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Everything You Ever Need to Know About Benching

How to tell if it's happening to you, or if you're accidentally doing it.

As if modern dating wasn't complicated and exhausting enough already, there are so many terms for every conceivable way your Tinder date might blow you off. There's ghosting, haunting, fading, breadcrumbing, uncuffing (without properly communicating that you were cuffing to begin with, that is), entering a situationship—all slightly different variations of a person saying they're just not into you without actually saying it. Fun!

In case you're thirsty for even more possibilities of romantic rejection, let me present to you: benching. Simply put, benching, according to Urban Dictionary, is when you like someone enough to keep seeing them, but not enough that you want to lock it down with them, so you keep them as an option while you continue to date around.

Unlike benching in sports, where a player is substituted for the betterment of the team, benching in dating only serves one person: The bencher. For instance, if you bristle at the concept of spending time on their own, you may make plans with the person you've been benching because it's better than staying in alone (and TBH, this can apply to friendships as well).

But wait, you ask. Isn't this literally the same thing as breadcrumbing, where a person out of nowhere sends you flirty texts, or a situationship, where you don't fully define the relationship? Er, yeah, kind of! But benching is different in that the person who's doing the benching might not even commit to reaching out first. So long as you put in the work of always sending the "you free?" text and making plans, the bencher will take you up on your offer and meet up if they have nothing else going on. Whether it's grabbing a drink when they're bored or breaking things off when they're just not feeling it, they just can't make up their minds about you.

Of course, they could actually have an amazing time with you every time you hang out, but neither want a monogamous relationship nor know how to tell you that they are noncommittal ATM. Truth be told, it doesn't really matter: if you're looking for something serious and keep getting treated like this, cross this one off the list. If they can't break things off normally OR make an effort to sacrifice their other plans for you, they will never be there for you when it matters.

And if, after readinig this, you realize you're the one benching people, stop it! Or just tell them you want to keep things casual. Just because You don't want to be part of a two-person team, doesn't mean you get to be a player.

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