Benching is a term most people associate with weightlifters. For millennials, on the other hand, the term has zero to do with physical fitness but does have something to do with being in the game. Benching is all about relationship texting. It's a new way of being insensitive to the person you are dating or flirting with. The crazy thing is the victim doesn't always realize what all the textual limbo is about.
The purpose of benching is to keep your dating options wide open and to "bench" or sideline the woman or man you are texting until you might want to hang out with them. You continue to send out what appears to be flirty words of interest but then make up excuses that you can't get together because of this or that.
Benching keeps you playing the field or in the game but is cruel to the victim. You, the bencher, more or less disappear but continue to text them, feigning interest. The victim can't make heads or tails of the situation but is still sitting and waiting for the green light.
For instance, a woman goes on three dates with a man, and they have a great time. The pair continues to share the occasional text every few weeks with flirty emojis, but that's it. The guy sets up a date, but then, the plans curiously fall through. She invites him over, but he's too busy working on an important project, or his phone died, etc. He even sends texts with a few photos to make it appear that his intentions were good and meaningful. In other words, he was always polite and in contact.
Women were traditionally taught that if the guy isn't romantically interested in you, he wouldn't even bother to respond. In this case, he comes across as Mr. Nice Guy who just happens to be the busiest person on Earth. You won't hear from him all the time, but just enough to truly believe his interest is genuine.
Ghosting is horrible, but some would say benching is worse. It's dating purgatory.