Is benching the new ghosting?

Just when you thought dating couldn’t get any worse...


Have you ever been in what seems like the start of a beautiful relationship, only for it to suddenly evaporate into nothing? So you over-think every detail, eventually get over it, and try to move on… But then they get in touch weeks later with a flirty Whatsapp and you’re suddenly starting the whole process again?

Well now there’s a word for that – ‘benching’. You’ve literally been benched – parked, sidelined, whatever – by the person you thought you were dating while ‘another option’ is in play. Then, when that doesn’t work out for them, you might get called back on for a second half. Nice, right? It’s manipulative, it’s a bit selfish… and at some point we’ve probably done it ourselves.

Keeping your options open is far too easy in 2016. Want to check they still read your messages? Get on Whatsapp. Think they need a quick reminder of what they’re missing? Send a Snapchat selfie. When we’re glued to our phones 24/7 it’s not easy to ignore someone, and so when someone does start blanking you after what you thought was a great date, you can sure as hell bet it’s on purpose.

You’ve probably heard of being ‘ghosted’ – when the person you’re dating disappears without a trace, but is benching even worse? It might seem polite when they send a quick ‘how have you been?’ after two weeks of silence, but realistically it’s all about keeping you on a string – boosting their own ego and giving them the reassurance that if they wanted you, you would still be there in a heartbeat.

For the benchee it’s frustrating, confusing and there’s a whole lot of hoping for the best. After all, when you like someone even the most sporadic attention can be hard to resist.

Why would someone send you those cute messages, funny Snapchats and invite you to meet up if they didn’t like you? If they’re in and out of your life on the regular, the truth is they’re probably keeping you on the bench. Like a football sub. So if you’re looking for a committed relationship, maybe it’s time to stop playing ball?

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