Benching: what it’s like to be kept on the bench
Benching is when someone is not exactly interested in dating you but at the same time, the person does not even want to let you go.
Have you ever met someone who seems interested in you but is not willing to commit? You share good chemistry and are compatible but whenever you meet the other person, you are totally clueless about what might be going on his or her mind. If this situation sounds familiar, you might be experiencing “benching”.
He or she tries to keep all the options open and would come back to you when they feel like. benching is what happens when you’re in that cute-flirty stage, texting back and forth with someone, but they don’t always respond and they never follow through with plans.
At times, you might even think it’s over after not hearing from them for a while, but just when you’re ready to let go, their name pops up on your phone with a sweet message. Benching is not a particularly new or novel practice, but it has become particularly easy to do in digital spaces where people can send off quick texts or comments without committing to an actual conversation or date.
What really happens when a person is “benching” someone is that the person isn’t really interested in dating you, but doesn’t want to let you go for some pretty selfish reasons. Benching means to keep someone on the bench, as a second-string football player to keep at hand in case the main player bows out.
Depending on the kind of relationship you are in, there are several signs of being benched. Your crush might respond to your texts and calls as per their convenience, or talk to you all the time but is not willing to take the relationship to the next level.
When they sense you’re getting fed up, they’ll spring back into your inbox like nothing ever happened with a disarming “Miss you” or “When are we gonna meet?” It’s weird — you text too much to not be dating, but you see each other way too infrequently to be an actual “thing.” You’re never quite sure where you stand. Benching is one of the most annoying dating trend, to be honest!
Benching is a totally selfish and terrible thing to do, but what’s worse is that we all do it. There’s a whole bunch of reasons you might bench someone or they might bench you, whether it’s a play for power or a way to feel good about oneself without commitment. Benchers usually do it because they can’t commit, are scared to be alone, or both.
Some of them may also assume that the other person isn’t that interested in them, which leads to a sort of “no harm, no foul” mentality. Another type of bencher enjoys the power exchange of being desired by multiple people without following through with any of them. It’s not that they’re not into you, they’re just only into you in a painful, limited, and patently unfair way.
Benching can seem even polite to the bencher, although it’s more insidious than ghosting. It helps benchers avoid feeling guilty about rejecting someone and lets them feel good about themselves. It’s a common dating style of an avoidant personality, meaning people who are extremely sensitive to what others think of them.
If you’re doing the benching, remember that it’s OK to be selfish sometimes — but there’s a real person at the other end of your phone. A text every now and then might not seem that bad for you to send, but remember you might be playing with someone’s deeper feelings. In such a situation, it’s best to be honest and tell the person you like them but aren’t sure if you want a relationship. You may want to have a conversation with yourself before sending that text – do I really want to hang out with that person? What is the real reason I am about to send this message?
Benching can seem morally wrong, especially if you’re the one being benched, but it may be more human nature than you think. The inconsistencies, such as the “I miss you” texts and the Instagram “likes” that string you along could be annoying, but they may not be as catastrophic as they’re made out to be. The weeks of silence should be enough for benchees to realize this is not a “relationship” of substance, but one you’ve entertained for far too long. While you can’t exactly stop someone from benching you, you certainly can stop yourself from feeling led on. To do that, take control of the situation.