What Is Benching In Dating? The Signs And How To Respond

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,

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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.

Why You Should Have A Mid-Life Crisis

depressed man

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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.

Joe Dispenza, author of Breaking The Habit Of Being Yourself, has a great interview about this very thing, from the excellent movie People Versus The State Of Illusion which I have embedded below.

How Older Guys Can Age Successfully To Reboot Their Boring Lives

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A lot of younger men and women imagine older men as out of shape, overweight, humorless “has beens” dressed in outdated clothes.

Why do they think that? Probably because there are a lot of older men who look and act just like that! As guys age, the standards for social success don’t change: most guys just let their bodies and personalities slide.

However, it doesn’t have to be that way. A lot of older guys can be very popular, happy, and even date the women of their dreams. They just have to make some changes, some possibly major. They also have to age well. Fortunately, we have some tips for both of these. So, if you’re an older guy who is trying to reboot yourself socially and/or romantically, check out our tips.

Think Young

It sounds like a cliché, but it’s true. Being young is often a state of mind. I went to high school with old fogeys. On the other hand, I know guys in their sixties who have the vibrancy and enthusiasm of a sixteen year old. In fact my cute 28-year old friend just married a 55 year old guy, who owns a successful DJ business, and regularly hangs out with people half his age.

Thinking young doesn’t mean being immature. It means getting out, doing things that make you excited and happy, and embracing the vibrancy of life. Compare this to most older guys who spend their days working a job they hate, and their free time complaining about how much they hate that job to other guys who hate their lives just as much.

So, if you’ve decided that you’re a responsible older guy, and this means working a job you hate and never having an adventure besides possibly speeding when you’re late for that job, then get over yourself! Let loose and have a little fun. You can be responsible and still have fun. Until you’re dead, life is still very exciting.

Embrace The New

A lot of older people fear the new. They pine for the good old days and bash the new-fangled (fill in the blank). While you don’t want to be fake and look foolish, it’s always good to embrace new aspects of culture if you want to be popular as you get older. There was even a study that showed that one key factor in longevity was embracing and learning new technology.

A former client of mine always went to the same bar and played 1980s heavy metal songs on the jukebox. And, a few guys at the place loved it. One time I went with him and noticed that he was socially succeeding to a degree: getting the approval of tired older guys in the place. But that wasn’t his goal: it was to meet women, who happened to be in their 20s and early 30s.

And, no surprise, they didn’t like what he played. But when I played newer pop and alternative hits, these same women sang along and asked who played the great music. When we all started talking they guessed my age as very close to theirs, and his ten years older than his actual age, even though we were the same age! There is nothing wrong with enjoying older things, but don’t be surprised when that turns you into someone who is clearly perceived as an old person.

Another friend hasn’t bought a new item of clothing since 2006. He is attracted to women in their twenties, but acts like someone in his fifties. Again, there is nothing wrong with that per se, but when he goes and talks to a 25 year old grad student, he just comes across as a boring and clueless creep.

So, if you think you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, then goodbye social success. Recent science shows that human brains can rewire at any age. Previously, it was believed your personality was set by the time you turned twenty five. It may be harder to embrace new technology, new clothing styles, and a new way of thinking at a later age, but it’s entirely possible.

Take Care Of Yourself Physically

Older guys are usually fatter, balder, and less fit. But, it doesn’t have to be that way. Like with learning new technology, being lean, trim, and handsome as you age is tougher (thanks to a slower metabolism and wear and tear), but it’s worth the effort.

Try to keep your hair (David wrote an extensive article on this). Stay in good shape. Use moisturizers on your face and wear sunscreen. Keep your clothes age appropriate, but also up to date.

A couple years ago at a swimming pool I saw a guy who was probably in his fifties. He was in amazing shape and was flirting with girls in their twenties. It made me happy because it shatters every stereotype about older guys.

If you don’t believe me, look at Wang Deshun, an 80 year old male model from China. He is eighty and yet probably has more 20-somethings swooning over him than most 20-something guys. He has kept in shape and obviously taken care of himself, something every able-bodied man is capable of.

Keep Your Swag

Many young men have a certain swagger, for lack of a better word. They are brash, cool, and extremely attractive to women. Very few men keep that later in life. They settle, start to buy into the narrative that as you age you must begin to hate your life, and lose any sort of edge. They become bland, predictable, and boring. Some of this likely relates to testosterone levels lowering, in part because of obesity.

If you want to age successfully, then keep a bit of your edge and swagger. Speak your mind, keep others guessing, and never be afraid to push the envelope a little with women. This will come more easily with higher testosterone levels, which can be raised by losing weight, doing interval type fitness and strength training (see our Insanity Asylum Volume 2 review), and reducing stress.

If you’re worried about this being a “mid life crisis,” then check out David’s article Why You Should Have A Mid-Life Crisis.

So, quit being an old fogey and start your movement towards success and popularity. If you’re a younger guy and are losing your edge, then get it back. Don’t age gracefully. Age successfully.

Men Who Hate Women

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?

fighting couple in front of breaking heart

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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

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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.

Reasons You Don’t Have A Girlfriend

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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.

You’re Boring

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.

couple at beach

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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.

Three Reasons Men Should Date “Offline”

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A lot of men go “online” to date, because..well…why not? Virtually everything is done online, from buying books to ordering a pizza, so dating online makes perfect sense…right?

I believe online dating can be worthwhile, if it is done properly (and most guys make the same mistakes online they make offline, so most guys aren’t doing it right).

However, I believe you should be putting just as much effort into your offline efforts as you do towards your online efforts, and here is why.

1. Women Don’t Pre-Sort You

Online dating sites allow both sexes to pre-sort partners. This means that if you aren’t making six figures,  six foot tall, or live in the Bohemian section of town, you are out of luck.

That’s right, you don’t even have a chance to engage her or let her see your charm, because you aren’t even showing up in her searches.

In real life, attraction doesn’t work this way. Look around at the men women actually date. Typically, it isn’t a guy straight out of a fairy tale, or a dude that has “passed” her  20-point checklist for manly perfection. Yet, online dating encourages women to turn attraction into a checklist thing, and only the best guys are going to meet her standards.

The problem with being “pre-sorted” is that you don’t even have a chance to show her that you are an excellent and attractive guy, even if your hair color or height doesn’t meet her ideal requirements.

Sadly, online dating takes something messy and emotional (attraction) and turns it into something clean and logical, which may explain why so many people complain that online dating doesn’t work.

2. Body Language Counts

Online profiles only allow a little body language analysis, if you get the right photos, and generally, they are going to be photos that make her look especially good. Also, when communicating with her online, you are totally left relying on her written words, and written words can be edited and re-edited before they even arrive in your inbox.

Body language can be masked to some degree in person, so as to be deceptive, but not as deceptive as written words can be. So if she is crazy or playing games with you, you may or may not be aware of it, because it’s much easier to be coy through messages. Also, sometimes girls are shy or not great with words, so you may think she isn’t into you through messages, but online you could be reading the clear signs that she is.

Also, meeting in person allows you to show her your body language. Since most communication happens through the body (as opposed to words), how you hold yourself in person can make a big impact. Sadly, you can’t have this impact online.

3. You Can Touch Her or Look In Her Eyes

Studies show that touching others, even as simply as brushing your hand against theirs when handing back change, makes you more likable. Another study has demonstrated that making sustained (but non-creepy) eye-contact strongly increases attraction between two people.

Notice I didn’t say “if the guy was tall, and he made eye contact, he was more likable” or “if he made six figures, eye contact made him more attractive.” Using touch and eye contact appropriately can give you a huge dating advantage, and natural charmers and seducers know this well. Sure, you can charm and seduce with words online, but without touch and eye-contact, you are without two important tools in your attraction arsenal.

Online dating removes this very important element.

Ultimately, online dating takes away chemistry. Two people may be perfect for each other, but you would never know it if attraction is reduced to check boxes and algorithms. Plus, the sheer volume of messages women receive means that they have to sort through guys quickly and based on words and a brief profile glance. In real life, this isn’t how it works.

So, while online dating may be easier and expose you to more people (not a bad thing per se), online dating has many drawbacks, especially for men. Maybe it’s time to give old-fashioned offline dating a try!