Dating in 2016 is hard. No one meets anyone in person anymore, online dating has completely 'reinvented the wheel' when it comes to first interactions and the overabundance of options is almost crippling. Which is why there are so many new phenomenons popping-up all over the place like these two relatively terms, 'ghosting' and 'benching'.
If you're out there, doing the dating thing, then 'ghosting' is a terms you're probably guilty of having experienced or even doing to someone else.
It is when men or women you're talking to have been keeping things going with you for a bit of time, or long enough for you to kind of be interested, then vanish completely, like a ghost. It's rough and according to eHarmony's relationship expert, Mel Schilling 57% are doing it!
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Renee Slansky is a dating expert and relationship coach and says that 'ghosting' might sound new, but is an old problem.
"This is usually because they have a fear of commitment and don’t want to deal with the emotional backlash of hurting the person they have now run away from. For them it is easier to disappear rather than step up or face the repercussions of telling the person they are seeing that they don’t want to date anymore," she explained.
Doesn't make it suck less, but you have to learn to deal.
Whereas, 'benching' is a phenomenon where you'll be speaking to someone for a while, the conversation is good and general good messages are being sent and received, but then they disappear, kind of like ghosting, only to reappear later on when they've decided they're ready to sub you back in. Harsh.
Renee says it's probably worse than being 'ghosted' because you are left in limbo land, holding onto the little hope they give you.
"It’s a constant state of being fed just enough to keep you holding on , but never enough to have the full commitment," she says. "In most cases if you are being ‘benched’ it’s because the bencher is wanting to keep their options open. They don’t want to let you go, yet they don’t want to commit to you entirely either."
As for being able to tell when you're experiencing this lovely treatment, Renee explained it by saying, "You will know because there will be a lack of peace in your relationship, no certain future and probably a lot of confusion. The person you are dating will send you texts, and messages and go on dates with you , but there won’t be talk of the future or even a promise of more time together. And just when you think they aren’t interested, they will pull you in again. It will be this constant battle of living in limbo and not knowing what they want and where you fit in."
As for how to deal with either? It's tricky, but can be boiled down to three simple things that we've all got to be aware of in ourselves.
"Like any dating scenario, every person needs to know 3 things: their worth, their standards and their boundaries. When we have a clear picture of who we are and what we want and need we are able to make better choices with who we date. We also attract a healthier love when we understand what healthy love is in the first place. It’s not to say that we won’t have moments or rejection, ghosting or benching, but knowing what the red flags are to look for will help someone to be able to identify whom they should and shouldn’t invest emotionally into," Renee explained.
That aside, love isn't this hideous beast that you'll never have and have to deal with all the rubbish around if you're aware of what's happening and know how to play the field! Love and a beau can still be found online, believe it or not.
"We forget that it is just another way to orchestrate an opportunity to meet someone, it is not a guarantee or a fairy godmother that can make a relationship successful. However, when two like-minded people are in the same pool of opportunity then there are bound to be matches and success stories!" says Renee.
Being aware of what might happen to you, an the labels that apply if you do either to someone you're keen on can help you look after yourself more and control your openness when it's right for you.
So get out there and date!