One of my clients really liked a girl he met at a singles event. They seemed to hit it off, but then her interest in him waned. After a few days of sporadic texts, she stopped messaging him altogether (called ghosting). However, about three weeks later, he received a text from her asking how he was doing. She was back!
He found out through a mutual friend that she’d met another guy and started hanging out with him a lot. However, that guy ended up getting back with his ex. So, the girl in question, having lost her first choice, decided to circle back to her second choice: my client.
What Is Benching?
My client experienced “benching”: when a man or woman rejects you for another, more attractive person (in their eyes), but, when that person becomes unavailable, comes back to you as the second choice. Benching can also involve being strung along in any general sense, like when you remain someone’s perpetual second option.
Benching comes from the sports world, where, if your performance isn’t up to par, you’re “benched,” i.e. pulled from play, to allow someone better to take your place. But, if that person becomes unable to play for whatever reason, the coach puts you back in, from the bench.
My client is an example of benching. When her first choice went back to his ex, she returned to my client. Another example is when the guy you like only texts you to hang out if the other girls in his contacts aren’t available.
In the age of internet dating, especially Tinder, people have more options than ever. As a result, benching is very common. In fact, some men and women might have a bench of dating options 2-3 people deep!
Signs of Benching
While few people are going to come out and say, “you’re my second choice,” there are signs you’re being benched, if you pay attention. Here are a few of them:
Contact becomes less frequent
If the person you’re dating goes from regular contact to very sporadic with no excuse (e.g. job change), then it’s a sign there is someone else getting the attention you used to receive!
Contact becomes less flirty
If you formerly talked about fun, flirty, romantic things and you suddenly start talking about the weather, then the other person has typically shifted the romantic focus to another person.
You hear a lot of excuses
When you ask the other person to hang out, he or she might offer excuses to delay or stall the conversation, usually to try to be with their first choice.
Ghosting, followed by re-connection
If the person “disappears” suddenly, then returns just as suddenly, there’s a good chance option #1 didn’t work out and you’re #2.
How To Respond to Benching
If you think you’re being benched, you have to figure out how to deal with it. There are a few options.
Let it happen
If you don’t mind being second choice, then go with it. Some people genuinely don’t care if they are someone’s first priority. Honestly, I find this position to be sad and weak, but it still is an option,
so I’m listing it.
Stand up to the other person
I’m not a huge fan of this option either. Likely, if you’re second choice, it’s for a reason and you’re not going to change anyone’s mind by being confrontational.
Dump the other person
This option at least allows you to retain your pride. But, it also might mean some time without relationship options.
Find other options yourself
This is my favorite choice. If you like the person benching you (at least as a friend) and don’t want to cut them off completely, then bench them for someone else. This isn’t to be spiteful or rude. But, part of dating is keeping your options open, as well. If they don’t give you their best, then they don’t deserve your best either. Give it to someone else! However, don’t lead on anyone either. Be clear to your “second choice” that you’re dating around.
So, now you should know what benching in dating is, as well as the signs to detect it and what to do if you’re benched. If you’re being benched consistently, then maybe it’s time to try to be more attractive, overall. Check out our various resources to be your best, most attractive self.
I honestly hate the term “mid-life crisis.” A guy starts asserting his independence (“I’m sick of working 60 hours a week to buy stuff I hate; I’m changing jobs”), questioning a narrative that didn’t make him happy, gets in much better shape, buys a car he has always wanted but couldn’t have afforded until recently, starts hanging out with fun friends instead of ones that whine all the time, and expresses interest in dating someone younger, and suddenly he’s “in crisis.”
In fact, maybe going through a mid-life crisis is a good thing. Because look at the state most guys in their thirties and forties are in: hating their jobs, stuck in romantic relationships where they are little more than walking wallets, out of shape, living vicariously through their children, making their wives and children miserable, relying on pills and/or alcohol to get by, and the time spent hanging with friends (if they have friends) consists of complaining about their current lives while glorifying the “good old days.”
In reality, the real crisis is that a guy let himself deteriorate emotionally, physically, and socially to such a degree that attempting to change his life from that deterioration is considered a crisis to those around him.
Sadly, most middle age guys can relate to a lot of what I have just said, even if it is only when secretly reading this article at night, when nobody is watching, for fear everyone will figure out the happy, perfect life they pretend to live is really a sham.
Many guys “went with the flow” and did things they thought would make them happy because everyone told them that’s what happens. They went into debt for a degree they barely use, took out a mortgage they couldn’t afford, and reluctantly worked a job they really didn’t like because they convinced themselves it would just be “temporary.” They knew these things wouldn’t make them happy, but they did them anyway.
So, it is no surprise that some guys wake up one day in their thirties and forties and can’t keep up the dissonance. They start to look for ways to be happy and free again. So, maybe it isn’t a mid-life crisis, so much as a mid-life awakening, and it just seems like a crisis to those who still get up each day and know they’ll hate every minute of it, but pretend to those around them that they don’t.
A mid life crisis isn’t just a human thing either: great apes go through them as well. The hypothesis of the researchers who figured out that apes go through mid-life crises is that going through them is actually a good thing, what I am saying here. They are the brain’s way of motivating a person (and ape) to utilize resources and opportunities while they are still available. Without sounding too morbid, it may be a kind of “this is your life’s peak, so use it or lose it” type of thing.
While this article is geared toward men, trust me that I know that women go through the exact same things I mentioned above: settling, living fake and unhappy lives, staying with unappreciative kids and spouses, etc.
Of course, I am not advocating abandoning your family, or acting like an immature teen again; however, I am saying that questioning a narrative that hasn’t worked, no matter how late in life, is not a crisis so much as an opportunity.
So, did you know that there an official “worst day of the year?” Well, there is according to some experts at least. It goes back to 2005, when Dr. Cliff Arnall calculated the most depressing day of the year.
Based on his calculations (listed below), the worst day of this year, Blue Monday, falls on Monday January 16th, 2017.
So how did Dr. Arnall figure out that this date in late January is extremely depressing? Here are his reasons:
– Post-Christmas debts are due, so our debt is the highest of the whole year
– In the northern hemisphere, weather conditions are often at their worst (gloomy, cold, and unpredictable)
– Most people have already abandoned their New Years resolutions and are back to old behaviors
– We have had time to emotionally consider that the joy of Christmas is over
– Our motivation level is low because of the cold and gloom
– We don’t have a lot to look forward to in the immediate future (very few work days off, more cold is ahead, etc)
So, theoretically, for a lot of people this is the “worst day of the year.” However, you don’t have to succumb to Blue Monday, and let me explain how to deal with each of these issues related to “Blue Monday.” Also, scroll down for a funny video about how to beat the winter blues in under 30 seconds!
Conquer Blue Monday 2017 Cold and Gloom
Even though it’s cold, try to get outside and get some sun. Bundle up and walk out that door, especially on a sunny day! Buy some thermal wicking clothes so it doesn’t feel so cold!
Since your childhood, you’ve probably heard that you can “catch a cold” from going out in the winter. This sounds logical, but the scientific truth is that most winter illness is caused by being inside too much, because it leads to the spread of germs from person-to-person much easier. I run and hike on cold days frequently, and I always feel better for it. Others agree with me, so get out.
Also, there are always sunny days in January. If you can’t get outside, go to a window, close your eyes, and face the direction of the sun. The field of vision behind your eyes will glow bright red. Scientifically, this causes a release of serotonin, the brain’s happy chemical. If you can’t get light any other way, there is evidence which suggests that indoor blue lights can improve your mood.
Avoid Racking Up Debt
Many people cover for the lack of true happiness by buying a bunch of cheap crap. If buying things in December causes you to be depressed in January, then don’t buy them. Many experts suggest getting rid of things you don’t use (de-cluttering) will actually make you happier than collecting things you never have time to enjoy.
Work on your internal attitude, and you’ll find that you don’t need a lot of external things to be happy. This is basic Buddhism 101, but other religions teach simple living free of attachments as well. A lot of people find that being around others, having friends, etc, are more meaningful than material things anyway. I’m not saying you should become a monk, just that if you’re buying more than you can afford, you need to evaluate your priorities.
Find Joys In The Moment; Plan Things To Do
Sure, Christmas has passed by Blue Monday. But…you can celebrate and have fun every single day. Find something fun to do and look forward to. Plan things that give you hope. Every day (without exception) plan something to do that you like. It can be taking a drive to see beautiful snowy scenery, getting coffee with a friend, going on a hike, going to a concert…anything.
Plan a party if you have to. I suggest getting a calendar and writing some of these things down, so you have these “hopeful” things there for you to see whenever you need a reminder of why you are happy this winter.
After a past Christmas I planned to see an old college friend in February. I looked forward to it all January, and it gave me hope I otherwise didn’t have. Another fun thing I planned recently was to take work off early and meet a friend at a local restaurant. We loved seeing each other in the afternoon. We were both a little depressed about heading back to work after Christmas, but this meeting made it more bearable.
Unfortunately, society works us up in a social frenzy near Christmas, and then everything just stops. The lights, festive music, and social gatherings not only vanish, but they vanish in a mere day. Then, things get “back to normal,” which, for most people is very depressing. This is why it is important to schedule things to look forward to. It keeps us hopeful and happy. We also offer specific tips for Post Christmas depression.
Re-Boot That Resolution
I have been a member of various YMCAs for nearly fifteen years. I’ve seen people go “all out” on January 1st, to stop everything by January 15th. In reality, something more realistic is in order. Instead of going crazy on January 1st, only to burn out two weeks later, try coming up with something more sustainable.
Also, understand that it is never too late to get back on track. If you’ve given up on your resolution, then get back today. Make a mid-winter resolution. Make a new month resolution. Call it whatever. I strongly live by the principal that “there is no failure, just feedback,” if you have the right attitude. Let your early January setbacks help you create new goals and actions starting in mid-January. And, stick with them the whole year!
Overall, the basic message here is that “Blue Monday,” the “worst day of the year” is only blue and horrible if you allow it to be. The pitfalls I’ve listed don’t have to be your reality. Besides, blue is my favorite color. Have a happy Blue Monday 2017!
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Throughout my life I’ve met lots of guys who, for whatever reasons or another, just didn’t like women. Maybe some of your friends or guys you know at work have a hatred for the female sex. Men who hate women feel this way for a variety of reasons. We’re going to address a few of those reasons.
Note that this article is not defending all women or saying anger against particular women, or even most women, is a bad thing. So, don’t waste your time not reading the article, then typing an angry comment that totally is the opposite of what the article says.
Should Men Hate All Women?
I don’t believe any reasons are valid for truly hating women as a group. Because if you hate something, that something controls your emotions, and if something controls your emotions, then you aren’t in control of your life.
Notice I am not saying bad women don’t exist, or that they aren’t deserving of negative emotions. Many people know women who are bitter, angry, dramatic, and will take a grudge to an almost irrational extreme. Many people have horrible experiences with their mothers, ex-wives, colleagues, etc. Women often are passive-aggressive and manipulative, especially in divorce proceedings. Many women are attention seekers and claim to be “independent” when in reality they suck men in their lives dry of every bit of emotional and financial capital. Even women often have disdain for other women. And, hating an individual woman who has wronged you is totally understandable. There are a lot of jerk women out there (See Why Women Can Be Jerks And Losers Too). Now, that being said…
Applying the behavior of a few women to every woman you meet just shows that the negative women in your life are still controlling your brain. What a lot of guys don’t realize is that when you hold anger toward all women, women emotionally control you, which is not a sign of strength, but of weakness. While anger is a natural emotion, and necessary for healing and moving on at times, ultimately it is being controlled by your emotions.
So, while a man might have had issues with women in the past, he can’t let that dictate his dealings with women in the present. He just appears angry and weak. And, while women respect cockiness, they don’t respect men with unresolved anger issues towards their sex. Below are a few types of the men who hate women.
The Butthurt Hater
Many men hate females because they’ve been rejected so many times. They absolutely love women. But, they can’t have a woman (especially one they’ve developed a crush on), so they end up feeling resentment towards the entire sex.
Believe it or not, a lot of “nice guys” fall into this category. When their ineffective techniques fail, they feel entitled to a date. And, entitled people end up hating what they can’t get. These beta male women haters have the right impulse (loving women), but can’t get past their bitterness. It’s a “I love her so much that I hate her scenario.”
These guys need to focus more on becoming attractive rather than being angry toward women. Instead of spending time ranting about women loving jerks, or commenting on forums, they should start becoming the type of guy women love. They should start working out (Insanity is an intense workout that we love), learning charisma (check out The Charisma Myth for tips), and learning how women think. Sadly, most guys would rather complain about reality, than adapt to it.
The good news is that women are usually attracted to personality more than looks. So, a guy can change his personality and get over this hate.
Momma’s boys sometimes hate women. And, these men are some of the most difficult to deal with. In fact overbearing, controlling moms can mess up guys more than just about any factor.
On the one hand, these males, sometimes beta, sometimes omega, feel a great attachment to their mother. On the other hand, they feel emasculated by their smother, er, mother.
Guys who are attached at their hips to their moms often view women they hope to date and befriend in two ways: an ideal domestic servant or a hated, overbearing oppressor. In some cases, they’ll have these feelings at the same time. Talk about a problem!
God help any woman who dates this guy. No woman can win. A woman is a stereotype and label no matter what she does. Until he breaks free from his mother, she can’t expect anything but misery from him. But, that’s OK because he isn’t leaving his childhood bedroom at his mom’s house any time soon.
Guys With Anger Issues
Some guys are just angry and these dudes also hate many other people, things, and places, typically weaker ones (like the mentally disabled, hamsters, and New Jersey). These guys will happily badmouth all women along with all blacks, gays, cats, beautiful people, and anyone else they happen to feel rage towards. Haters gonna hate and these guys aren’t looking to change.
These men need to learn to relax and take it a little easier. Life is way too long to hate everything, although if you experience anger all the time, your life will definitely become decidedly shorter. They are the perfect recipients of the phrase “take a chill pill.” In fact, for these angry young (and old men), the pill should probably be an extra large dose of Valium (or at least Xanax).
The problem is anger feels so good. As Joe Dispenza points out in his excellent book Breaking The Habit Of Being Yourself, we become addicted to our negative emotions, including anger, resentment, and bitterness. We get a miniature “high” every time we feel that negative emotion we have become so used to. Even though we know that being bitter and angry isn’t attractive and never works to get our way, many people still become trapped in a cycle of chronic anger.
So, there are a few types of men who hate women. If you are a woman, beware. If you’re a man, try not to be like any of these (usually dateless and lonely) guys. Women are human beings. Learn to deal with them and laugh at them like you hopefully can laugh at every other human who isn’t perfect. That will provide the necessary perspective so an entire sex isn’t controlling you.
Note: Angry comments are fine, but if you leave comments calling anyone here names, it won’t be approved.
One of the most interesting aspects of my dating coaching business is the assessment. That’s where I hear their horror stories of guys living the single life. Although I keep a straight face through the process, inside I often want to cringe. Some of what they’ve done to try to get a woman has been very embarrassing.
However, I’m not judging! When I was younger and, before I started to research the science of attraction, I was a cringeworthy failure at finding a girlfriend too. I’m just glad I failed at dating before social media became widespread, so there isn’t a permanent record of my cringe.
Based on my personal experience and years of being a dating coach, I’ve done a lot of research on why guys are single.
Note that some guys don’t want a girlfriend for a variety of reasons, and not having one is a conscious choice. Focusing on yourself and your own happiness is a great way to live, so if you don’t want the hassles and drama of a relationship, then own that and go for it.
While every situation is different, if you want to get dates and can’t, here are a few of the main reasons you don’t have a girlfriend.
Cyndi Lauper sang in the 80s, “Girls Just Want To Have Fun” and those are true words. Women want a guy who is fun and exciting. This doesn’t have to be a “bad boy,” but most women would gladly choose an exciting bad boy over a boring, nice guy.
If you are bland, average, and not exciting, that’s a major reason you’re single. While consistency and stability are good qualities that pay the bills, if you want to find a girlfriend, you’ll need to loosen up and be fun too.
A guy who can be adventurous, spontaneous, and get her adrenaline going a little, is sexy to a woman. A guy who is bland, routine, and too serious…well…women call him “buddy.”
You’re Physically Unattractive
When I meet my clients for the first time, they typically walk in with a slight beer gut, are slouching, and wearing clothes that were maybe popular six years ago. No wonder they’ve been dateless for years!
While women care a lot about personality, your physical appearance matters too. You don’t have to be perfect, but you do have to care.
Go to the gym, eat a healthy diet, lift weights. Update your wardrobe (get a suit especially). Walk with confident body language. These are easy ways to change your appearance.
Even if you feel you were born ugly, at least change as much about your physical appearance as you can. A few little changes like muscle gain and a wardrobe update can go a long way.
You Care Too Much
When I was younger, if a woman judged me or put me down, I’d get devastated. I hear from many clients stories of how a woman said something unkind and they were crippled for months and even years because of it.
Here’s the thing: women are people too. They’re not all awful human beings and they’re also not all innocent angels. They are complex with strengths and weaknesses, just like men.
Treat them like human beings and you’ll be a lot more successful. This includes not caring what they think about you. So, if a woman brutally rejects you, she did you a favor. You don’t want to be with a woman like that anyway. Find one who likes you instead.
If you care too much, it makes you insecure, which is a very unattractive trait. Be yourself and let the chips fall where they may. Usually, they’ll fall with getting dates since confidence is very attractive.
You’re Clueless About Women’s Needs
One of my clients once told me that he was afraid to take the lead with a woman because, in his words, “women don’t want a dominant guy.” I was like, “dude, have you checked the female best seller list lately?”
For reference, “50 Shades of Grey” has sold over 125 million copies worldwide and most of those buyers are women.
Yet, most guys still think of women as non-sexual, shy creatures waiting to be rescued by a white knight such as themselves (who ironically are horribly out of shape – some knight). Wrong! Men who think this way don’t have girlfriends and whine about how women date jerks.
Women do want a guy who is nice, respectful to them, and kind. Yet, they also want a guy who is dominant, fun, funny, powerful, and sexual. If you can start to understand what makes women tick, you’ll begin to try to meet their needs and actually get a girlfriend.
You Think You Know It All
I was visiting an online forum the other day where guys were doling out relationship advice. One guy confidently talked about how “women only date tall, muscular jock types.” When I told him that women date guys based on personality too, he called me an idiot.
I asked him how many women he’d ever dated. Wait for it. He dated…none. That’s right, a 20 year old dateless virgin was giving out relationship advice.
We all start out somewhere, but it’s important to be open-minded to advice that works from people with experience. I have had a lot of success with women and have been helping other guys for 5 years. And, guess what? I still have a lot to learn. I’m always updating my techniques and learning because there’s always room to get better.
One of the main reasons you don’t have a girlfriend is most likely because you keep doing the same things over and over again, the things you were taught that “work,” but really don’t. In fact, as David has written about, relationship advice for guys is generally horrible anyway.
If you’ve been frustratingly single, step back and try something new. Of course, I recommend our resources. But, I’m not the only person out there with advice that works, but to find what works, you have to skim through the crap from family, friends, and the Internet to get to the good stuff.
Read, grow, and learn where you can improve. What matters most is that you know you need to get better and you try to improve yourself, not just with women, but in general.
So, if you don’t have a girlfriend, these could be the reasons why. Don’t get discouraged, but definitely try to make a change. Staying the same isn’t an option because it’ll only lead to more failure and being single.