You haven’t been dropped, you aren’t in the keeper league, and you’re still in the live draft… but you aren’t playing the game. You’re on the bench.
Being benched is similar to being kept ‘on the hook’. If a guy keeps acting like he wants to date you, but never acts on it, he’s keeping you at bay. He insinuates that you have a chance at getting serious with him, but never seems to make that fantasy a reality. In other words, he’s keeping you on the bench, while he plays the field.
Does this sound familiar? Guy meets girl. Guy texts girl picture of a dog with a quick line, “Thinking of you.” Girl texts back “How are you?” Then, five days later, he’ll text “How are things?” Apparently, that’s all a bencher has to do. The requirements are simple: He dangles a carrot, texts a few words and ignores you the rest of the time. What he doesn’t do: ask you for a drink, date, seduce or call. He’s giving you the brush off, but in reality, you have been benched.
How do you detect a bencher?
A bencher may believe that by sending pleasant thoughts to you every other day, they’re doing nothing wrong – they’re in the karmic good book. But it’s a cruel act of selfishness when he isn’t being clear on intent, and leading someone on with a faux intimacy. He’s benching you, keeping you around, in case the person he is currently with doesn’t work out.
“I met this one guy. We had a two-hour intense, amazing conversation.” Stella, a client, explains. “I mean, who even calls anymore?! We were supposed to meet that Monday, but I was sick and couldn’t meet. A few days went by, and I didn’t hear from him.
“He would text me now and then. I thought this guy is genuine; he’s taking his time to get to know me. He wasn’t rushing things, or asking me for sexy pics.”
Stella made a decision to take herself off dating apps. She stopped responding to ‘likes’. “I felt excited to talk to someone who wanted to get to know me,” Stella said. In her fantasy world, she had created a safe house with this man where patience, trust and authenticity were alive. She could take it slow and make believe he desired her.
If left unexamined, our own fantasies often become dream-killers and separate us from reality. Stella’s dream is about falling in love with someone who will stay the course. Her fantasy provided her the means of a fake intimacy; she had found a way to cope with her loneliness, without actually solving the root problem. Each time we perpetuate our fantasy, we step further away from our dreams.
Stella continued. “He kept randomly texting without asking me out. He just engaged in casual conversation. It started to feel like he was catfishing me.”
Dating is a tough game, and you may not know a bencher when you meet one. So the next time you receive that random text or two from a new love interest without a date in sight, I recommend you implement a new rule: two strikes, and you’re out.
“True love cannot be found where it does not exist, nor can it be denied where it does.”