Cookie jarring: This is what the toxic dating trend actually is

And how to avoid it


While Love Island never fails to bring the drama, the show also has an ability to highlight toxic practices within relationships. Over the course of the Love Island’s history, we’ve seen examples of negging, lovebombing, retroshading and gaslighting, among others. And this year’s show has exposed a whole new dating trend: cookie jarring.

Liam Reardon and Millie Court have been coupled up for over two weeks now. And then Casa Amor began. While the couple haven’t gone official yet, it feels like they are together in all but name, with Liam giving his partner the affectionate nickname: “Millie-moo.”

But as soon as Liam set foot inside Casa Amor, his head was turned by trainee accountant Lillie Haynes. He kissed her in a wild game of truth or dare, before kissing her again and sharing a bed with her, all while describing his relationship with Millie as a mere “situation.” Long story short, Liam is cookie jarring Millie.

So, what is cookie jarring?

Cookie jarring is basically when one person in a relationship (that hasn’t gone official) has no intention of taking it further, but keeps the other person around as a backup while they go off and look for a different partner.

Basically, if whatever Liam has going on with Lillie doesn’t work out, he still has Millie (the cookie in the jar) back at the main villa waiting for him.

Why is cookie jarring toxic?

Although it’s not strictly cheating, cookie jarring involves a complete betrayal of trust and can have devastating effects on those who fall victim to the practice.

Dating and relationship coach Kate Mansfield told The Independent: “Being someone’s backup option or being strung along and having your time wasted by someone who has no intention of pursuing a long-term relationship with you can be irritating at best, devastating at worst.”

How to avoid being cookie jarred

It’s important to look out for signs that your partner might be cookie jarring you.

Being unable to commit to plans or being only keen to do things on the spur of the moment could be a sign that your partner is keeping their options open. Equally, if they’re consistently evasive when it comes to talking about taking your relationship to the next step, this could also suggest they don’t have all their eggs in one basket.

The best way to avoid cookie jarring is to have honest and open conversations with your partner about the level of commitment you’re at in your relationship.

If they are unwilling to commit, it’s probably time to ask if they are seeing someone else and if they are, it could also be time to let go.

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