Benching. What is it and why do people do it?

I wrote a post last year about a new dating phenomena called ‘Ghosting’. Of course it wasn’t actually a new thing, just someone had put a name to it. And now, as then, a new term has sprung up that is sure to soon be part of the dating lexicon. Ladies and gentlemen, let me tell you about ‘benching’.

Being that this is quite a new term, so new in fact that it hasn’t even made its way into the Urban Dictionary yet, I suppose the first thing to cover is what benching actually is. Basically it’s when you’re getting with someone, or at least you think you are, and then they all of a sudden disappear, leaving you wondering what the hell went wrong. Now at this point it sounds a lot like being ghosted, however it’s not, and let me explain why. See when you get ghosted, you’re with someone and then all of a sudden they ditch you, never to be seen again. The difference with benching is that they only ditch you whilst they pursue another option, but when that goes wrong, they all of a sudden get in touch again. Get it? You’re benched until they want you back in the game!

You might not think it’s ever happened to you, but think about it. You telling me you’ve never been getting on really well with someone, flirting, maybe even having some sexy time or whatever, and then all of a sudden that drop off your radar and you don’t know why. Time spent wondering if you should send a message or if you should even still be bothered, and then just when you think about putting them the lost cause category, you receive that flirty snapchat. Or that cheeky WhatsApp message. Whatever it is, it’s something that is designed to reignite things between you.

I know that’s happened to me, and I bet I’m not the only one. In fairness I’ve also done that, and again, I’m sure I’m not alone in that. The question is why? Why would someone deliberately string someone along whilst keeping their options open and pursuing other people? It’s simple really. People a) often want what they can’t have, and b) don’t want to end up with nothing. Selfish? Absolutely. Morally contentious? Definitely. Does any of that make one shred of difference? Nope.

People do shit like that all the time. Texting a certain someone when they feel like they need some attention, even though they know they would never go there. Flirting with someone they know is interested even though they know it will never develop. Even sleeping with someone they know wants more just because they don’t want to be lonely and they know that person will always be willing. I could go on. The point is, benching is just another example of how when it comes to love, relationships and sex, the rules really do get thrown out of the window. It’s often a cruel game, but that’s because it’s survival of the fittest and when it comes to love, it really is a case of every man or woman for themselves. Doesn’t mean you feel any better when you’re on the receiving end though.

So if you feel like someone you like is all over you one minute and then nowhere to be seen the next, consider that even though you might be putting them in your starting line up everytime, you might not be anything but a substitute in theirs. So really it’s a case of your own love ambition. Are you happy being a part time starter or do you want to be the only one in the limelight?

If you do, it might be time to find a new team.