Since the invention of online dating and social media, language has had to work hard to keep up with the ways we manage to use and abuse each other during our search for love. First it was ghosting, then it was zombieing. There's also breadcrumbing, benching and submarining. And now we regret to inform you that there's something else to worry about: fireworking.
Being fireworked is when someone goes out with you in order to put on a display, either to make an ex feel jealous or to make themselves feel like a big old stud.
Signs that you're being fireworked will include your new bae plastering photos of you all over their social media early in the relationship, taking excessive photographs of you both together and generally acting like you met on Love Island and are trying to score an endorsement deal by looking happy for the cameras.
A fireworker might well insist on taking you to photogenic locations on dates, making you the subject of their Instagram stories (so they can check who has seen it) and upping their tactility when the camera is switched on.
Sometimes it's purposeful - your date might have gone looking for someone attractive to show off online to make their ex jealous or to impress their friends. Other times it's subconscious and while they do actually like you, they're still hyping your relationship online for validation.
There's nothing wrong with wanting to make your relationship Instagram official, but fireworking has an ulterior motive.
The difference between fireworking and genuinely wanting to show off your new partner is that when you're being fireworked the reality of the relationship doesn't match up to the social media representation. If the person you're seeing posts about you as if you're their soulmate, but doesn't treat you like that in person, that's when you need to worry that you're being fireworked.
You'll be at the biggest risk of being fireworked if you date someone who recently got out of a significant relationship and isn't over their ex. While it might seem weirdly flattering for someone to want to show you off, if they're doing it to get attention or make a point then that doesn't bode well.
If you're worried that the person you are seeing is fireworking you, talk to them about it. It could be that they're just proud and excited to be seen with you. Or it could be that they're hoping to impress their friends and make someone else jealous.
There's always a chance that your new boyfriend/girlfriend doesn't realise that they're fireworking you, and that they'll stop if you call it out.
It's perfectly reasonable to ask not to take photos with your other half, or to say that you'd like any pictures you take to be kept between you and not shared online. If someone you're seeing is upset or angry that you don't want to post pictures together publicly then thank you, next.