions it in their bio this means they identify with a gender identity that does not fit within the gender binary of man or woman. Non-Binary app users seek to be seen as they are by potential matches, and want to ensure they are not being misgendered by the app or other users. It can be tricky to navigate the highly gendered world of dating apps as a non-binary person, but apps are coming around to include more gender identity and sorting options that go beyond the binary. Ensure to either use the pronouns listed in someone’s bio when connecting with them or to ask rather than assume someone’s pronouns if they are not listed.

ACE/ARO = Asexual Spectrum/Aromantic Spectrum

When you come across these acronyms it’s usually an indicator that the user identifies as being on the Asexual spectrum, which means they do not experience sexual attraction or the Aromantic spectrum which means they do not experience romantic attraction. Someone can be both asexual and aromantic, or they can be one or the other. Another common term- Demisexual refers to an individual who only experiences sexual attraction after an emotional or romantic connection is established. It’s always best to check in with potential matches individually to see how they experience sexuality and romantic attraction to make sure their needs and boundaries are compatible with yours.

GGG = Good, Giving, and Game

This acronym usually indicates that someone is looking for an equally satisfying physical relationship with those they meet, and are open to directly discussing their preferences in regards to physical connection, before meeting in person. If a compatible physically intimate relationship is important to you, someone with this in their bio could also be prioritizing physical compatibility in their dating search. However, it could also mean they are looking mainly for a physical rather than romantic connection, depending on the rest of the information in their bio. It’s important to establish common expectations and goals before going forward with any relationship.

DND/D&D = Dungeons and Dragons

In Portland one acronym which seemingly has nothing to do with dating styles or preferences continually came up in reviewed profiles. Dungeons and Dragons is a table-top role-playing game, in which participants create original characters and roleplay alongside other players inside of fantasy worlds and stories, occasionally in costumes. If you are looking for someone a little nerdy or very playful, someone who lists D&D in their bio could be a great potential match!

INFP/ESTJ ETC. = Meyers-Briggs personality type

If a potential match has an acronym on their profile which has four seemingly unrelated letters grouped this is usually indicating their Meyers-Briggs Personality type. This system of sorting people based on their introversion, extroversion, ways they seek connection, and how they learn is used by many to indicate their personality traits through a common language. 16 personality types fall under the Meyers-Briggs system, and many online tests purport to give one their specific “personality type.” Similar to astrology or other ways of sorting personality traits into groups, app users can find fun in connecting over these labels, or find no personal value in it. Either way, it can give you a jumping-off point of information on how potential matches see themselves.

Now you’re ready to get out there in the dating world and speak the lingo fluently! Want to learn more ways to make your profile stand out? Contact our Portland date coach for a free consultation.