Orbiter: the guy who cycles in and out of your life, usually for a need (physical, emotional, or mental), attention, or an ego boost. He gets his fill and then departs until he returns to ‘orbit.’ The preceding formal definition of orbiter may give some light but not truly enlighten those with the natural laws of orbiting. So read closely, scientist.

Law of Cycling

There’s a certain set time period of rotation. And usually, it’s the result of a fixed behavioral pattern. Maybe, he consistently returns every 5 weeks, every 3 months, every 2nd Friday night at 12 a.m., or every time you have a new beau. Case is that he returns when all’s been too still and too temperate. He comes at his earliest convenience and for the best circumstance. He’s either really needy, lonely, or fresh out of options. Alternatively, he’s either too carefree, loner-like, or surrounded with options.

Why He Retracts

Naturally, when he’s orbiting, he will instinctively pull away. This can come in the form of ghosting or bread-crumbing. Bare minimum. Or if he’s really sophisticated, he’ll only make strides in the big-impossible-to-miss events of your life. He takes the form of a quasi FWB. He’s your temporary BF without the label. He’s the BF for the night. For that one wedding. Talking about your problems. For showing up to that one work thing. He’s a friend with some Benefit, without the label. Sometimes it’s physical (a happy accident) but it can be emotional (that shoulder to cry on). He’s validated either way.

When He Gravitates (You Sit Still)

The worst thing you can do is jump at the moment he returns in orbit. You have to put a ton of barriers (your schedule, other priorities, other romantic options, and general well-being) in front of him before he can enter your space again. That is- if you still want to see him.

How To Halt

If you don’t want to see him…Well, that’s another thing. One, you can deliberately scare him away by demanding even more stringently commitment-like actions.

Two, cut contact. Going cold turkey on someone of this type though may backfire because that’s how the orbiter operates. Orbiters ignore and go cold on someone all the time; yet to them, it translates as simply a temporary escape.

The subtlest and arguably most effective approach is to do nothing at all and treat him like an “old, revered colleague.” Be respectful and polite. Value what you did have with him, but don’t make him accountable or responsible for anything- involving your happiness. Say what!? Why would you treat your classmate like that? Exactly. You wouldn’t.

Understanding the Main Attraction

There is more than one kind of orbiter. All shapes and metallic sizes. With different gadgets and functions. Maybe he’s dislodged in space because well, he really honestly isn’t ready for a relationship and he could be a good person (he’s just not available). The other orbiter is just the good ol’fashioned “I-just-want-an-ego-boost” and nothing else. And the other one is someone who's hungry for validation to fill a void. The list isn’t very pretty, ladies. You ARE the center of their orbit after all. They are attracted to what they know they can’t have.

And the Blackhole

Now, let’s say there is that one exception of a guy…And he orbits and orbits into your life and never leaves! That’s where it can get very dark and lonely. And twisted and maybe slightly S&M. But the right guy might be worth waiting for. But it will have to take something uber powerful to combat the obvious blackhole that awaits. That will suck all your time, energy, and effort into a anti-climatic abyss. Is that near impossible? Yes. Impossible? No. Just…something that ripples through an entire system, to have the orbiter and orbitee, come together.

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Posted by Sarah Suhaimi

Sarah Suhaimi practices 명음 by day and the art of dark chocolate bar swindling by night. She is currently working closely with a local Pittsburgh non-profit that serves sex-trafficked victims, Living in Liberty, as a volunteer and grant proposal writer. She founded the Southeast Asian Student Alliance (SEASA) at her university, and, as well, the "Offer Islam Campaign." Her works vary from prose to poetry to articles. Her published works include, ‘The Home of an Immigrant’s Daughter’ in the Art Catalogue for the 2012 Dublin Biennial, Dublin, Ireland and ‘Hidden Beauty Reveals Itself (Intellect Vs Instinct)’ in the Art Catalogue for the 2011 Florence Biennale VIII, Florence, Italy.