i'm a relatively new guitarist (about 10 months) but i picked everything up pretty quickly and easily, except for one issue thats hindering progress.

say i need to bend the 3rd string up 1 tone. it all goes pretty smooth until the release. while bending, in this case, my fingers will often end up UNDER the 4th string (not always. that just seems wierd to me) and bending the 5th string slightly. of course that can't be helped, but what always happens is that on the release i ring the 5th string with my fret hand.

anybody have some tips on how to avoid this?
use two or more fingers when bending, it's a lot easier that way...
i'm not sure about the ringing part, maybe you could bend using your middle and ring finger, and mute the upper strings with your index finger.
Use the palm (or side) of your picking hand to mute the notes you don't want to hear. (as you would for palm muting)

It can be tricky at first to mute just the notes you require while letting the one(s) you're using ring out. But it's an important technique to learn and with practice, as with everything else, it will become second nature.
yeah, when bending, the strings should be more "on top" on your fingers, and you should use at least 2 fingers, though 3 if you can. And also if bending the 3rd string then you should use the side of your picking hand to mute the 4th 5th and 6th strings to avoid them making any noise, though they shouldn't make much anyway after you develop the proper tecnique, which to do you just kinda need to follow the rules and then "feel" it out.