couple dating, flirting
Leah Berenson
Leah Berenson
January 30, 2024 ·  4 min read

The ‘Ben stage’ is the New Dating Phase Everyone Wants to Avoid

For some time now, people have jokingly associated names with a bad time. For example, there are the entitled Karens, player Chads, and of course, the whole list of J names to avoid. Well, now, there’s a new relationship trend to avoid, ‘The Ben Stage.’

What is the Ben Stage

The Ben Stage was shared on TikTok, in more than one video. It turns out that women everywhere have had at least one ‘Ben stage’ relationship in the past, with many commenting on the video. One person commented, “My Ben stage put me in therapy.” Meanwhile, others have disclosed, the Ben stage is real and that it’s ruined women. Luckily, dating coach Hayley Quinn has some insight. “We all know what the ‘Ben stage’ is and now finally it has a name.” she began. Her advice covers, what is the Ben stage and how to break free of the cycle.

Essentially, the Ben stage is “about being stuck dating one unsuitable, and unavailable guy after another.” Eventually, women begin to believe they’ll never find a suitable partner willing to commit, and over time end up lowering their standards.

Read: Women Are Happier Being Single, Report Finds. Here’s Why.


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Commonality Among Women

Hayley explained that the Ben Stage got its name, because Ben is a common name and likely to be on the list of men most women have dated. She further shared that although the term, the Ben Stage is new, the common behaviors that have been associated with it are not. It seems that the Ben stage encompasses a whole list of undesired behaviors in a partner, including those who lead you on then disappear without any explanation. In other words, those who are overly sweet and complimentary, only to decide without warning, they want nothing to do with you.

If you’re stuck in the ‘Ben stage’, you may feel disempowered in dating, and that you just have to keep enduring let down after let down, but this isn’t actually the case,” Hayley explained. Also stating, “It’s not always obvious who could be a ‘Ben’ and who could be a guy that will really make you happy.”

Another relationship expert, Sabrina Bendory, also weighed in to share some insight, disclosing that she too, had a Ben Stage. “I’ve always called the Ben Stage the ‘damage case phase’. It’s when a woman dates a man who treats her very poorly.”

Listen to Avoid the Ben Stage

According to Sabrina, “If people tell you he is a player, listen to them. Listen to Ben – a lot of the time he’s honest about not wanting a girlfriend and you don’t want to hear it.” She explains what to look out for, “Look at the way he treats you. If he is all-in love-bombing and then disappears but comes back with a great excuse saying he was so busy – but he couldn’t find the 10 seconds to text, you. Ben is selfish – everything is on his terms. Look at who he surrounds himself with. Are all of his friends Bens?”

Desirable Traits

Although people can leave us feeling hurt or abandoned, there are positive behaviors that prove your partner may be the one to help you break free from the Ben stage.

  1. Honesty. Someone who is honest and has integrity likely won’t lead you on just to hurt you. They’ll be forthcoming about their wants and expectations. Furthermore, they tend not to appreciate when time is wasted, so won’t play games wasting your time or theirs.
  2. Sincerity. When men go above and beyond to be complimentary or give gifts, they’re likely compensating for something else. They may be emotionally unavailable or worse, abusive. In contrast, sincerity proves that even though they may just be an average human, they will stop at nothing to ensure your happiness, and minimize your pain.
  3. Confidence. We’ve all likely known a man who just “doesn’t know what he wants”. When people are confident, they don’t second guess themselves or their choices. As a result, they’re typically sure of themselves and the feelings they’ve divulged. Side note, avoid cockiness to steer clear of narcists.
  4. Having a Kind or Gentle Spirit. We all make mistakes, which likely means at some point your partner will do or say something that upsets you. On the other hand, some men say things out of spite, to be hurtful, or to gaslight you. Meanwhile, a kind man will apologize, take responsibility, and look to improve.
  5. Positivity. Because we all have bad days, there are bound to be moments of frustration. After all, life is hard for everyone and sometimes it’s hard not take that personal. In contrast, when someone never has a good thing to say about you, themselves, others, or life, it’s a clear red flag that they will likely never feel satisfied or even happy within your relationship.

Tips for Self-Preservation

Hayley says the most important thing you can do to establish boundaries is to be an advocate for yourself and your relationships. It’s important to note that if you are dealing with a dangerous or abusive partner, seeking outside or professional help, may be your best option to ensure your safety and mental fortitude. Meanwhile, Sabrina says, “You are what you attract.” So, stay positive, value yourself, and exude confidence and kindness to get that love back tenfold.

Keep Reading: Two women take breakup holiday together after finding out they were both dating the same man


  1. Relationship coach shares how to spot ‘bens’ and get out of ‘ben stage’.” Mirror. John Bett, Features Writer, and Lydia. March 25, 2023.
  2. The ‘Ben Stage’ is the new dating phase everyone wants to avoid.” Tyla. Rhiannon Ingle. March 20, 2023.
  3. The “ben phase” is the newest tiktok dating trend to avoid.” Elite Daily. Hannah Kern. February 10, 2023.