Don't Let Yourself Become an "Orbiter"

by Eric Disco
Dec 7


In the dark of night in clubs you’ll find them with a look of anticipation in their eyes.

Out over the plains of parks and malls you can hear their sexually frustrated groans.

Over e-mail, text message and even long distance, they exist, but long for the sweet mercy of closure.

Doomed to revolve around her but never get close enough to thrive sexually, they are walking dead of relationships: the dreaded orbiter.

“We went out on a few dates,” my student tells me. “We were out till 3 AM on our first date having drinks. But we didn’t go past hand-holding.”

“Now, after a few dates,” he continues, “she won’t let things go any further sexually. Every time I try to get sexual with her, it never seems to be the right time.”

“The third time we went out, we met up with friends. And she spent a lot of time talking to other guys at the bar,” he says.

An “orbiter” is a guy that a girl keeps around, keeps seeing or talking to in some way, but nothing much sexually ever happens.

A lot of really attractive girls do this. They surround themselves with guy “friends.”

These “friends” want more from the girl than just friendship, and usually the girl knows it.  But the girl doesn’t let things go any further.

The guy doesn’t know this. He keeps hanging out with her, keeps initiating dates and liaisons, thinking that maybe this will be the time that things actually happen.

But there always seems to be something in the way.

She doesn’t want to move too fast. Or she just got out of a relationship. Or she doesn’t know him well enough. Or she wants to be friends first. Or she has to get up early the next day. Or her place is too messy and his is too far away.

28There’s always some excuse as to why she can’t hook up.  She keeps interacting with him and keeps hope alive for him.

In actuality, it’s a dead end that never ends. He’s trapped, like a rat in a maze, endlessly thinking there’s cheese just around the next corner.

Why do women do this?  And more importantly, how you can you prevent this dead-end time-wasting scenario?

A woman keeps an orbiter around because it gives her some much-needed validation.

She probably hasn’t made a logical decision to keep this guy around this way, it just develops.

The guy meets the girl and he takes an interest in her.  Women–just like men–like the attention. We all want validation.

Men have a tendency to be validated through sex, and women tend toward validation through relationships.

Validation is a powerful thing.

Have you ever gone a really really long time without hooking up with anyone? The longer you go, the more you question yourself.

Am I attractive? Do women really like me?

It takes a strong constitution to not be affected if you haven’t gotten the interest of a woman in a long time.

Women are the same way.  If a guy doesn’t show interest in her she starts to question herself.

By keeping a guy around she feels better about herself.  Well, at least Michael likes me, she thinks.

He’s a dick in a glass jar–break in case of emergency.

She likes him, and is probably attracted to him in some way, but she doesn’t like him enough to take things further.

But she won’t tell him that because she wants to keep him around. She likes the validation.

So instead, he orbits. He continues to invest time and energy into winning her over, yet he’s always kept at a certain distance.

26Orbiting can happen in a variety of ways.  Orbiting is basically any relationship she keeps going long term without the intention of letting things go further.

It could be a text relationship. You meet a girl and exchange numbers. You text her to hang out, but she’s busy.

Yet she still indicates interest. So you text her every once in a while. And she keeps leading you on, without any intention to ever meet up.

It could be a hanging out relationship.  Maybe she does meet up with you and hang out, but she doesn’t let things get sexual.

Or she does let some things happen, but keeps you at bay, handing out small, insignificant sexual favors just enough to maintain your interest.

The solution to orbiting can be summed up in one simple word: escalation.

You need to be able to escalate the interaction enough so that you either lose her or that she does take things to the next level. Part of your willingness to lose her may make her look at you differently.

If you’re orbiting her over text message and she indicates that she’s too busy to hang out, you can tell her, “Okay, well say hi when you’re not busy anymore.”

If you’re hanging out with her, you need to be willing to sexually escalate. If she doesn’t want to get sexual, then you need to be willing to not hang out with her.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t be friends with a woman. Being friends with women is a great thing.  You may decide to do that.

But if you really like a girl, you need to be willing to make a move.  If you keep accepting friendships from women you will always end up as a friend rather than a lover.

Some girls are smart and won’t even let you get into a place where you could possibly escalate.  Maybe she won’t be alone with you and always invites friends along.

22Or she won’t go back to your place or her place.  This in itself is an indicator that it won’t happen.

Be willing to walk away. You’re allowed to be interested in her as a romantic partner and nothing else. You’re not required to default to friendship with her if she won’t become romantic with you.

One way to do this is to invite her over to your place. Tell her you’re going to cook and that she should bring a bottle of wine.  If she doesn’t want to do this, then don’t hang out with her.

Once you start to have a backbone and get used to asserting your sexuality around women you like, women will automatically sense it and not play games with you.

But if you constantly let women play you, they will take advantage of you. It’s like a small child getting away with something bad.  If they know they can do it, they will.

One confusing aspect to all of this is persistence.  As I’ve talked about before, persistence can pay off.

You do not want to give up at the first sign of defiance. A bit of repartee is essential to any relationship.

So how do you know when to call it quits?

Your guide, as usual, is escalation.  Take things to the next level.

Is she willing to go there?  If not, your ability to walk away will be the foundation for your future happiness.


posted in Sex and Escalation

29 responses
Stephen says:

Great article Eric. Love it and it makes sense perfect sense.

“You do not want to give up at the first sign of defiance. A bit of repartee is essential to any relationship”– Does this include flakers?

Tony Ryan says:

Good stuff Eric. You have a real knack for writing…

The best way to deal with being an orbiter is accept it and keep her as a friend. Nothing is wrong with having friends that are women. It’s good to constantly be around estrogen PLUS she will have friends she can introduce you to.

Once a woman has labeled you a certain way in her head, it’s an uphill battle to change this perception of you. Eric, you are definitely right that you shouldn’t give up, but at the same time guys need to understand that its often 100x more efficient (time and energy wise) just to learn from your mistakes and move onto a new woman, learning to be a man and escalate this time…

Kevin says:

Would it be a good idea to start hitting on her friends if you think it’s not going to go anywhere?

Eric says:

Does this include flakes?

After you meet a girl, if you send her a text. If she doesn’t respond, its not worth sending another.

Let’s say you are texting each other back and forth, and you invite her out. She says she can’t make it. If she does not suggest an alternate time, then its usually not worth keeping things going. On the remote possibility that you could get this girl to meet up, you will be so disempowered that you probably wouldn’t be able to take it anywhere anyway. You’d just be wasting your time.

I had a friend who used to do this a lot. He would be very aggressive and persistent with texting and trying to get the girl to meet up, sending multiple texts. Once in a while he could get a girl to meet up who had been flakey over text, but when she did, the date didn’t go anywhere.


Eric says:

The best way to deal with being an orbiter is accept it and keep her as a friend.

You need to be careful with this for two reasons. First, if you really are an orbiter, it’s something you’re used to doing. You get used to not escalating with women. You get used to not being willing to walk away from women. You accept to easily being their “friend.”

Women can sense when you won’t let them put you in friend zone. I will be straightforward and tell women “I don’t need another friend.”

And I put the word “friend” in quotes because you’re not really her friend if you’re an orbiter. You’re less than her friend. She’ll enjoy your validation. But she won’t take initiative to invite you out, or invite you to her parties or even let you be around her friends.

It’s a tricky thing to go from orbiter to friend. It’s a little different if both of you consciously decide to be friends. If it’s a two-way decision, then it’s possible. But what you may think is friendship is actually just her getting validation. The difference is how much she invites you into her life, how well she treats you, and how much she takes initiative with you.


Eric says:

Would it be a good idea to start hitting on her friends if you think it’s not going to go anywhere?

If she’s inviting you around her friends, then I think she’s truly taken a step to make you her friend. In that case, it’s fine. But if you really do want this girl as a friend, you may want to exercise caution hitting on her friends.

It’s actually a good tactic, if she’s being obstinate, to flirt with other girls in front of her, including her friends. But I think that’s not what you were asking.


bob says:

So Eric, what if she’s a shy, conservative bookworm that’s also in your social circle?

so far I have: banter (being the funny popular guy), rapport (lots of it), but less in the kino department.

As far as I can tell, I’ve given her a challenge by not being that available. I’ve also called her out some times and I’d say I listened really well.

So how do I calibrate? You’ve said take it slow in an article, what does that mean? in which areas?

Eric says:

You’ve said take it slow in an article, what does that mean? in which areas?

Okay, firstly, this is different than an orbiter. If you’re already friends with her or part of her social circle, then that changes things. It doesn’t mean you can’t turn into an orbiter. But there’s better chance that you’ll just become friends if things don’t work out.

When I say take it slow, I mean that you shouldn’t be so direct and forward. You should allow for things to build up a bit over time since both of you are in a situation where you’ll likely see each other again.

A work or high school situation would be an extreme example of this. You see her every day. You don’t want to walk up to her and say “I just had to come tell you that you are fucking sexy.” That would be too much.

Instead, you could go up to her and introduce yourself. “Are you new here? My name’s Eric.” The next day maybe banter with her a bit. “They keeping you busy?” The next time you might talk a little bit about yourself.

It probably won’t be totally linear like this. There might be a day or so that you don’t talk to her, or maybe you talk a lot more one day than another. But eventually, you would throw something out there inviting her out to lunch or to coffee or a party or this even that you know she would be interested in.

The calibration in this situation is determining how interested she is. This could be how much she flirts and smiles when you talk to her, how much initiative she makes with you, how receptive she is, etc.

But if the girl is really shy, that can sometimes short-circuit calibration because she won’t be as friendly or take as much initiative even though she’s interested. And she also may be a bit more timid in saying No and instead be polite if she’s not interested. So it can be confusing with shy girls.

In that case you want to take a bit more initiative with her. Maybe give her another chance or two. That doesn’t mean endlessly giving her chances, but you may need to push a bit more.


Mark02 says:

What do you do when you can’t take any girls back to your place? I live with my parents, not ashamed of that, but for me it’s completely out of the question.

And even if I’m at her place, what do I do? I was in that situation twice (girl’s place of course, two different girls, both old “friends”), and there were just long awkward silences and my own nervous attempts to make conversation…we weren’t even sitting close to each other. I just don’t even know how to START to make things happen. Anxiety breaks me down every day, not just with girls, with everyone.

nonstop says:

Mark02 – hehe you’re worrying about sex when you’re still having trouble with conversation? priorities ! But anyway Mark02 there’s plenty of options.. car.. hotel.. other more public places.. even your house being quiet..

Tim says:

Mark, I know exactly what you feel like. The anxiety of connecting with a girl doesn’t end at the approach.

Even after I took Eric’s training, I would get girls numbers and would hesitate to call. On dates, I remember sitting with the girl, thinking of when was the “right time” to go for the kiss. A lot of times, I just didn’t feel confident enough because people were around, or she had glossed her eyes away for a second earlier.

One of the lamest dates – but one that taught me a lot – was with this Polish girl I really liked. I gave her a hug at the beginning, missing an opportunity to hold her and give her a pec on the cheek, and then kept walking with her for a while. I hesitated to hold her hand, but when I did, she didn’t seem to be all that into me at first. I rubbed her palm with my fingers while I was holding her, and still she didn’t reciprocate. We went to a bar, and I sat across from her at a small table (not the best idea) She put her hands on the table and asked me about a scar on my thumb, basically asking me to touch her again. I asked about her hair color, and held it to see the roots, and she put her face really close to mine. I could have gone for the kiss – but I wussied out.

I continued with conversation. And I talked, and we walked and talked some more. Even when we laid down in the grass at Central Park, I had my arm over her shoulder, but I still talked about nonsexual topics. I felt like I was in the 3 second rule all over again – “I hesitated to kiss her already, so now it’s a little too late. Maybe I’ll think of more things to talk about and I’ll get her more attracted. Maybe she’s just pacing me with her IOIs. I’ll just keep talking to reduce the awkwardness in the meanwhile.”

Needless to say, the date became more and more awkward. But she had come all dressed up, nice makeup, sexy thong, the whole deal. She didn’t want to waste her night either. At one point, she asked me what we were going to do later. My only plan at the time was getting her at her place (also living at home) but I couldn’t think of a way to do it. When I asked her about her living situation, she mentioned a roommate, and I told her my “apartment roommates” were all there.

She gave up. She knew she was dealing with a guy who couldn’t make things happen, so the conversation was losing energy on her side, and there was little I could do to make the conversation more interesting or exciting after that.

I was basically the orbiter after that. When we hung out after that, she wanted me to meet her after work, with her hair looking sloppy. She asked me a few questions about my dating situation, etc, she asked me to help her pay for her smoothie, she didn’t really want to do anything like go to a movie (just hang out really). overall, she had such low expectations of me, she may as well have brought me to her house because she saw the hesitation all over me the week before, and she knew I was anxiously waiting for IOIs before I made a move.

Rems says:

Hummm… I don’t like orbiting. I sounds like manipulation from the girl. It doesn’t seam sincere. Sincerity is so important to me but I don’t need to tell everything. Many times, the least said is the best. Action is the real thing!

Zach says:

I just realized that the girl I was last with was using me as an orbiter. I feel like shit now.

Cameron says:

At least you got laid Zach!

Freddie says:

Ha dang so true, I just walked got away from one of these myself. Once I realized this girl was doing this to me, I was out. I didn’t know it was called orbiting but thanks for the article. I now feel more affirmed in my decision to stop hanging out with her. She kept trying to text me and guilt me for not making an effort to hang out anymore but I will stand strong haha

Amor says:

I regret to say I’ve been through this I was a woman’s orbiter for 3 years, with the only difference that I didn’t buy her stuff, drive her, etc., but I did give her my time, emotional support, etc., Whenever it came to “hangout” it was me who initiated meetings 95% of the time.. I have found that being an orbiter hurts 10 times as much as being rejected. You feel used. I ended this Calvary when I saw this woman with another man at a club. Since then I never answered any of her calls or returned any of her texts.

There’s something ironic about this “orbiter” thing though when I went NC with this woman she began chasing me, asking common friends about me, one of her friends told me she had feelings for me. I found this strange because she had “LJBF” me and I never escalated with her in anyway.(I was a AFC back then) Is it possible to turn things around by Totally ignoring the girl after establishing a strong emotional connection?

Eric Disco says:

Is it possible to turn things around by Totally ignoring the girl after establishing a strong emotional connection?

It is possible to turn things around. I write more about how to do that here, Advanced Tactics to Turn Back the Tide.

But ironically, the key is that you have to be willing to walk away from this girl. You have to believe it in your mind that you won’t talk to her, just like you did, and let her take initiative… and then not crumble and turn back into a woosy when she does take initiative. It’s a tricky line to ride if you really have become an orbiter.


Dan-o says:

There was a college student I had an interest in over the last three years which certainly appears to have turned me into an orbiter. There was some manipulative seduction being practiced years back and then I would cut her out periodically and she kept boomeranging. When my mother died recently she claimed she was “here for me.” That was quite far from the truth. When she finally became “fair game” or graduated my boss suggested I invite her on my most recent trip to Cambodia. So I escalated and she flaked out totally so I cut all ties. Now I am stocking my library with books on emotional vampires and narcissistic personality. I agree with Amor my reaction was, “why didn’t you tell me how you felt about me three years ago?” But I did get some pleasure out of it too and so far in the last few months learned a lot more that a naive fellow should know. Cheers, Dano

Jay says:

I’ve let myself become the product of an orbiter many a time. It really sucks. It’s true that it’s worse than just being friends. When your friends your on the same level and the woman at least wants to share some of her positive joys and experiences with you. When you are her orbiter then you are considered less than to her. This may be subconciously, but the signs are still the same. She wants you when she feels bad about herself, she talks about how here last boyfriend didn’t workout and they keep playing the card of sexual interest to keep the man around. It’s caused me alot of pain and wasted time and energy. I know what a real friend is now and the way I let girls treat me is not any kind of friend I would want to have around.

johnboy says:

I have recently realized that I am an ‘orbiter’ to a girl at work, which really pissed me off big time because I genuinely cared about her and thought we were friends. It is clear to me now we are not. She started full on playing games with me, inviting me on a work night out then going home before I get there, next weekend going out and getting in touch with everyone from work from the previous weekend except for myself, then the following monday saying to me ‘you should have come out’ LOL! By using my psychic powers to meet up with her? Anyway I sent a couple of messages to people from work the following week about going out for christmas drinks, everyone responded, she ignored them, but then comes into work approaching me all chatty and friendly as usual. So I text work people again on christmas eve while I’m out on the lash to see who’s out, they all reply, she ignores. I deleted her number after that and she sends me a group text a few weeks later asking if I’m going to a work party, I was like ‘is this bitch for real? why should I respond to that?’
Anyway the thing that gets me every time is there is a little bit of flirting between us, but no banter. The flirting is more prolonged eye contact when neither of us are talking, getting close to each other etc. But what I hate is she seems to show genuine signs of attraction, she’s always looking at me and when I catch her she looks away, and she gets really nervous around me. I’ve never tried it on with her and always approached her as a friend, hence why I was so pissed off with her games, I’ve worked with her on and off for 3 years and known her fairly well for about 1 year, so why would she play it like that? I was always nice to her and treated her as a friend. She is a player and has a lot of ‘guy friends’, I confronted her about this when she started playing me and she just said that she didn’t sleep around.
Anyway because I’m clearly an orbiter to this girl despite never hitting on her (still makes me mad just thinking about it), do you think girls will turn a guy in to an orbiter if they have feelings for him but the guy doesn’t make a move? Do girls ever get ‘friendzoned’ by guys? I just don’t get why she is nervous around me as that would suggest that I mean something to her but she then treats me like a ‘hanger on’.

Coif says:

Work relationships are nonsense and asking for trouble IMO. I know what this is. In my case, the girl was actually a workplace bully before she made me an orbiter, and when I wouldn’t fully comply she got really nasty. No it is not possible to friendzone these girls, they want everything. If you don’t they will spread rumors behind your back. She is a bully and mostly those facial expressions are her mimicking you.

MrAntiquity says:

I’ve had 3 work relationships–all casual–we remained friends throughout and it wasn’t a problem at all. Also gone out on date/pseudodates with co-workers at other times and nothing ever got uncomfortable.

Never met one of these female bullies at work–what sort of environment to you work in?

Coif says:


It was a college setting, close proximity. Kind of reluctant to say, but a bunch of people together. Jekyll&Hyde personality, goes from 5yearold beauty pageant star to gruff voiced chain smoking suicide-joke-making psycho when on break. Constantly interrupting to try and undermine you while you work, distracts by calling out or walking behind you. Likes to tell personal/sob stories, mimics other people’s behavior, frequently lies and plays games with other people, telling them lies and helping them play jokes on other people I.e. we’re talking about you but we’re not actually. If ever you get into a victim position, will mercilessly harass you before stealing your performance for her repertoire of victim behaviors. Never confront, because she is more convincing than you of portraying whatever illness or trouble you may be experiencing, may even be able to make you look aggressive toward her or at fault for her feigned suffering. Overall hellion.

Coif says:

Turnover is very high with half of the staff being students.

MrAntiquity says:

i’m confused–

OK…this girl sounds like a sociopath. You’re saying you were into her and she seemed cool–but once you were hooked on this chick she became a complete bitch? OK, that’s possible. Although if she was a bitch to begin with how the hell do you become an ‘orbiter’ in the first place? Stay the hell away from the wackos if you can…

Coif says:

It’s a case of curiosity killing the cat. She was weird, some bad behavior, but she was also the most beautiful girl I ever saw. And she was very cogent and entertaining and easy to talk to. Except it turns out all the talk was about control. I also didn’t have enough self respect to walk away the first time her personality cracked and she gave her first bull-snort. The fact that she was so aggressive and charming and sexy and seemingly interested in me was another thing. this is why guys have to approach girls and not the other way around, most of the time.

I eventually got to a reasonable stage but I let her upset the dynamic because I so wanted normalcy. Never ever compromise for this kind of girl for anything. Do not give her anything, thats how you become an orbiter. Never raise your voice, do alpha things like magnify, validation goes a long way, be calm…But it’s soooooo not worth it. She could never have a relationship of equals. The best you can hope for is a kind of Peking order, where you are temporarily on top. What she wants is a guy who’s invulnerable, takes care of her, entertains her…but she might still get bored and set up a trap for him.

Coif says:

I also want to say, I don’t know if she was a sociopath, but I think it hardly matters, cluster B personalities all involve a lot of very bad behavior. It’s not worth it to try and figure their diagnosis out, believe me–especially if they’re making stuff up by the seat of their pants all the time. So watch out for a temper, poor-me stories, and bucketloads of exaggeration and lying, even if they are fun stories. The more she lies the less you talk to her. It’s too bad I had been used to putting up with that kind of stuff prior to meeting her. Don’t give her any excuses for her to start rumors, and don’t ever think she will indulge you her understanding. I eventually came to believe she liked me in an abusive way because my memory fogged over at different times and I forgot my temper. There was a weird push-pull thing going on that made me sloppy and confused.

What was really crazy was her personal army. Her orbiters would do anything for her including stalking or ratting on each other. Don’t be that guy, guys. They were always competing to outdo each other too so she got exactly what she wanted, whether that was a ride or a getaway. They must have been miserable. She had a personal courier so that she didn’t have to bother with most of them directly after awhile and she was always on her Facebook. Some acquaintances of mine also turned out to be more allied with her, which made things difficult. The burden of truth should be on the liar for proving that whatever ridiculous thing they say is true, but depending on the person they just want you to acknowledge what they said and twist around your further explanation anyway to suit their purposes, Whether this is gossip or worse.

What I struggle with is reconciling how charming and perfect she was at first, with how she really was. Again, self respect. She got to me in a very bad place. No one girl is worth it. After you meet a certain number of people you will feel better about letting go of any one personality.

Cameron says:


shes just using you for validation and attention.

All these questions “why this why that” are just part of the mind-fuck she has you under and are part of her domination of you.

She has used you and treated you like shit.

She deserves absolutely nothing from you (except perhaps abuse) but vengeance is countrerproductive.

Cut her from your life completely and flirt, kiss etc with new girls.

all the best,


Lee says:


Whether a woman is initially interested in a man or not, if she thinks he doesn’t have the balls to make a move, he goes straight into friend zone.