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June 17, 2024 14 mins

Welcome to another episode of One Hot Mess. Today we will be talking about benching and dating and what to do when you have been sidelined.

Benching in the dating world means keeping potential partners as backup options, stringing them along without committing. This trend has become common with the rise of dating apps, where people juggle multiple partners. We'll discuss how to recognize if you're being benched, what it feels like, and how to handle it.

Common signs of benching include inconsistent communication, uncertainty about plans, last-minute arrangements, casual sex without emotional commitment, and one-sided interactions. Reasons for benching range from fear of being alone, unrealistic expectations, the influence of dating apps, stress, mental health issues, and a lack of empathy.

If you suspect you're being benched, communicate honestly with the person. Set boundaries to protect yourself and prioritize your own needs. If their behavior continues, it may be best to end the relationship.

Thank you so much for listening. Please make sure to hit that follow button and share One Hot Mess with a friend. Have a beautiful day, guys.

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Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.

Hi guys, it's Brittany and welcome to another episode of One Hot Mess.
Today we're going to be talking about benching and dating and what to do when
you have been sidelined.
So if you watch or play sports,

you know that benching means keeping a player off the field or court as a backup
option in case your first or second choice of player is unable to play.
And this analogy has been extended to the dating world to describe a dating

trend where people keep potential partners as backup options.
Benching means keeping a backup player on the sidelines, not letting them participate
in the live action of one's life,
but letting them think they are a part of it because they get a better seat

than those in the bleachers.
Also, sometimes known as cushioning or breadcrumbing, benching is basically
the equivalent of stringing someone along.
The person is not not interested.
They're just not interested enough to commit to anything and are playing the field, so to speak.

Binging has become very common with the use of dating apps as people tend to
be overwhelmed with choice and are often juggling multiple partners.
So we're going to discuss how to recognize whether you are being benched by
someone, what being benched feels like, and what to do if you realize you are being benched.

So these are some common signs that can help you recognize that someone is benching you.
Inconsistent communication. That's one of the classic signs of benching is that
the person will be inconsistent in their contact, communication,
and efforts to make plans with you.

Uncertainty. If the person you're dating is vague about their next contact with
you, their upcoming schedule, and their level of interest in seeing you again,
then it's possible you're being benched.
Their behavior can leave you feeling uncertain of their interests and motives.

Or last-minute plans. Plans. When the person does reach out,
they may try to make plans with you at the last minute,
usually because something else has fallen through and they have a gap in their
schedule they want to feel.
Casual sex. The person may engage in casual sex with you either regularly or

or occasionally, without any hint of emotional commitment.
Emotional fallback. The person may use you as a source of emotional support
when they are going through something difficult and they need comfort.
Though being there for them can make you feel valued and needed,

it's important to note whether the support is reciprocated or only one way.
And one-sidedness. Your interests, communication, and interactions with the
person can feel one-sided.
And if you feel like you are on the outside of their life looking in,

you are probably being benched.
So reasons why people bench others. These are some of the potential reasons
why someone may bench you.
Fear of being alone.
Some people use dating to manage their fears of being alone for validation and as a distraction.

People who bench others are more likely to have a strong fear of being alone,
and they use partners as a way to bolster their ego and sense of self,
and they're not always honest with themselves or their partners about their motives.
Unrealistic expectations. People may be unrealistic in their expectations around partners.

The slightest inconvenience, turnoff, or conflict might cause them to bench their partner.
And use of online dating apps. A
2020 study notes that social media and dating apps enable binging because they
make it easy for someone to be in touch with multiple partners at the same time

and give all of them breadcrumbs of affection with minimal effort.
Sending an occasional text, meme, or post is just an easy way to string someone along.
Changing or changes in dating behavior with the rise of online dating apps and

the way that the experience is gamified people now shop for partners like they
are shopping for clothes online,
and they're stressed the person may have a lot going on in their work and personal
life and may not be emotionally available enough to participate in a committed relationship.

The person may feel overwhelmed by dating and may be incapable of focusing on
a relationship, so they may bench the person in the meantime.
Also, there's mental health issues. The person may have a narcissistic personality,
attachment disorder, self-esteem issues, or other emotional issues.

And lack of empathy. some people might bench others out of a lack of awareness
or empathy for another's experience.
So is benching the
same as ghosting and it's
not quite the same as ghosting because while benching means stringing someone

along ghosting someone means abruptly ending all communication and contact without
any information or explanation.
Essentially, benching means coming and going from someone's life at will,
whereas ghosting means disappearing from their life altogether.

With benching, the person doing the benching likes the person they are putting
aside and would be interested in potentially having a relationship with them.
However, the person also has other options to choose from and is more interested
in other potential partners.

So they may circle back to someone they've benched if things don't work out.
And people wonder, is benching worse than ghosting? Well, while both tactics
can be extremely confusing and hurtful,
benching can be worse than ghosting because the person is giving you hope and

stringing you along for longer periods of time rather than just cutting you
loose and allowing you to move on.
So, what does getting benched feel like? It of course can be a confusing and hurtful experience.
It can be confusing. It can feel like a confusing roller coaster because sometimes

you get a partner who is available and present and at other times they are absent.
Self-doubt being benched
can be a very hurtful experience for some causing feelings
of confusion self-doubt and questioning one's
self-worth and value it can
impact your self-esteem as well as your ability to date

confidently and find a partner worthy of your love people may internalize the
other person's behavior and assume the way they are being treated is a reflection
of their value as a person or something they're doing wrong.
Instead of identifying the other person as an unworthy partner who isn't treating

them as they deserve to be treated,
they assume the blame and believe they are less worthy.
And if you think someone is benching you, there are some steps that you can
take, such as communicate honestly.

You can be direct and just be like, hey, I'm feeling like I'm on the sidelines
at the moment. How do you feel about me?
And what are you looking for? Or open communication will never scare away or
ruin a relationship with someone who is interested in you.

It will only clarify where each person stands and save you a lot of confusion,
time, and effort of holding on to a relationship that will never give you what you want.
So be brave and don't be afraid to communicate
even if it means not getting the

answer that you want and set
boundaries to protect yourself because in
a situation like this it's important to remember your worth and
stand up for it you need to speak up
for yourself and assert your needs and your wants let them know what you're
looking for and that you are only interested in continuing your engagement if

they are also seeking and available for the same.
For instance, you could say, at this point in my life, I'm looking for an exclusive
relationship or a relationship that has the potential to turn serious.
If you're looking for something similar, I would love to see where this goes.
Otherwise, I don't think we should see each other anymore.

But if their binging behavior continues, you can let them know the relationship
isn't working for you anymore and then end it.
Then will they ever commit if they have benched you?
You know, there is no one-size-fits-all rule to dating and anything can happen.

But however, being benched isn't a strong foundation for a relationship and
the person will likely continue to keep you as a backup until they find someone
that they think is better. her.
If what you want is to be prioritized to put first, then know you deserve to

be with and can find someone who is willing to put you first rather than treating you like an option.
If you happen to be dating multiple partners, well, there are some steps that
you can take to avoid benching people or hurting others' feelings.
Just be honest. Let people know what you're looking for and what your intentions

are, you may not always be able to avoid hurting someone, but you can avoid
manipulating them and being dishonest.
And if you notice yourself benching someone or not wanting to see them again,
take that as a sign that they're not the person for you.

So get into the habit of ending relationships you don't see going anywhere.
Instead of keeping people as backups so you don't end up alone.
And focus on your needs. In the long run, it's better to focus on yourself and
hold out for your ideal partner rather than keeping people that you don't truly

see a future with around as a distraction.
If your needs at this time are to date for reasons other than finding a serious partner,
such as dating for fun after a
long relationship to learn more
about yourself and what you want and don't
want or any other reason then communicate this

clearly so that all parties involved can have
the information they need to make a
decision that feels right for them people are not place cards and treating others
this way creates more drama and hurt than accepting you might not be dating

anyone you're interested in at the moment.
So yes, now you know about benching.
And that is it for today, guys. Thank you so much for listening.
I truly appreciate it. Please make make sure to hit that follow button and share
one hot mess with a friend and i will talk to you guys next time have a beautiful day guys.

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