Benching – the new dating trend you need to know

Six days ago, our collective frustrations as single ladies and gents of the world had no single word to describe being lead on / kept on a hook / slow burn / faded out or strung along. “Benching” is the latest term to describe the unkind act of keeping a potential love interest, well…interested, without the slightest hint of commitment – even to the next date.

Contrary to first thoughts of a horror Hallmark card depicting a skeleton sitting on a park bench “waiting for the perfect date”, it’s a term that’s stemmed from the sporty act of keeping your reserve players on-the-bench; ready to be called up at a moment’s notice but not actually playing the game.

So here’s the thing, how do you know if you’ve been Benched? Are you inadvertently Benching a date in the hope for something better to come along?

Beta Male first coined this term last week, but the truth is Benching has been happening for a lot longer than a week, we just now have a word to describe it.

Here are the classic signs it’s happening to you:

  • The dates are few and far between (if at all!). There’s often a commitment to a date, which falls through at the last minute. That’s if you’re lucky. Otherwise it can be vague references to “catching up again” or “hanging out”, which usually don’t eventuate.

  • Communication is infrequent and sporadic. There’s no consistent pattern of communication and you have no idea when you might hear from them again, or when they might respond to your last text.

  • You’re not exactly “a thing” – they’re possibly seeing other people. We’re talking weeks / months here. If it’s been three days and you haven’t heard anything, it’s not exactly Benching territory just yet. If it’s all feeling dragged out and protracted, and it’s not progressing into something more, chances are you’re being benched.

  • Just when you think it’s faded out, you hear from them again. Usually it’s non-committal but just enough to pique your interest again. If they’re really good at it, they’ll make the topic about you. If they’re a Pro Bencher, they’ll almost lead you to believe that you’re the one who dropped communication i.e. “Hey! I haven’t heard from you in aaaages!”.

If you think you’re being benched, it’s not all bad! You get to decide what happens next! Benching is a power play – you can only be Benched if you let it happen. You’re enabling the situation if you continue to keep the lines of communication open and the occasional date in play.

The crux of Benching is – you’re more into the relationship than the other person. The moment you step back and look at it it’ll become pretty clear whether it’s going somewhere or not. You’ll also be able to tell if you’re inadvertently keeping someone on the sideline just in case you develop feelings / want a relationship at some point in the near future.

All of this points back to the one big ethos of dating – be kind to each other! This ain’t rocket science. Dating etiquette is quite simple – treat other people how you would like to be treated. Part two of this – treat YOURSELF how you would like to be treated. Once you’ve nailed that, the rest should be easy. No Benching or other Millennial / Gen Z slang – just straight up happy dates.

Tell us your thoughts on Benching – have you just realised you’re being benched or benching someone?

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