The 'Ben stage' is the new dating phase everyone wants to avoid
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Featured Image Credit: TikTok/@iamgubster / Vera Arsic / Pexels
In case you've been living under a rock - there's a brand-new phenomenon making its rounds on TikTok at the moment, mysteriously known as the 'Ben stage'.
The dating phase seems to be all-too familiar for many singletons who have since weighed in on the new term with their very relatable experiences within it.
So, we've spoken to a relationship expert to finally get to the bottom of what on earth the 'Ben stage' is and why everyone is so scared of it. Check it out:
Bens now seem to be the newest villain on the internet, with the hashtag on TikTok holding over half a million videos under it.
Many women are coming forward lamenting their 'Ben Stage' and warning others of the perils they, too, may face.
One of which is Neve, a TikTok creator whose video coining the term has gone viral online, amassing over 13.5 million views.
The short clip shows Neve shaking her head as she covers her mouth with the text caption reading: "Seeing any girl go through her 'Ben' stage".
The avalanche of 'Ben stage' videos commonly use the viral TikTok sound of Florence + the Machine's 'Dog Days Are Over' track with the lyrics: "You better run."
Many have since found camaraderie in the shared experience with one person revealing: "My Ben stage put me in therapy."
"The Ben stage is real," claimed a second, while a third chimed in: "My Ben stage ruined me."
We even spoke to one woman who was willing to share her first-hand experience of the dating nightmare.
Maisie, 23, told Tyla: "We were in college, first year. He was in my English Lit class and I thought he was super cute and cool because he went to all the gigs and he was the indie boy that all the indie girls liked. "
She explained that there was a huge party which 'turned into basically Project X but in Wigan'.
Herself and Ben attended briefly before getting 'kicked out' and did what most Brits do at the end of the night - went for a Maccies.
"Me and Ben went for a short walk and then he gave me a kiss," Maisie continued, "We kissed and went back inside and he NEVER spoke to me again - ever."
Ben then invited Maisie to a gig the following day yet 'basically ran away from me every time I looked in his direction'.
When the two finally did speak, he 'corrected [her] on an Arctic Monkeys lyric'.
Maisie concluded her war story: "Then we literally never spoke ever again. I learned never to be 16 again."
Clearly a dating epidemic, we spoke to dating coach Hayley Quinn who told us just about everything we need to know about this new mysterious terminology and what it even means.
Hayley explained: "We all know what the 'Ben stage' is and now finally it has a name."
The dating coach explained that while some people luck out and find the love of their lives at school, most people have to kiss a 'few frogs' to figure out not only what they want, but also how to assert themselves in the face of commitment-phobes.
Yep - they have a name too.
"The 'Ben stage' is all about being stuck dating one unsuitable, and unavailable guy after another," Hayley noted.
This seemingly endless cycle of dodgy partners leaves many to convince themselves that 'no men want to commit' and that they'll be 'single forever'.
Hayley pointed out that as 'Ben is a common man's name', so he's likely to be on the - increasingly long - list of guys you've 'dated, and ditched' over this frantic period of single life - if you were wondering about the catchall mode of address.
We then asked the dating coach if the newly-coined term reflects a broader shift in how we assess our romantic partners when dating or if it's just the same old news in different packaging.
"Whilst the term might be new," Hayley explained, "the behaviours we adopt in the 'Ben stage' are not."
People are basically 'unable' to tell a good potential option, from a guy who is destined to mislead them.
Hayley notes that the 'Ben stage' is so frustrating, because it usually comes during 'a time in your life where you've identified that you want commitment, but every experience you have winds up in the same way'.
But - it's not all doom and gloom as Hayley has outlined some very helpful advice on how to deal with the matter.
"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 outlined.
In order to successfully exit your 'Ben stage', the coach explains that you need to start 'advocating for yourself in your relationships'.
Plain and simple, Hayley advised: "If a guy says he's not looking for commitment (and you are) take him at his word and get out of there."
Now, a pearl of wisdom many of us should be taking on board, Hayley says straight-up to 'avoid situationships at all costs'.
So, if the guy is 'flakey' or 'unsure about what he wants' then it's for your best benefit to 'take a big step back' - even if you feel like you've got a great connection together.
Hayley concluded: "It's not always obvious who could be a 'Ben' and who could be a guy that will really make you happy.
"So," she says, "don't jump into new relationships, take your time figuring out if this guy can really give you what you want."
There you have it - an antidote for the 'Ben stage' coming from the expert herself.