What Is Benching In Dating & What to Do If You’re Being Benched

What Is Benching In Dating & What to Do If You’re Being Benched

Do you know when players are benched in a sport? They are kept as the backup option for the playing team; they are not in the playing action but are still mentioned in the team. The same is true for the new trend in dating.

While dating, have you ever felt like being a reserve, who’s being kept around until the person finds someone more attractive or desirable? Having the instinctual feeling of them not committing fully yet not denying having any feelings for you? If so, then that person may be “benching” you.

Benching is like being interested in someone but not being that interested in having a committed and exclusive relationship with them. 

In this blog, you’ll learn about what is benching in dating, how it feels to be benched, why people bench others, and what to do about it.

What Is Benching In Dating & What to Do If You're Being Benched

What Is Benching In Dating?

What does benching in dating mean? “Benching” in dating means keeping someone around as their backup option, just in case they don’t find anyone more desirable. It means that when a person does not want to pursue a relationship with you exclusively or commit fully to you but just wants to keep you around as a “backup option” in their dating life,

Benching is the new dating trend that is popular on social media and describes a practice that seems to be growing more common than you know. The experience of being benched can never be good.

Also Read: Situationship Vs Friends With Benefits: What’s The Difference?

How To Know If They Are Benching You?

Benching is the new dating trend. In this era of red flags, it is difficult to find your green flag and have an honest and healthy relationship with them. While dating apps may have good results for some, they tend to have adverse impacts on many. Benching is the new dating trend introduced amidst all this. Let’s get to know some basic signs that may indicate that you’re benched.

Limited Availability

What Is Benching In Dating & What to Do If You're Being Benched

If they are constantly busy or have extremely limited time sharing with you, then this might be a sign that they are benching you. Of course, they don’t have to be available or talk to you all the time, but if they often claim to be busy or just cancel plans without rescheduling them, they may not be prioritizing your presence and are constantly unavailable, so this might be a bad sign.

Inconsistent Communication

What Is Benching In Dating & What to Do If You're Being Benched

Are they taking too long to respond to your texts? Have their communication patterns changed suddenly? Do they ignore your texts or calls? If your answer is yes, then they might be benching you. If a person acts in a very inconsistent manner, cancels plans at the last minute, or has sudden changes in communication, then this is a sign that you might be a backup option for them and are low on their priority list.

One-Sided Efforts

If you are the only one who plans surprises and dates in your relationship, and efforts from them seem to be completely absent, then this might be a sign that they are benching you. Their ambiguous schedule, vague replies, and little to no reciprocation of your efforts are red flags.

Trust Your Instincts

Gut feelings are rarely wrong. Most of the time, your gut knows what is wrong, and your heart might not want to accept it. If you feel like something is off or is not going on as it should, then you should trust your instinct and address your concerns or have an open conversation about your concerns and relationship status.


What Does Getting Benched Feel Like?

What Is Benching In Dating & What to Do If You're Being Benched

Have you ever heard a player say, “Oh, I’m so happy that I have been kept as a backup option till anyone gets injured or is not playing for any reason?”

Imagine the excitement of being selected for your college basketball team, but then you get to know that you’re not going to play in the team but are going to be benched as an extra player. How would that make you feel?

No one can be happy that the person they like or have an interest in has kept them in the second position or that he or she might be interested in you in the future. Also known as cushioning or breadcrumbing, benching is equivalent to stringing someone along. 

baseball player kneeling on ground

The initial excitement and butterflies of meeting someone new, getting to know each other and forming a connection, but after all this, you find a sudden change in their behavior, then lose interest in conversations. This can make you wonder what happened suddenly and what made them lose interest in you.

The reason might be that they are benching you. This could induce self-doubt and speculations about yourself, overanalyzing your interactions and looking for what went wrong. This introspection could be both enlightening and challenging. 

Ultimately, what you need to do is move on and accept that you are not their priority and might never be.

Also read: How Long is Too Long Without Sex in a Relationship? 

8 Reasons Why People Bench Others

There could be many reasons why people bench others. In any relationship, it is crucial to have honest communication and be open about what you want from your relationship. Following are some reasons why one might be benching you.

Fear of Commitment and Uncertainty

Fear of commitment is a serious issue and is faced by a large number of people nowadays. Someone may be benching you because they have a fear of commitment. They might enjoy the initial stages of a relationship but get easily scared when things start getting serious. Or it could be the fact that they are still uncertain of their feelings. If a person is not sure of their feelings, they wouldn’t be able to commit to you completely and might be keeping you on the bench, just in case.

Societal Pressures

a group of people taking pictures with their cell phones

Pressures from external sources are one of the biggest problems for people. In the case of dating, it could be possible that the person whom you’re involved with may be going through something. They might have been benching you due to familial expectations, societal norms, or just the feeling that they need to prioritize their studies or their career instead of this aspect of their life. 

Past Experiences 

Past experiences of any person play a significant role in any relationship. With some bad experiences, a person’s ability to be engaged in a relationship may be hampered. This kind of emotional baggage will play an adverse role in both of your lives. With these experiences, they may be benching you to protect their selves from potential hurt or disappointments.

Exploring their Options

woman holding phone

It is quite possible that when someone is benching you, there’s no specific reason but just that they are exploring options for themselves. This could be because of the usage of dating apps. These online dating apps make it easy for people to be in touch with multiple people at the same time with little to no effort. This could make them refrain from committing and let them keep their options open.

Unrealistic Expectations

In this era of perfection, everyone wants someone perfect. Each one of us wants a person who always agrees with us, makes us feel valued, and is up to all of our wants and needs. Having these expectations could make them bench you because any of the slightest disagreement or inconvenience would result in them being distant from you and looking for someone else. 

Fear of Rejection

happy new year greeting card

Fear of rejection can cause people to keep individuals at arm’s length. This can keep them from committing fully to anyone and result in benching people. They might refrain from committing because of the vulnerability that comes with a relationship. 

Avoiding Confrontations

man in gray crew neck long sleeve shirt standing beside woman in black crew neck shirt

One of the basic reasons for benching someone is to escape the awkward conversation of rejection. If they are not into you or do not wish to be together anymore, then it might seem easier to gradually withdraw and be distant rather than having “the talk.” This can make the other person think for themselves that the romance or the chemistry between them is fading, and this is the time to end things. This could stem from a fear of hurting people’s feelings.

Fear of Being Alone

Some people might have the fear of being alone. They like to keep many people around them, which would make them feel more needed and not alone. Benching someone would serve as a way for them to keep themselves protected. This would be a way to keep someone in the background and serve as a potential backup for when they can’t find anyone else or don’t have anyone else.

Is Benching The Same As Ghosting?

While both benching and ghosting mean a reduction in communication in one way or another, these terms are not quite the same. 

Benching is keeping the other person on the sidelines and as a backup option for themselves without cutting off all communications. Benching is the gradual decrease of communication and engagement. While they might occasionally be interested in you or agree to make plans, they are not quite invested in the relationship.

person in white long sleeve shirt holding black smartphone

Whereas, ghosting is the abrupt cutting off of all modes of communication without as much as an explanation. It’s almost like vanishing completely from the relationship or the situationship. This can happen after a few dates or even after some time of continuous interactions. 

The key difference between the both lies in their gradual and abrupt nature. While both behaviors from someone are hurtful, benching could leave a space for potential re-kindling of your relationship, whereas ghosting is a more final and complete end of a relationship.


What’s The Difference Between Benching & Situationships?

While both benching and situationships are uncertain and vague, they differ in nature and dynamics. 

Benching is keeping someone on the sidelines and engaging with them without fully committing to a relationship. It involves a person reducing communication and being distant from you without completely cutting you off. This behavior could be driven by uncertainty in a person’s mind or a fear of commitment.

Situationships refer to relationships that lack clear commitments and definitions. The expectations in situationship are often unclear and may not fit the traditional labels of society about relationships. It can be called a state of uncertainty where both people are emotionally invested, but their future is unclear.

silhouette of hugging couple

The main difference between both benching and situationship lies in the focus on uncertainty. While in benching, the one person is not fully committed or is not participating fully in the relationship, in a situationship, the labels are undefined. 

While both involve a certain vagueness and uncertainty, there is a lack of clarity and undefined things in this relationship.

What To Do If Someone Is Benching You?

Being benched can be challenging, both emotionally and mentally. There are some steps that you can take if you’ve been benched.

Communicate Honestly

man and woman holding hands

Communication is the pillar of any relationship. If you think you’re being benched, then try conversing with the person. Be honest about how their behavior is affecting you mentally and emotionally.

Set Boundaries

Setting boundaries is essential in life. In a relationship, this becomes even more important. Clearly express your expectations from them and your relationship. Ask for clarity and commitment from them.

Evaluate Your Needs

Try to analyze and reflect on what it is that you want from that relationship. Consider your own needs and prioritize your mental health. If they continue to bench you even after your various attempts to reach out, then you need to reflect if the relationship aligns with your needs.

Seek Closure

broken heart hanging on wire

If they continue to bench you even after several attempts of yours to communicate and be more involved with each other, then try having a conversation with them and seeking closure rather than waiting for them and harming yourself emotionally.

Also read: What Are You Looking for in a Relationship: 11 Answers

Will They Ever Commit To Me If They Benched Me?

There is no hard and fast rule for dating. It is important to know that if they are benching you, it does not necessarily mean that they will commit to you eventually. This might even depend on various factors, including their intentions, circumstances, and their level of commitment. 

If you want to be prioritized and be in a relationship, then know that this is not for you, and you shouldn’t be kept as an option for anyone.


Being benched can never feel good. But what is benching in dating? Similar to being benched in games, you are sidelined in a relationship and involve one person reducing their communications without cutting off all ties. This behavior can be caused by various factors like fear of commitment, fear of rejection, external pressures, past experiences, and the fear of being alone. 

You can know if you are being benched by recognizing the signs and taking some constructive steps to get out of this situation without hurting the other person too much.

Anubhuti Wadhawan
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Anubhuti Wadhawan

Anubhuti is a freelance writer who crafts engaging content. Running on a single cup of coffee, on most days, she prefers books and music over people and loves creating compelling content for you!

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