Online Dating, Ghosting and Benching

I’ve learned a few things over the past few weeks when it comes to dating. I’ve learned that I am not alone in being completely confuffled and bemused by men who seem to be so keen on you but then “ghost” you. I’ve learned how to recognize when I’m being “benched” and I think I have finally learned, and accepted, that if a guy does either of those things, that is a reflection on him, not on me.

I recently put myself out there, and put it all on the line by asking someone I had a genuine interest in if there was room for me on his very full plate, “because I am really attracted to you” I said. “I am just not sure it’s mutual?” That was over a week ago, with no response. That, my non-dating friends, is called “ghosting”. Disappeared, like a ghost.

I then came to read an article about someone who had been “benched” by the guy she thought she was seeing, only to realise that he never made an effort to contact her or make plans with her and if he did it was last minute. This is called benching – aka, suit up, get ready to play, but you’re only getting called into the game if one of the other, better players, gets injured. Apparently “everyone” does it. I’m not sure I have. I have called other players into the game when one of my main players or stars have not shown up. Is that the same thing? Perhaps.

Either way, I have learned that men people in the dating game have very little regard for the person they are seeing or have been talking to. I gave my ghost an out. I acknowledged how full his plate was, and wondered if there was room for me. A simple, “I’m really sorry, you’re right, my plate is very full and this is all a bit too hard at the moment” would have sufficed.

Out of ALL the guys I’ve dated in the last 12 months, and I have been on so. many. dates. I have had TWO be straight up honest with me. I accidentally told one of them I was looking for someone tall and then rattled off a host of other attributes before remembering the guy I was sitting next to was a couple of centimeters shorter than me. He asked me if his height was an issue for me and didn’t set me on fire when I told him that I do have an issue dating shorter guys – will save that for the next post. And recently a guy I had a 4.5 hour dinner with went home and messaged me telling me it felt more like a friendship but best of luck in my search. While I wish he’d have just said that 2 hours into our date, I was grateful for his honesty.

So I have vowed to be honest with everyone I date going forwards. It feels really uncomfortable and cruel to tell someone you “weren’t really feeling it” or don’t find them physically attractive, not that it has to come out that way, but it is the fairer thing to do in the end. I would rather not waste time and emotions on someone who is obviously not feeling the same way about me as I am about them.

Bet all you married folk are glad you’re not navigating this game anymore. But those of you who are single – how do you let people down gently? Do you ghost or bench people? I’m also curious to see if this happens mostly to women or if women are as guilty of it as men are.


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