As anybody who has ever dipped into the perplexing landscape of modern romance knows, keeping up with the associated vernacular is about as challenging as keeping up with the latest denim trend, and a lot less enjoyable. First came “ghosting,” the vanishing act that made it normal—if not exactly acceptable—for the object of one’s once-reciprocated interest to disappear into the abyss without as much as a mere warning. Now comes its commitment-phobe cousin, courtesy of New York Magazine writer Jason Chen: “benching,” a sports-inspired furthering of the concept of leading someone on. It entails keeping someone hanging for extended periods of time, occasionally throwing them a bone in the form of a casual text, while never allowing for the relationship to transition into anything remotely substantial (i.e., keeping a player on the bench as a backup while you pursue others whom you might prefer to, shall we say, “put in play” first).
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