When you have been dating someone for a while and the relationship seems to be going smoothly, building up nicely to something that could be permanent, you would expect at some point to meet the people that are closest to them. That is, family and friends.

And it’s OK if the person wants to take a little while before introducing you to these people, especially their parents and other family members, as this often signifies really serious intent. Sure enough, you want to be certain about someone before presenting them to your folks.

While it’s OK to take time to do this, not doing it at all is where the problem lies. And that’s the whole idea of pocketing.

What if your partner is hiding you from people they hold dear? [Credit - Shutterstock]
What if your partner is hiding you from people they hold dear? [Credit - Shutterstock]

What pocketing means

Pretty much this is a term that describes the situation of being kept as a secret. You’re hidden from the person’s friends, family and the public eye. You do not get on their social media space, either. Literally no one of note knows you are together.

“If you aren’t being introduced to his or her friends and family within months of spending time together, then it might be time to open your eyes because you have been pocketed,” Eugénie Legendre, PR and Communication manager of Happn, a dating app, tells Yahoo Style UK.

Why people do it

One of the reasons for why a partner would want to hide you away from everyone is obviously for fear that their secret life will be exposed. If you are being deceived by someone who has another partner or a whole family somewhere else, surely they wouldn’t be flaunting you to family, friends or even social media or anywhere else for that matter.

There is also a possibility that they are scared to introduce to family because they are scared that they won’t like you or approve of you. On the flipside, they might worry that you won’t like them or get along with them either.

No one likes to be someone else's secret [Credit - Shutterstock]
No one likes to be someone else's secret [Credit - Shutterstock]

Ana Jovanovic, a psychologist and life coach says a vast difference in social status could also be the reason why this happens.

 "They may be ashamed of their family and friends and may feel that if their date was to meet them, they would think less of them," says Jovanovic.

"This is especially true in cases where there is an educational gap, or big socio-economic or cultural differences.

ALSO READ: All the toxic relationship concepts you should know about in 2019

How to know you are being pocketed

He or she never makes plans that will require you both to hang out with other people, they make excuses why you can’t meet their friends and family, you meet at secluded, discrete places and at odd times.

Also, they don’t talk much about people in their social circle, you’re nowhere to be found on their social media. If you run into someone they know, you are never properly introduced and most crazily, their friends and family have never heard about you.

If you've been dating for months and no one in his or her life knows about you, it's a bad sign. "It's not only that you haven't met any of their friends or family members, but they don't know that you exist," says Jovanovic.

You need to have that important talk of you feel you are being pocketed [Credit -Shutterstock]
You need to have that important talk of you feel you are being pocketed [Credit -Shutterstock]
Department of communication

What to do if you’re being pocketed

It is one of the awkward relationship conversations to have, but you would have to do it; for your sanity’s sake especially.

Strike up a honest conversation about where the person you're dating thinks this is headed and ask follow up questions about what the person's intentions are.

If it turns out that you are on the same page as them in the relationship, then you have to demand to meet their friends, for starters. It would cure your curiosity and assuage your doubts about being pocketed. And if your partner really cares about you and wants to keep the relationship, this should not be a difficult request to meet.

If, after this conversation, you still have reasonable cause[s] to believe you are still being hidden, then maybe you really are.

Don't hesitate to leave a relationship where you're not being valued.