Benching Is The New Ghosting — But Worse

what is benching, worse than ghosting

There's a new trend in the dating scene and it's worse than ghosting.

How could anything be worse than being ghosted, you ask? Have you ever been benched?

Remember watching the movie where the protagonist begrudgingly gets picked last to play on the soccer team? They're thankful to have been chosen to play but they weren't any one's first choice. Or the movie where the kid is on the team but just never gets any field time? They're cheering courtside asking the coach to play but he usually ignores them.

Still, they’re on the team.

This can happen in your love life and it's a new method of dating called benching.

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We've all heard of ghosting, right? The phenomenon where you're talking to someone and you think everything is great. You want to meet up and even make plans to but suddenly they fall off the face of the planet. Maybe it's a gradual silence. A whole day of texting turns into one or two every other hour. Their social media pages are suddenly unavailable to you. Like a ghost, they once had a presence in your life and are now gone.

Ghosting isn’t justified but it's a little bit better than benching.

Benching is the idea that "I want you on my team" — meaning "I would like to date you (maybe) but not enough to fully commit to you." It says, "I see your value but I'm unsure if I'm ready or willing to put my all into a relationship with you."

So instead, the bencher gives partial effort and leads you on, making you think that you have a future with them.

They'll text to remind you that they’re thinking of you but rarely will they ask about your day or engage in conversation that's more meaningful than "hey what's up." Face it — you've been benched.

RELATED: If You're Going To Freaking Ghost Someone, At Least Do It The Right Way

At least with ghosting there's no gray area. It's just a straight-up (although sometimes random) rejection and you can move on to the next person. However, with benching you never quite know where you stand. You just know that there's some interest but not enough to create a relationship. So naturally, you continue to try to develop something that may not even be what the other person wants. 

Benching sucks because you're playing this game of maybes and what-ifs. You put time and energy into someone who's only giving part of themselves to you.

Maybe they're honest about where they are in their romantic lives. Perhaps they just got out of a relationship or they're just not ready for commitment but when you try to move on to other people they suddenly drop a few hints that they're interested. This reels you back into a situation that is one-sided because they don't want you to move on. either.

Benchers are usually talking to multiple people at once. They're playing the field while making sure that you remain interested in them with an ever-so-slight hint of interest in you. They don't suspect that you, too, can also be playing but on a different court. 

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People who bench likely enjoy the chase more than the prize.

It's very selfish of them to think they are the most important thing in your life but it's what benchers do. Then, when they find out that you're talking to other people or going out and meeting new potential mates, they get angry. Maybe they'll suddenly drop all the other players and finally put you in the game. But as soon as you drop everyone else that you've been talking to you because you've been waiting for this person, they’ll likely put you back on the bench and make you sit this one out.

Don't fall into their trap of "maybes." It's all a game to them and they're not on your team.

RELATED: How To Let Someone Down Easy If You're Not That Into Them

Isabella Ong is a writer who covers astrology, pop culture and relationship topics.