What Is Benching & Is It Really Any Better Than Ghosting?

What Is Benching & Is It Really Any Better Than Ghosting? ©iStock/Martin Dimitrov

Just when you thought dating couldn’t get any worse than ghosting, benching is starting to take hold. In case you’re unfamiliar with the term, benching is basically putting someone on the back burner and texting them just enough to keep them interested without actually putting any real effort because the bencher wants to keep their options open. They don’t disappear from your life unexpectedly a la ghosting, but would it be better if they did?

  1. With ghosting, people get the message quickly. Is ghosting rude? Absolutely. Cowardly? Sure. But at the very least, you’ll get the message after a week or so at most. With benching, you could be led on for months. Those months could be time spent with someone who actually wants to commit to you.
  2. It’s a major ego stroke for the bencher. Let’s be real here — a lot of guys who bench do so because they like the idea of having their own “selection” of women to choose from. They’re looking to stroke their egos at the expense of others’ feeling while also keeping their options open. On the other hand, with ghosting, it’s often done because they don’t want to be the bad guy by actually openly rejecting the girl.
  3. Unlike ghosting, there’s no reason to bench. When a person ghosts, they typically do so because they don’t feel comfortable with breakups. It’s cowardly, selfish and rude, but also somewhat understandable. With benching, there’s no reason to be so sneaky. Most people will be somewhat understanding if you tell them you want to keep your options open, and even if they’re not, they can’t blame you for being (sorta) honest.
  4. Both ghosting and benching say volumes about the person who does it. It shows that they’re a coward. It shows that they’re rude. It also shows that the only person they really care about is themselves. If a guy likes you, he’ll send you more than one or two texts a week. He’ll actually make plans to hang out. He won’t keep you on the line until he figures out whether or not he’s feeling it — that’s dirtbag behavior.
  5. Benching can also be a loophole philanderers use for cheating. In the past, serial cheaters would just hop from one relationship to another. Now they’ve morphed into players who bench, often shrugging off their own behavior by saying something along the lines of, “Look, it’s not like we’re dating exclusively.” Yikes…
  6. At the very least, ghosting doesn’t get your hopes up. Since the guy isn’t talking to you when you’re ghosted, you know where you stand. When you’re benched, it’s very likely that you might think you’re more important to him than you really are. All that business that he talks about becomes a very easy excuse to believe in when you’re actually interested in him. In this sense, benching is definitely crueler than ghosting.
  7. In reality, benching is really just leading someone on. That kind of behavior wasn’t cool in 1970, and it’s still not cool in 2016. It’s just as rude, and even more heartbreaking than ghosting — and that’s why we shouldn’t be doing it.
  8. Benching makes you wonder why people can’t be honest about their intentions. Dating would be so much easier if we all knew where we stood. The fact that this isn’t already a given says so much about the crappy state of dating. First ghosting, now benching — what’s next?
Ossiana Tepfenhart is a New Jersey based writer and editor with bylines in Mashed, Newsbreak, Good Men Project, YourTango, and many more. She’s also the author of a safe travel guide for LGBTQIA+ people available on Amazon.

She regularly writes on her popular Medium page and posts on TikTok and Instagram @ossianamakescontent.