Getting 'Benched' Isn't Just For Sports. Here's What You Need To Know About The Dating Trend

Dating in the 21st century can be a minefield of confusion, back-and-forth, and terms you have never heard of. Between situationships, talking stages, and friends with benefits, there's a lot to keep up with.

Though there is plenty of info out there on how to tell if you're in a situationship (i.e. a relationship that hasn't been established as one yet), what about other dating terms? You've probably heard of ghosting, but chances are you may not know about the latest dating trend that you should be aware of — benching. Much like how you may not be happy in a situationship, benching is another sort of relationship limbo where nothing has been confirmed. This may work for some people, but for others it can cause stress, confusion, and anxiety. Whether you think you might be stuck in a benching situation or want to help out a friend who is unsure of what to do, we've got all the info on what exactly benching is and what it means for your relationship/s. 

The trend is similar to being in a never-ending situationship

Speaking to Glamour, language expert Steph Koyfman explained, "benching is an updated version of 'stringing someone along,' and it reflects the choice paralysis of having multiple online dating prospects to juggle." The term "benching" comes from the imagery of being a player waiting on the bench, which could be you if you are in a non-committed partnership. Koyfman further elaborated on just how brutal benching someone is, stating that benching someone means "you still want to keep them around as a backup option, so you give them just enough to keep them interested." As relationship expert Tina Wilson puts it, benching means you are the back-up option for someone, usually because they like someone else more. 

However, psychologist Ann Rosen Spector believes that benching can be beneficial if you are seeing several people casually at the same time (via Women's Health). In this case, benching can help you to figure out who you like the most before you make a commitment. This does not mean that you should lead someone on, though — once you have made up your mind, let the other people you have been seeing know to avoid future issues.

Here are the key things to look out for in benching

Benching is not a new term or predicament, and in fact has been a thing since the 2000s. Still, this doesn't make it any easier to come to terms with the fact you may have been benched. Here are some of the biggest benching red flags to watch out for so you don't end up watching someone else have fun from the sidelines. Firstly, plans. If your only plans with your partner are last-minute things or they get canceled often, that's a huge sign that you are the backup plan.

Secondly, when you speak to each other. It's a pretty obvious red flag if you only contact each other late at night and never during the day. Thirdly, and perhaps most telling, is whether you are ever mentioned to others. If you are a secret to their friends and family, you are probably not a priority — even worse, you could be the unwilling third party in an already established relationship. 

If you do recognize any of these signs, it's time to speak to the person you may be being benched by — putting yourself first is always the right thing to do.