You met this cute guy. It was instant chemistry and you were convinced that he was starting to fall for you. You’ve introduced him to your friends and family and he came along willingly. He was happy to help your dad out at the annual family barbecue, he even offered to drop mom at the airport when she had to go see your aunt in hospital. You began to feel like he was part of your intimate circle.
You are definitely an item. You’ve had great weekends together, doing the whole ‘easy on a Sunday morning’ thing. He dashed out for juice, coffee and croissants while you waited in bed. You’ve been to gigs, romantic dinners, drinks with your friends. It’s all going so well.
Time passes and you are still pretty happy. Yet there is a tiny wee niggle. You can’t quite put your finger on it at first. But then as you are with him, at your sister’s house, chatting and hanging out, you realize you’ve never met his sister. Or his mom. Come to think of it, the only time you met any of his friends is when you bumped into them as they left a bar you were heading into. What’s going on?
Chances are, to put it bluntly, you are being stashed.
What is Stashing?
Put simply, being stashed by someone means you are a placeholder. Your beau doesn’t want you to get any closer. He has no intention of integrating you any farther into his life than you are already. He doesn’t want you as part of the family.
Social Media Stashing
One of the key signs that you have been stashed is realizing that you’ve been tagging him on Facebook, posting loved-up photos of the two of you, but he never Likes them or posts the photos he took. In fact when you asked to look at the photos he took last week of the two of you on his phone, he sheepishly admits he ‘accidentally’ deleted them.
4 Reasons for Stashing
He’s just not into you that much. Harsh maybe, but nevertheless he could be simply marking time with you until someone better comes along. You are a casual fling.
His family are snooty, or of a different religious persuasion. For some reason you are not part of his social strata and his family would be horrified if he took you home. This works both ways, he could be ashamed of his family and feels that you would never accept him if you knew the truth. In either case, you are never going to walk through that particular front door.
He’s jealous. He doesn’t want to share you with his friends or let his wolfish brother lay eyes on you. You probably would have noticed signs of jealousy long before you noticed his reluctance to draw you into his intimate social circle.
You are the only one. Slightly disconcerting, but perhaps he doesn’t have a social circle. His family are not close, geographically, or he doesn’t have contact with them. He may not have many friends. Or he thinks you won't like them. This means you may suspect you are being stashed, but you are not.
What To Do If You Suspect You Are Being Stashed
It depends on the reasons. The first thing to do is to confront your boyfriend and ask him straight out. If he is cagey and non-committal then it’s likely you are the placeholder. Dump him.
If he is reluctant to introduce you to his friends because they are idiots, or his family because they are not around, then give him a chance. He may still be The One.
Benching is the dating practice that used to be called 'keeping someone on the back burner'. You have dated a few times, got on pretty well but then gradually communication slowed down. She didn’t exactly ghost you, but neither does she seem keen to meet up. You are left not knowing where you stand. Then maybe she does make a date, you have a good time, but then the cycle starts again. You are back on the bench.
You’ll invent excuses for her like she’s busy studying, or working to pay her way through college. She’ll tell you she broke her phone so was unable to stay in touch. Then she’ll turn up. You’ll have a date, get on well, maybe even have sex. Then she’s gone again.
She likes you well enough, but not enough to commit to a proper relationship. You might be sharing the bench with several other potential suitors but not have a clue. She is keeping her options open.
The practice of ‘breadcrumbing’ is also common when benching someone. Breadcrumbing is texting someone just enough to keep them interested, that there could yet be a chance of you getting together. In other words, leaving an enticing trail of breadcrumbs. When you are about to give up on the whole thing along will come another text. It’ll be fun and flirty and you’ll think that she really does like you after all. It requires no effort to send a text or an emoji, and it means that she’s always got you to fall back on should she need a date. Which will be never.
Eventually, she’ll meet someone she’s really into and the texts will stop. If you meet in the street, she’ll act effusively like you’re an old friend but nothing more.
What To Do If You Are On the Bench
Being on the bench and being breadcrumbed is emotionally exhausting. And it’s so easy for the object of your affection to pop up into your life and then just as fast, disappear again. Your feelings are all over the place.
Give up. Move on. Yes, she is lovely. Yes, you would like to take it farther, but it’s not going to happen. And who wants to be in reserve anyway?
Photos via Pixabay