Have You Been Benched? 12 Signs You’ve Been Put On The Back Burner

Essentially, benching is when the person you’re involved with strings you along without ever actually putting in effort or following through with plans. It’s probable your bencher likes you to some extent but they’re keeping you on the back burner for another time—and you’re probably on there with a lot of other people. Don’t take the warning signs lightly.

  1. He plays hot and cold. One minute he’s all about you and the next he’s acting disinterested or straight up MIA. He either doesn’t know what he wants or he’s consciously reeling you in but keeping you at arm’s length. If he’s maintaining your interest but pumping the brakes when you start to get closer, he’s probably saving you for later.
  2. You usually text first. Sometimes he’ll pop up in your inbox (inducing stomach flips and butterflies), but usually it’s you initiating contact. Not only that, but you can never expect more than a few replies off him before the conversations dries up. If you feel like you’re the one putting in all the effort, it’s probably because you are.
  3. His contact is spread out, cryptic and fleeting. Whenever he does reach out, it’s completely random and the conversation doesn’t last long. That’s if you even get an actual text. Sometimes he makes contact via an Instagram like or he’ll flick you the thumbs up on Facebook. If he’s only leaving breadcrumbs, it’s time to change direction.
  4. Plans are always vague. He acts like he’s keen to see you but when it comes to setting a date, suddenly he’s Mr. Elusive. His responses to invites are usually constructed with enthusiasm, uncertainty, and then false hope, and look a little something like this: “Sounds good! Work’s a bit crazy this week. Soon, though!” Sound familiar?
  5. The chemistry is waning. When you first started seeing each other, sparks were flying and conversation was exciting. Now, chatting with him is like getting blood out of a stone. If his enthusiasm comes in random bouts but he seems disinterested the rest of the time, chances are he’s just keeping you there for a rainy day.
  6. No one knows who you are. You know who his friends are, but they don’t seem to know you, or at least your significance. Harsh reality: you probably aren’t significant, at least not in his eyes. When something is important in someone’s life, those closest to them will know about it. You can do better.
  7. The only constant is his inconsistency. You’ve learned by now that you can’t expect him to reply to a text or commit to a plan, but you can anticipate he’ll pop up unexpectedly. His unpredictability isn’t because he’s busy or spontaneous, it’s because he’s a flake. If the only thing you can rely on is erratic behavior, it’s time to cut him loose.
  8. He ignores you online. Your last message has gone unacknowledged, yet he uploads gym selfies and likes other people’s posts (probably of other girls). This kind of BS should never be tolerated. If he’s blatantly ignoring your messages and still active online, not only is he stringing you along, he’s also just an asshat.
  9. You rarely see him IRL. It seems like you’ve been involved for a while, but you actually rarely see each other in person. Sure, you make ambiguous plans, but they hardly ever materialize. If he’s been dangling the carrot but never following through with actual time together, you’re on the bench.
  10. He’s terribly busy and important. Or at least that’s what he’d have you think. Unless he’s actually Chris Hemsworth, he has plenty of time for you (and even Chris manages to maintain a marriage). If a guy is genuinely interested in pursuing something with you, he will make room in his schedule.
  11. He’s a magician. He seems to disappear for big chunks of time, leaving no clue as to where he’s gone, then…POOF! He appears again just as you were beginning to worry. It’s just like magic! Yeah, not really…he’s just a douche.
  12. You feel low-key crappy all the time. Unlike when it all started, the whole situation now just makes you feel a little anxious. The little bursts of excitement when you do hear from him are enough to keep you hanging on. The rest of the time, however, you basically feel like shit. No relationship is good 100 percent of the time, but you should feel happy for the majority. If you don’t, then there’s something going on and it’s time to reevaluate if this guy is worth it (spoiler: he isn’t).
Tabitha is a freelance writer and editor who is currently trying and failing to achieve a tan in Queensland, Australia. When she's not traveling the world in search of the country with the best food (and hottest dudes), she is living the perfect hermit life and fostering her unhealthy addiction of "The Bold and the Beautiful."