Bens are the new Karens, according to a new TikTok dating trend about women going through the ‘Ben’ Stage. Yes, it’s somewhat of an inside viral joke. But there’s more to it – it’s also a reminder to love yourself and not settle for relationships that wreak havoc on your well-being.
What Exactly Is The ‘Ben Stage?’
TikToker @gubster is behind the trend, thanks to a video with over 13M views. “Seeing any girl go through her ‘Ben’ stage,” reads the caption. The audio is a snippet from Florence And The Machine’s song Dog Days Are Over featuring the lyric “you better run.”
While many women have come forward to share unfortunate relationship stories involving men named Ben, the trend is not to be taken too literally. “It’s not specifically about dating a person named Ben, but about dating someone where you learn your worth and what you want in a relationship after calling it quits. The ‘Ben’ stage is an era of self-worth and growth after dealing with a boy that isn’t worth your time,” according to Distractify.
For example, some ‘Ben’ stage stories involve situationships that dragged on for far too long and ended in heartbreak. Others include disastrous cheating situations. Some TikTokers shared that their ‘Ben’ stage put them in therapy. The common denominator is a dating experience that leaves you feeling awful, wondering what happened and why you tolerated it for so long. Realizing that you were in one of these relationships tends to happen in hindsight, hence the viral TikTok videos warning women to run when they notice red flags.
The Deeper Meaning Of The ‘Ben’ Stage Trend
The trend has ruffled some feathers by using a common name to describe problematic behavior from men. One Ben even appeared on TV to speak out about it.
That shouldn’t deter you from considering the deeper meaning behind the trend. #Thebenstage is about healing and empowerment. It wouldn’t have gone viral if there weren’t so many women who were scarred from dating experiences where they felt like they weren’t treated with the love, consideration, and respect they longed for. For many women who have opened up, toxic relationship dynamics led to healing and growth.
They understood their worth and figured out what changes they needed to make better decisions in their dating life and find healthy love. They learned what they were looking for and what they would no longer tolerate.
As one TikToker wrote, “getting past your ‘Ben’ stage is not the hardest thing you’ll ever do, but it’s one of those things you can’t understand till you’re through it. Being able to say I’m happier by myself than in a relationship that makes me unhappy is priceless.”