Ghosting is when someone disappears from a mainly digital relationship without a trace. It’s the equivalent of death in the digital sphere — hence the ghost metaphor. You’re in contact with someone regularly through text, on Snapchat, maybe even Facebook — you think it’s going somewhere and then poof! They vanish like a ghost. It’s psychologically wounding. You’re abandoned — and especially for people who have dodgy relationships with unreliable parents in their past it can produce very painful echoes. But in one sense ghosting contains a healthy element people often seek in life: closure. Sure it’s not the kind of closure where you know answers (we never know all the answers anyway) but it’s closure in the sense that there’s an ending. That’s healthy. That’s a boundary, a limit. You’ve been ghosted and it sucks, but put it past you and it’s gone. You’re free.
Benching is the opposite. Benching is when an online correspondent won’t commit, but also doesn’t want to admit it, or quite commit to an ending. So they keep you in reserve. That means reaching out occasionally, just a nibble to make sure you’re still there, but not enough to satisfy. It’s digital limbo. There’s no closure at all, but instead just a teasing open-ended chasm that invites you to pour your thoughts, emotions, and time into it. NOT healthy. Better to be ghosted and free.