I recently went on a great first date with a guy who even texted me after to tell me he would like to do it again. But now, it's been months, and that second date has never happened. However, he keeps on texting me every few days, liking my social media posts, and direct messaging me on Instagram, all with the purpose of keeping me interested. And then, I realized... I've been benched.
What is benching? Well, it's more commonly known as leading someone on, stringing someone along, putting them on the back burner, or basically doing anything you can to keep someone interested in you, without having to put any emotional or physical labor into a relationship with them. Essentially, someone doesn't commit to you, but instead, ignores you until it's convenient for them.
Instead of dumping someone (or ghosting them) you just bench them for potential later use. IMHO, it's the worst dating trend out there. Here are some reasons getting benched is way worse than being ghosted. Seriously.
1. Benching Gives You Hope
When you've been ghosted, your crush goes completely MIA. While it sucks, at least it doesn't keep you hanging on all that much — there's more room for you to let go.
Benching, however, gives you hope for a future with your partner, which keeps you waiting for them to come around. You don't hear from them for weeks, and then, you receive a text that says "hey stranger," at 9 p.m. on a Saturday. Immediately, you think that your crush finally has time for a partner and is going to ask you out again. Wrong.
Someone who benches you has the exact intention of making you think that your relationship has a future, even though it doesn't. Why would someone constantly be liking all of your Instagram photos if they weren't interested in you?
Unfortunately, sometimes, actions don't mean what you think they mean, and people are just bored — or even worse, selfish. Don't lose hope in romance, though. Do lose hope when it comes to the person who is benching you. They're not worth it.
2. Benching Makes You Feel Crazy
Are we dating or aren't we? Do you like me at all? Am I making this all up in my head? Benching leaves you with a lot of unanswered questions, and let's face it: It can make you feel pretty crazy.
When someone benches you, they don't give you any IRL attention, keeping you on the back burner for a while, until they randomly come back to give you some insignificant recognition in the form of random texts and social media likes that keep you hanging on.
Benching can also lead to cyber stalking, if you let your confusion snowball into paranoia and jealousy. You might check the following tab on Instagram to see what other pictures your crush is liking, or you might go down a rabbit hole investigating all the people who are liking their pictures, too.
When you like someone, your brain puts together a worst-case scenario to fill in any puzzle pieces currently missing in your relationships. And if you are being benched, most likely, a lot of puzzle pieces are missing.
3. Benching Can Put Your Dating Life On Hold
You only usually allow yourself to be benched by a person you actually like. You'd never be strung along by some person you weren't even that into, right?
But when you're really interested in someone, you're bound to let a lot of other options fall away. You might even be benching other people yourself — totally unintentionally.
Being led on sucks because you might be missing great, viable candidates in the pursuit of a partner who might never actually commit to you. So make sure you are going after people who are not only emotionally, but physically available. That's what you deserve.
4. Benching Leaves You Glued To Your Phone
There isn't a more pathetic feeling than being glued to your phone, waiting for someone to call.
The thing about benching is that the bencher doesn't exit your life completely as they would during ghosting. Rather, they enter it sporadically to lead you on — whenever it's convenient for them — and they give you hope that a relationship is possible.
You might get a text every few weeks, a random social media like, or even be contacted solely through direct message. (I once had a direct message relationship with someone for years, who I met only once IRL.) So if you're invested in the person who is benching you, then most likely, your phone is now you're new best friend. Hell, your phone is now your boyfriend.
The best way to get rid of a bencher is to tell them that if they want to talk to you, they can do it consistently and in real life. If they actually want a relationship with you, they'll set up a date.
All I can say is this:Don't settle for someone who puts you on the back burner. You deserve better than that.
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