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Should I take this relationship to another level?
June 25, 2008 5:52 PM   Subscribe

My friend is willing to become a friend with benefits. Should I do it?

I'm male. A friend of mine who I've known for the last 10 years recently told me that she has the hots for me. At the time, I told her that I was flattered, but not interested in her romantically.

Since then, I've been thinking about whether or not a friends with benefit arrangement would work. She always complains about needing sex and I am a virgin. It seems like it might work. When I broached the subject the other day, she seemed receptive. She's done the FWB thing before, and has sex with her son's dad whenever he's in town.

There are a few complicating factors:
1. She has a 4 year old son.
2. I'm really not interested in being romantically involved with her.
3. I worry that this will change our relationship for the worse.

Oh MeFites, help me decide whether I should go through with this. I'm so conflicted.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (22 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
it will definetly change the relationship, and there will be no going back, but that doesn't mean it won't work out great.

You can ask everyone in the world, but only you know what's right for you, and there is no guarentee it won't be a disaster, but it could also be great, especially if you go into it knowing what you want, and not trying to fool yourself.

good luck
posted by Mr_Chips at 6:02 PM on June 25, 2008


Eventually one of you is likely to want to be in an exclusive relationship with someone else. What do you imagine happening at that point?
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 6:04 PM on June 25, 2008


She is interested in you. Even if she swears up and down that it's just a "thing," it very well might not be to her.

If I were you, I'd stay away from it.
posted by Pax at 6:05 PM on June 25, 2008


No.

If you're not interested why have sex with her? Call me a prude, but no.

We all have purely natural needs and desires for sex but I'm thinking she wants something more than to end a dry spell. She likes you. Don't ruin a friendship or make things complicated.

Find somebody you are attracted to and are interested in. The sex will be much better and you'll respect yourself and your partner.

Call me old-fashioned but I will never get this "friends with benefits" nonsense. There is no such thing. When you are having sex with someone you are intimately and romantically involved, like it or not.
posted by LoriFLA at 6:07 PM on June 25, 2008 [10 favorites]


From my own experience in this area as well as that of friends, I say do not do it. I'll go out on a limb and say most of the time this arrangement is a total failure. It has gone both ways for me, but losing the friendship I lost was just not worth it and if I could go back I would not do it.

If you want casual sex you can go find it with people you care about less (Craigslist > Casual Encounters). Don't put a valuable, long-lasting friendship on the line just so you can lose your virginity and because it seems convenient.
posted by loiseau at 6:08 PM on June 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


You're a virgin, she has a kid and you've known each other for 10 years? If there were a magic friend with benefits list of do's and dont's, this would surely hit all in the don't column. That doesn't mean this couldn't be the start of a relationship.
posted by geoff. at 6:12 PM on June 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


FWB can work -- I've done it -- but the woman really has to have a stereotypically male attitude to sex. That is, she has to be able to separate physical intimacy from emotional intimacy. Not to generalize too much, but it's been my experience that most women can't do this as well as men.

It sounds like there's a possibility that this particular woman might be up to it based on the fact that she's been OK in similar relationships in the past. If you really think she is, you might give it a try, but let her know up front that you're prepared to call off the benefits if it seems like she's getting too attached.
posted by kindall at 6:14 PM on June 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


kindall said: "It sounds like there's a possibility that this particular woman might be up to it based on the fact that she's been OK in similar relationships in the past. If you really think she is, you might give it a try, but let her know up front that you're prepared to call off the benefits if it seems like she's getting too attached."

Uh, yeah -- or if the OP is getting too attached.

To approach any relationship with a warning isn't just condescending, it's wholly offensive to your partner. So I guess if that's what you feel inclined to do, avoid the relationship altogether, for both partner's sake.
posted by loiseau at 6:28 PM on June 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


I can base this only on my own experiences, but I've had FWB a few times and it always worked out OK, by which I mean it was fun and we're still friends even though we're not FWB anymore, not that there were no problems whatsoever.

If you do this, my advice would be:

1) Make sure you talk about what your expectations are *before* you have sex. This doesn't need to be a big deal, just check to see that you're on the same page. If you're not (e.g., she says, "Well, I am hoping this might develop into something more", or what have you), don't do it.

2) End things in a friendly way if it gets weird. If you were honest about things to begin with, most people worth doing this with won't freak out.

3) You probably already know, but just in case: use protection, both against pregnancy and STD's.

I have to disagree with the people who think that if she does get emotionally attached, it will be The End Of The Friendship. It happens, but people can get past it. In my case, it happened twice: in one case, the person said "You're right, sorry 'bout that" when things ended, and in another case she got mopey about it until she found a boyfriend, but years later it's not a big deal.

Be respectful, both of her and the kid, be nice and friendly, be open and honest. And have fun. It's sex, not a guillotine.
posted by kyrademon at 6:37 PM on June 25, 2008 [2 favorites]


If you've known her for ten years you must have a pretty solid friendship. So don't do it.

Here's the deal. Maybe 5% of the time you get into a friends with benefits type of arrangement will both partners be on equal footing. The rest of the time, you guessed it, one is waiting for something more to develop. Now granted, she's done this before. But has she done it with a long-term friend? Things to consider:

1) Think back to the conversation when she confessed her attraction to you. What was she really confessing? Pure lust, or a desire for a relationship painted with lust to not put you off too much? You should know her pretty well, think on it for a while (not with your dick) and her intentions shouldn't be too hard to pick up on.

2) You're a virgin. No offense, but you'll probably suck in the sack for a while. Why would a woman want to get involved in a purely sexual relationship with someone who can't bring his A game?

If you get the slightest whiff of anything more than a good dickin', forget about the whole thing unless you wanna strain your friendship.
posted by Roman Graves at 6:39 PM on June 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


2) You're a virgin. No offense, but you'll probably suck in the sack for a while. Why would a woman want to get involved in a purely sexual relationship with someone who can't bring his A game?

yeah. there's really no benefit if the sex isn't good.
posted by violetk at 6:55 PM on June 25, 2008


It can work if you're both mature about it. It can, and I know it sounds cliche, even make the friendship better, because you'll have more embarrassing inside jokes to laugh about.

But if either of you are at all uptight, possessive or have ego issues... no, it'll get weird fast.

But you know what? It doesn't really matter what you "decide" now. Because now that you have talked about it... it's going to happen. Sooner or later.
posted by rokusan at 7:29 PM on June 25, 2008


Compare and contrast this two statements:

A friend of mine who I've known for the last 10 years recently told me that she has the hots for me.

I told her that I was flattered, but not interested in her romantically.

i.e She likes you more than you like her. That best way that this can end is in five or ten years you'll both look back and laugh nervously saying "Boy was that stupid."
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:09 PM on June 25, 2008


It depends...there's ton of friend fucking in my groups of friends. Sometimes it turns out nasty, sometimes not. However, no matter how it turns out, something ALWAYS get leaked, good or bad. Penis waaaaaay too small? You only lasted 30 seconds? Your snatch smells like Captain D's? It will be told to almost everyone. Be prepared for that.

On the other hand...

2) You're a virgin. No offense, but you'll probably suck in the sack for a while. Why would a woman want to get involved in a purely sexual relationship with someone who can't bring his A game?

That could be a good reason to go ahead. To be blunt, you'll need some practice and learn from mistakes. Would you rather have this happen in a casual fling or a serious relationship?

Call me old-fashioned but I will never get this "friends with benefits" nonsense. There is no such thing.

Sometimes, you just get horny. Masturbation can get boring, and if you don't have a gf/bf, what else is there to do?
posted by sixcolors at 8:17 PM on June 25, 2008


The only hesitation I would have is about the 4 year old son. Not knowing the background, it could be more than a bit confusing if Mom suddenly had a new friend that stayed the night sometimes and was there in the morning. If it is only when the kiddo is at the babysitter / other family members place (not at the sex-having location), then you might have a reason to go ahead and give it a try. Just be aware of the young son, and how impressionable he is at this age when seeing people with his Mom. Do not get into a situation of being a father-figure unless you truly are in it for the long haul (not to say you're automatically that if you have sex with her).
posted by shinynewnick at 8:54 PM on June 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


Go for it, but make sure you're both on the same page with respect to level of commitment.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 9:35 PM on June 25, 2008


Wow, no! She's interested in you romantically, and you don't return the sentiment. Quite frankly, to propose a friends with benefits arrangement with her so that you can get laid is taking advantage of the situation. If you want to remain friends with this person, I highly suggest you refrain - otherwise, you will very likely loose a long time friend for a little bit of pussy.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 9:41 PM on June 25, 2008


I'm going to have to go with, "not enough information," here.

However, the one thing that is sure to me is that there will be big, messy emotions involved here, not only because of all the red flags mentioned, but because of the stakes our society attaches to sex. Losing your virginity has a deep and convoluted socially constructed mythology in our culture. Well, to be sure, sex in general has been overwrought and overthought as well. None of us have really escaped that programming. In my experience, all the logic and rationalizing and mental preparation in the world will not hold back some pretty surprising emotions around sex.

The thing is, I don't think big, messy emotions are necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes, when you're open to it, they can be a catalyst for positive change.

The sex mythology, though, that's where the "not enough info" comes in. Sometimes the best way to kill a myth is to test it. There will be consequences and the askee seems like a risk-avoidant and overthink-a-plate-of-beans kind of guy. (Most askees are, that's why we're here and not on maxim.com, right?)

One red flag that a lot of people missed is: "She has a friends with benefits situation with her baby-daddy," is hardly an endorsement for an individual who can have sex without consequences. Maybe she kept the baby and keeps having sex with him hoping that he'll eventually commit? Maybe she's going to start the same game with you? How much do you trust her and her judgment in these matters?

Questions to ponder:
posted by Skwirl at 12:34 AM on June 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


I'm going to be the devil on the shoulder here. Just do it - sex only has to create confusion and complications if either party makes it. Don't make any rules, be frank and honest with her and have some fun. As long as you are respectful and you are clear what the situation is then is could be great.
posted by swisspotter at 2:57 AM on June 26, 2008


This is a horrible idea. Unless you don't care about being friends with her anymore.
posted by chunking express at 8:45 AM on June 26, 2008


In general it's not going to work (stay casual) if you have sex more than once every four weeks.
posted by herbaliser at 11:59 AM on June 26, 2008


I had the exact same situation happen to me over a year ago. I had known her for years and years. We started hanging out, as friends, and eventually she brought up the friends with benefits. We did it for about a month and it either had to stop or we agreed we should be exclusive. We have now been together for over a year in an actual relationship. So at least there is one success story for you!
posted by jwfree at 9:27 PM on June 26, 2008


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