Your Partner is Benching You. Now What?
From ghosts to zombies to catfish, you might have thought that your glossary of bad daters couldn’t grow any longer. Unfortunately, that list has no end in sight, and as people set out to secure their lineups for “hot vax summer”, a new culprit is coming out to play: the bencher. While benching might be a new ballgame for most, we’re here to help you stay on defense as you enter the playing field this season.
What is Benching?
Think about most team sports. When you’re benched you’re not actually playing but you’re still on the team, waiting for the coach to swap you in. In the dating world, benching is pretty similar. It occurs when someone isn’t interested in dating you but keeps you around while they continue to play the field. Being benched can be discouraging, especially if you were ready to commit to that person and weren’t aware of their intentions. Luckily, there are ways to identify a bencher and deal with them once caught.
5 Signs That Your Partner is Benching You
1. You Rarely See Them In-Person
A text here and there? Claims that they’d love to see you but are “just so busy”? You’re probably on the bench. If you are only talking to your partner online, keep your guard up — they’re likely having a field day with the other members of their roster.
2. They’re Always Preparing For A Raincheck
When making plans, keep your eyes peeled for words like “tentative” and “maybe.” If used frequently, these are red flags as they give the person you’re talking to an easy way out if a “better” offer comes along. A lack of solid plans and constant rainchecks probably means that they’re not that into you.
3. Their Interest Comes and Goes
If they brought you on a date to their cousin’s wedding or on a night out with their friends, you might start to think that you’re the one. When these displays of interest are punctuated by periods of radio silence, it’s time to take a step back and consider where you stand. Chances are, their best player was out for the weekend so they briefly took you off the bench and strung you along as their sub.
4. You’re Feeling Confused
This one brings us back to our previous point. If they’re flirty over text and overly complimentary during the odd occasion that you two meet up in person, it’s natural to feel confused when they ghost you for weeks on end. If you don’t know where your relationship stands and can’t seem to find out, they’re likely keeping you around as a backup as they draft other prospects.
5. You Feel Relieved When They Text You
Just when you’ve had enough of their ghosting and are ready to accept your defeat, you’re saved by the ping of your phone. That “what’s up tonight?” text may offer you a rush of relief, but don’t fall into that trap. Take that feeling as a sign that you’re being benched. In a healthy relationship, you shouldn’t be in a constant limbo of wondering if they want you or not.
How to Deal with Benching
If you find out that your partner is benching you, you’re likely feeling down, disillusioned, and betrayed. While this dating trend can seriously mess with your trust and sense of self-confidence, try considering these next steps.
1. Know Your Worth
Finding out that you were someone’s Plan B can make you feel worthless, but it’s important to remember that it’s not your fault. Most benchers have done this before and won’t hesitate to do it again. There are so many people out there looking for a genuine connection and being benched has given you the opportunity to find them.
2. Have An Open Discussion About It
If you find out that you’re being benched, consider having a discussion with the person you’re talking to. Often, people bench because they’re scared to commit, but sometimes they assume that you’re dating around as well. If they think you’re seeing other people, they’ll likely have a “no harm, no foul” mentality until you solidify your relationship status.
3. Know When To Walk
If you can’t get the loyalty you deserve, it’s time to move on. There’s no use in waiting around for someone who treats you like any other player on their team. As we said, know your worth and wait for someone who wants to be a consistent part of your life.
For tips on how to re-enter the dating pool after a benching, check out our article on meeting and dating organically.