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Dating in Boston: ‘ghosting’ & ‘benching’

Part one of my “Dating in Boston” series.

“I really do feel bad for single women in this city,” my married friend, Diane, told me over beers one evening. “Dating nowadays… it just seems brutal.”

She had a point.

Mind you, this was after our conversation about dating horror stories, my personal experiences in the dating scene, and how the crop of people seems to differ neighborhood-to-neighborhood. But still… she made a point. While she may not be that much older than me, she wasn’t dating during the time of mobile apps and the “hookup culture” that we are in. It made me think: have the things that me and my girlfriends are going through right now happening 10+ years ago? Has Diane ever been “ghosted”? Has my mom been “benched”?

Honestly, I didn’t know “ghosting” and “benching” was even a thing until it happened to me. “Oh, girl, he’s ghosting you…” someone (I can’t remember who) told me once.

I had to look it up.

Ghosting: The act of suddenly ceasing all communication with someone the subject is dating, but no longer wishes to date. This is done in hopes that the ghostee will just “get the hint” and leave the subject alone, as opposed to the subject simply telling them he/she is no longer interested…

Seriously? Have we, as a society, become so cowardly? We are so brave and bold behind an iPhone screen, and yet this person didn’t have the courage to say You know, Steph, this really isn’t working out or Eh, I don’t think we are a good match or even It’s not you, it’s me! I really wanted to call him out and I did… eventually. However, in calling him out, I risked looking like one of those so-called crazy girls. Am I really crazy for wanting to know what gives? Am I crazy because I was one of the first women to call him out on his B.S.?

This past weekend, I sat with a friend as she verbally recounted the things about her recent relationship that might have sparked the ghosting. Women these days are hardwired to fear looking crazy. We avoid confronting the ghoster (although we REALLY, DESPERATELY want to) and end up more frustrated at the fact that we can’t. I began reading different blog posts, Thought Catalog articles, etc. on ghosting and learned of yet another dating trend: benching.

Benching: Common in the online dating world, the bencher constantly exchanges messages with the benchee, but doesn’t arrange to meet in-person. Also known as a form of ‘stringing along’.

Again — cowardly. I remember having to initiate every single move/in-person date (oh, but he had no problem blowing up my phone) with a different guy and finally telling him, point-blank, we are on different pages. I’m not into this. Sure, he could not have been into me. Sure, maybe he was shy. But I’m curious how we even got to this point? How did we get to this part of life where people decided to stop putting in work? Where men didn’t formally court women anymore? Can you blame me for wanting that?

So here you go, taken women. This is what I’m dealing with… jealous?

Oh, but wait, there’s more…

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