It’s the latest dating trend, and it’s ruining love lives everywhere.

As a 25-year-old female who has been single for the majority of my 20s, I feel I have earned the right to say that modern-day dating is about as fun as diving into a pool of thumbtacks. With your eyes open. Naked.

It’s a game. And not a fun game like Scrabble or Monopoly. It’s more like that game from the movie Saw, where innocent victims have to decide between two forms of torture.

"I want to play a game". ^^^ This guy is legitimately better looking than most guys I've dated. Image via Lionsgate. 

At least in Saw the rules of the game are clearly outlined; like cut off your own foot or shoot yourself in the eye. A fictional mass murderer might actually have more respect for humanity than ruthless, single twenty-somethings...

But after a number of years, I've established some dating commandments. Ahem;

i) Thou must never appear angry when blown-off at the last minute. Remember, people are busy, and you are not very important. Reply something like "haha, no worries!" when your date bails (while also banging your head against a brick wall).

ii) Thou shalt pretend that thou does not possess any feelings/emotions for at least the first six to 12 months of the 'relationship'. No one wants you getting all 'human being' on them too early... (eww)


iii) Thou who cares the least, wields the most power. It's best to compete in the game of 'lack of interest', and never reply to a message straight away.... Until eventually you just don't speak anymore.

iiii) Thou shalt never inquire how many other people your 'partner' is sleeping with... even though you might want to be vigilant about your sexual health and they're most likely swarming with STDs. You might have chlamydia, but at least you look cool.

These are just the beginning.

"Remember that people are busy, and you are not very important." Image via Universal Studios. 

It's not all the fault of technology, but it is definitely a little bit the fault of technology. Suddenly, your ex and their new partner are literally at your fingertips. They are there for the stalking. The introduction of Tinder, Happn, Bumble etc. means that our options (appear) endless. The culture of modern-day dating encourages us to always be peering over our shoulder, looking for something better.

With countless ways to connect, the silence has become deafening.

One woman in the office was seeing a guy for about four months, before he disappeared and never spoke to her again. This experience is so common there's a goddamn term for it: ghosting. Twenty years ago we could have told ourselves that he went crazy, or died, or lost his hands so couldn't call, or was embarrassed because he contracted a flesh-eating disease and his face fell off. But, unfortunately, seeing a picture of him on Instagram with his arm around a Miranda Kerr-look-alike really pokes holes in our compelling theories.

ADVERTISEMENT he is alive after all. Damn. Image via Fox. 

Getting a date isn't so much the problem. It's what comes next. They are happy to hang out with you...and maybe text you...and sleep with you semi-regularly. They just don't want to commit exclusively, or meet any of your emotional needs. That's all!

Well, apparently our experience is fairly universal. Jason Chen from New York Magazine has dubbed 'benching' the new 'ghosting'. Have you been speaking to a guy on and off for a few months? Has he been playing you a bit hot and cold? Can you see him straight up tuning other girls on social media? Yeah. You're on the bench.

Most of us have experienced it, and, if we're honest, most of us have done it to other people. And I think we can all agree that the bench is cold and lonely.

Rather than leaving someone on the sideline, hoping to get a run (oh God this analogy is so uncomfortable), it's much, much nicer to tell them to pack up their sports bag and go home. Maybe this game just isn't for them.