For people who have played a sport, or are at least acquainted with sporting activities from their high school or college life, the term ‘benching’ shouldn’t be new.
However, in the sporting world, benching is employed by the coach because he has to put the team first. In other words, he benches certain players because he believes it will increase the teams’ chances of winning.
In the dating world, benching is still a strategic decision, but it only benefits one person; the bencher. We are living in a world where different dating trends are springing out, and of course, people always have name-tags to match such dating experiences.
So follow me as I break down what this dating term; ‘benching’ means, how to identify it, and how it can affect the entire dating experience.
- 1 What Is Benching Dating?
- 2 17 Benching Dating Signs
- 2.1 1. The Relationship Stays Hidden
- 2.2 2. There’s A Promise And Fail Dynamic
- 2.3 3. Conversations Are Brief
- 2.4 4. You Always Text First
- 2.5 5. He Gives Mixed Feelings
- 2.6 6. There’s Forced Chemistry
- 2.7 7. He’s Elusive
- 2.8 8. He Doesn’t Put In Much Effort
- 2.9 9. He Vaguely Replies To Your Engagement Online
- 2.10 10. Excuse, Excuses, And More Excuses
- 2.11 11. The Disappearing Act
- 2.12 12. He Is Unavailable For Impromptu Dates
- 2.13 13. He Is Indifferent
- 2.14 14. You Stop Expecting Much From Him
- 2.15 15. You Hardly See Each Other
- 2.16 16. He Plays Mind Games
- 2.17 17. Your Self-Esteem Is Taking A Hit
- 3 FAQs
- 4 To Sum Things Up
What Is Benching Dating?
In the sports world, benching means keeping extra players on the bench or substituting them strategically at some point in the game. However, the term ‘benching’ has been introduced recently to the dating world, and I know, these dating terms are getting hard to distinguish. What differentiates this modern dating term from ‘situationships’ ‘breadcrumbing’ ‘monkey branching’ ‘ghosting’ and the likes is simply the execution.
One person decides to keep someone on the bench while ‘running the field.’ There’s no defined relationship and very little effort or commitment from him. In other words, this guy keeps you on the sidelines but continues seeing other people. He doesn’t end the ’pseudo-relationship’ just yet because he may need to come back to you later on.
17 Benching Dating Signs
1. The Relationship Stays Hidden
Just like other forms of modern dating, when someone is benching you, they’ll keep both you and the relationship hidden. It’s normal for someone to decide he doesn’t want the public to know about his personal business, but he won’t act as if he’s trying to avoid the paparazzi on a MET Gala’s eve!
There'll be at least some instances where both of you could hang out and get to know each other. However, if none of that is happening, then he might be benching you.
2. There’s A Promise And Fail Dynamic
“Don’t worry, we’ll hang out next weekend, something came up last minute.” But then next weekend comes, and he doesn’t even leave you a text message. Yes, it’s very possible that this person forgot, but that’s the thing! If he was dating someone he really liked, he would never forget a date he set with her.
Yes, it’s hurtful thinking that this guy isn’t that into you, but hey, we win some and lose some. The earlier you disconnect with this person, the better.
3. Conversations Are Brief
When someone is trying to get to know you better, one fleeting conversation won’t be enough. You’ll spend minutes texting each other, hours on the phone, and nights exploring the city together. That’s the whole point of a functional relationship. So, if this guy finds it hard to keep a conversation going, it’s possible he’s not as committed as he claims he is.
You could try it right now, text him and ask him about something interesting; for example, his most embarrassing moment, his first crush, or his high-school experience. If his response is short and simple, he’s either not much of a sharer, or he’s benching you.
4. You Always Text First
To add salt to injury, it’s not just that this person doesn’t keep conversations going; he may not even text altogether. When was the last time he messaged or called you? Two days, a week, 3 weeks? With a bencher, you can never tell when his next text will come in, So naturally, you’d feel the need to reach out and find out if everything is okay.
Here’s the truth, when someone loves you, even though he’s extremely busy, he’ll text at least once. It doesn’t take two minutes to send a simple “just thinking about you” text.
5. He Gives Mixed Feelings
One day he’s hot, and the next day he’s cold, that’s the kind of temperature benchers give to the people they are dating. I said ‘people’ because we have already established that a bencher doesn’t date one person.
He sees other ladies while he keeps you on the sidelines. To him, it’s a dating game where either one of the ladies wins, or he remains the king. Or, as we famously call them, a player. So if he’s into you today, but ghosts you all through the weekend, then you need to know now—he’s benching you.
Here’s the annoying thing, this won’t be a one-time thing, it’s a cycle for a bencher. So he wouldn’t mind being cold and unavailable one week, but then two weeks later, he’ll text again, acting as if nothing happened.
6. There’s Forced Chemistry
When you like someone, you won’t have to force them to like you back. They’ll be a magnetic force dragging both of you together. However, since the bencher isn’t all in, there’ll certainly be a disconnect in emotions, intimacy, and romance as a whole.
Maybe at first, he actually put in the effort. You see, the bencher has to play his games wisely, if he’s going to get a woman to tolerate his ‘excesses,’ then he has to be charming, flirty, and stricken for the first two or three weeks. Once he notices that you’re comfortable with him, he’ll gradually distance himself and limit any flirtatious acts.
7. He’s Elusive
The bencher isn’t the most straightforward person, which is expected, because there’s nothing straightforward about benching. Anyone who is playing a ‘dating game’ will lie, withhold information and do anything to keep his act up.
8. He Doesn’t Put In Much Effort
As I said before, a bencher will only put in an effort at the beginning of the relationship. However, after a while, he’ll stop being the caring, respectful, and cautious guy he used to be. Of course, at first, it’s easy to make excuses for him; “he’s busy,” “he’s going through something” or “that’s just his personality.”
Well, as I stated before, a guy that loves you won’t stop putting in the effort and start trying to avoid you all of a sudden. If there was no quarrel or misunderstanding of any kind, he’s probably doing this on purpose.
9. He Vaguely Replies To Your Engagement Online
This is another sad fact about a bencher. To him, being unavailable is convenient, he doesn’t want to stress too much about the multiple relationships he’s in. However, he is particular about keeping you on standby in case his other prospects fail him. That’s why he may like your pictures on social media, but he’ll seldom comment on them.
And if you do comment on his photos, he’ll either reply with a simple “thanks” or nothing at all, just so he won’t rouse attention. I must also warn you about this next example, that’s if you haven’t already experienced this. Sometimes, you’ll see that he’s online, but he still won’t make the effort to reply to your messages.
10. Excuse, Excuses, And More Excuses
How has your dating experience been with this person? Is he a man of his words? Does he put his money where his mouth is? You can tell if this guy is a back burner from the way he relates with you. If he actually keeps to his promises and shows up for dates, hangouts, and sleepovers, then he’s not benching you.
However, if he constantly comes up with a different excuse as to why he couldn’t call, check up on you or hang out with you, those are the true signs of a bencher.
11. The Disappearing Act
Or should I call this the reappearing act? It almost seems as if all benchers are magicians because they know how to disappear and reappear so easily. It’s rather sad because they’ll blank you long enough for you to get upset, but once you’re on the verge of leaving, viola! They’ll send in that ‘hey you’ text.
This magical act will leave you confused; “does he like me, does he not like me?” “is he playing hard to get?” The answer may be simple yet hard to accept, but he may be benching you.
It’s nice to call your man randomly and ask him to meet up with you after work. For someone who genuinely cares about you, this won’t be a problem. He’ll either reschedule if he’s really busy with work or family issues, but the difference here is, a genuine boyfriend will honor that rescheduled date while a bencher won’t.
A bencher may never be open to surprise dates, birthday parties, or anything of the sort. Allowing such may compromise the relationships he’s trying to foster with other ladies.
13. He Is Indifferent
A bencher may see how much he’s hurting you and how much you crave his time and attention, but it won't move him. Even when you confront him about his evasiveness, he’ll try to make you feel needy for bringing up such matters. At some point, you may start questioning your sanity. Don’t let it get to this point, cut ties with him now.
If you really care about him, let him know you’re aware of what he’s doing in a message, and tell him if he’s ever serious, you ‘may’ be there for him. It’s better to do this in a message rather than face-to-face, so he doesn’t convince you otherwise.
14. You Stop Expecting Much From Him
When you notice his indifferent attitude, the mixed signals he’s sending, and his annoying evasiveness, of course, you’ll reach the point where you get tired of his issues. You’ll notice the feelings you have for him will begin to wane, and you’ll slowly lose respect for him.
15. You Hardly See Each Other
Once you stop expecting much from this guy, you may stop putting effort into the relationship as well. At this point, with no-one to really reignite the spark, your conversations, meet-ups, and dates will reduce. The bencher banks on your commitment, hope, and love to keep you waiting for him, so he may not react to this coldness unless he feels he’s losing you.
16. He Plays Mind Games
People who bench others have a way with words. They are flirty, charming, and persuasive, if not, no-one would give them the time of the day. Another way he plays mind games is when he doesn’t share much information but tries to get information from you. He needs to know more about you so he knows your weaknesses.
That way, he’ll know how best to keep you where he wants. But sharing details about himself with you would mean being vulnerable, and that’s a game too risky for this player.
17. Your Self-Esteem Is Taking A Hit
Once you start feeling inferior and worthless, that means this guy isn’t just neglecting you, but killing your self-esteem. If low thoughts start taking over your mind because of this guy, I think that’s enough proof that he’s simply playing around.
He may not want to lose you yet. However, what happens if he actually finds someone he likes and decides to cut ties with you? It’s better you leave with your remaining pride and self-confidence now.
It means keeping someone on the sidelines while continuing to date other people. The bencher doesn’t try to end his relationship with any of the people he benches but keeps them long enough to either make his decision or go on the rounds again.
It’s hard to tell when someone is just leading you on or benching you for later. And while it may seem cruel, some psychologists don’t condemn this modern dating technique. Once this person initiates the initial dating process, he may start ignoring you after a while, and will only pay attention when you reach out to him. He may not text, call or meet up unless all the other relationships have crashed and he needs a backup; you.
If a guy benches you, he’s trying to explore other options rather than risking it all with you. Some guys who have been in toxic relationships do this a lot. They’d keep one or two ladies on the sidelines and keep dating other people and will only focus on you if they are sure you want the relationship enough to fight for it.
When a guy needs space, he may not tell you, but it won’t take too long before he starts talking to you again. A person who ghosts someone else may not have the intention of ever resuming communications or the relationship as a whole.
You can’t truly know when someone is being truthful and transparent, you can only hope that their intentions are good. However, there are some tell-tale signs in the way this person treats you; the respect, genuine concern and care, the sacrifices and help he offers, how often he communicates, and his dedication to the relationship.
To Sum Things Up
Did you enjoy reading through this list? Truly, modern dating has evolved into something else, and you can only avoid being benched if you can identify the signs early enough. Remember, your self-worth is at stake here, while dating is a game for some, you don’t have to play if you don’t want to.
Have any thoughts on the topic? Leave a comment down below, and don’t forget to share this with others.
As hopeless romantic I struggled tremendously in my love life. After many years of searching, trial & error, and countless failed relationships, I finally found my Mr. Right. It wasn't an easy road, but one that has taught me an incredible amount about the workings of relationships between men and women, and this is what I hope to share through my writing on this blog.