Should I get involved with my friend?
April 21, 2010 11:03 PM   Subscribe

A friend and I are verging on adding "-with-benefits" to our relationship, and I need some help deciding what to do. Warning: young adult stupidity and beanplating inside.

The basics: I'm female, my friend is male, we're both in college. I've known this guy since we lived near each other freshman year, but we've really become good friends this year. Last October, he confessed that he was interested in me, we made out, and I ended up deciding that while I honestly love this guy as a friend- he's a seriously fantastic, funny, kind, interesting, caring, genuinely great guy- I just didn't find him that attractive, and I didn't want to date him. I didn't feel a "spark," I guess you'd call it.

I ended up letting him know I just wanted to be friends, and since then we have been. We have dinner, we see each other regularly, it's great. I pretty much figured we'd normalized things and was really happy about it, since I enjoy his friendship a lot.

Then, this last weekend, we went on a trip to another college with a group we're both members of. We got drunk, and ended up making out. And having oral sex. Not my finest hour of decision making, to say the least. He made it pretty clear that he is definitely still interested in me, and definitely interested in taking this new side of our relationship back home.

My initial feeling was basically, "oh fuck. That was stupid." I still don't want to date him, because I don't want to hurt him, and I feel like trying to date when I have serious initial doubts about our long-term compatibility would be a recipe for a mess. I also still don't feel super physically attracted to him.

We got together to talk about things after a day or so, and he stated his case. He apparently doesn't want a serious relationship right now, and it's almost the end of the year and we'll both be away from campus next year so we can have fun for a month and then have a year to defuse any awkwardness. We pretty much agree that our options are just stay friends, or stay friends and also mess around for the next few weeks.

Initially, I thought I'd give him the same answer I did last fall. But now I have doubts. Honestly, having a guy to mess around with appeals to me. I'm pretty sexually driven, I guess you could say, and having a steady hookup would be nice. On the other hand, I am kind of... experienced (more than he is, and more than is typical for my friends). I've been feeling a weird sort of pressure recently to reign in my sexual behavior and save sex for more emotionally involved relationships. It's not my natural impulse, but somehow I feel like it should be, maybe? It's sort of a good angel/bad angel thing, and hell, I'm young and horny and I doubt I'll have a better opportunity to indulge my bad side.

There's also the issue of attraction. I've started to question if my definition of it is sort of narrow- like, maybe I can enjoy getting involved with someone even if I don't have an overwhelming desire to get them naked. And based on my actions last weekend, I might be more attracted to this guy than I think. I'm just unsure if the experimentation needed to answer this question is worth the potential trouble.

I can't seem to make up my mind, and I need to figure this out so I can give my friend an answer. I'm as sure as I can be that we'll be able to stay friends however this turns out; we seriously do communicate well, and we're both honest, upfront people who aren't into games and stupid drama.

Since I can't go hang out with my future self and find out if this turns into a fond memory or a bad one, I turn to Mefi. Have you done this? Did it work out? Should I just go make out with him already and throw caution to the wind or should I back away and avoid this situation at all costs?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (47 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
I still don't want to date him, because I don't want to hurt him

But you were okay with getting drunk, and breaking out the bj's when it was clear he liked you? Friends tend not to give other friends who have crushes on them bj's. It's needlessly cruel.

Whether or not you decide to have a boff-tastic month, I think you need to be honest with yourself and your actions - are you interested in this guy's friendship, or its effect on your self-esteem?

Cause, from what I'm reading here, this isn't really top notch friendship behaviour. Also, if you take a trip down benefits lane, don't expect him to be cool about going back to friends with no benefits. He likes you. He liked you before, you had sexy times, he probably likes you even more now. If you can't go into this with - at worst - an open mind to having a relationship, you are leading him on, regardless of what he or you say to each other, and that's mean, and a true friend wouldn't do it.
posted by smoke at 11:30 PM on April 21, 2010 [21 favorites]


Beanplating is right.

But in all of that I don't really know what he wants. You said he agreed to being friends and "messing around for the next few weeks", but how did he get there? Is that the comprise he agreed to because it was what he could get, or is really something he wanted (and not just wanted because it was better than nothing.)? If that is the arrangement are both of you mature enough to handle it? Really?

Because of such arrangements stalkers are made. And he's not the only one in danger of winding up unrequited. How will you really feel if he does what you have asked, and then just walks away from you? This is a real danger of casual sex, a lot of emotions get would up in it, and a lot of ego too. So is he going to mope and moon once things are over? Will he become your go to guy whenever you are lonely, and then be devastated when he finds a relationship that is more responsive to his own desires?

These kinds of relationships are possible, I've seen them. I've seen them go along with both sides happy for several years and then end as the couple grows about. But I've seen more people try it and it end in anger or tears or both after month or so. The later is a lot more common.

So if you're willing to have sex with him (and let's not pretend that oral sex, isn't sex. OK?), how is it you aren't attracted to him? I hope that doesn't mean, I don't want it know that I'm going with him, or having sex with him, because that is immensely shallow, and if that is it, I hope you have the integrity to tell him of your problem and let him get away.
posted by Some1 at 11:55 PM on April 21, 2010


Be fair to him. He has feelings for you -- you don't. No matter what it is in your mind, it is very very likely that he will see this as much more than it is for you. Please don't be the one to add more anguish and hurt into his world unnecessarily. Please don't be the one to lead him on with actions. Please don't keep him in this pseudo-coupleship and prevent him from moving on if indeed you're not interested. Just don't.
posted by gadha at 12:05 AM on April 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


Well, the end game I see is that he'll end up being hurt when you find a guy you do really like. But until then he'll be getting laid. If he had the choice to make, what do you think he'd pick? Keep in mind that you're also hurting him by turning him down.

Young people are just going to have relationship drama. There's no way to avoid it. Don't worry about it.

Whether or not you decide to have a boff-tastic month, I think you need to be honest with yourself and your actions - are you interested in this guy's friendship, or its effect on your self-esteem?

What does that even mean?
posted by delmoi at 12:09 AM on April 22, 2010


"I still don't want to date him, because I don't want to hurt him"

You seem to know how this story will end. Act accordingly.
posted by bardic at 12:41 AM on April 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


So you're not interested in a guy who is interested in you...yet you get drunk with him and give him blowjobs. Are you looking for people to teach you the basics...or do you just not care about feelings if they belong to someone else?
posted by hal_c_on at 12:43 AM on April 22, 2010 [8 favorites]


From the looking of things, in the arrangement proposed you're getting a friend with benefits, and he's getting not-quite-a-girlfriend. It's a bit cruel to him. If you value his friendship more than string free sex, then don't toy with him like that.

Well, the end game I see is that he'll end up being hurt when you find a guy you do really like. But until then he'll be getting laid. If he had the choice to make, what do you think he'd pick? Keep in mind that you're also hurting him by turning him down.

Probably having the OP as a girlfriend. You're better off hurting him now, than hurting and betraying his trust later.

I've had the friends with benefits thing before, and work out okay, but only in cases where the other party is not using it as Step One in a five point plan to Make Jilder My Girlfriend.
posted by Jilder at 12:45 AM on April 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think maybe this is not the guy you want to exercise your benefits with. Generally, people who would enter into a relationship with you if they could are not prime FWB material if you don't want a relationship with them.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 12:52 AM on April 22, 2010


Are you making him wear condoms at every sexual encounter? Are you checking every condom for leakage/failure, at every encounter? Because if you're being really rigorous about maintaining "safe sex" isolation, he's going to pretty quickly get that you're keeping him out of your "serious sex" fluid bonded pool.

Maybe he's OK with that; maybe he doesn't want you in his sexual "history," either. But if it's true that either you don't want him in your sexual history, or he doesn't want you in his, and you both still want to be sexual together, you both need to be playing from the "safer sex" handbook.
posted by paulsc at 12:58 AM on April 22, 2010


Sounds like a perfect FWB situation to me: specific time window, both parties specifically not looking for a LTR... Maybe it'll turn into something more, maybe some feelings will be hurt, but that's how these things go. Be open and honest and enjoy the sexy times. I know he will.
posted by maniactown at 1:04 AM on April 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


From your question, it sounds like you really like him as a person and the only reason you're not dating is because you aren't sexually attracted to him. Now, you're considering having sex with him but without a relationship (because you're not all that keen on sex with him)?

I could be wrong, but I'm of the impression that friends-with-benefits is where two people find each other incredibly hot, want to get eachother naked, but realise that there is some underlying personality/situational flaw that means dating wouldn't work out.

If you're not attracted to him physically, what's the sense in getting physical?
posted by brambory at 1:21 AM on April 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


I think you should consider having a relationship with him.

Sparks and excitement fade; friendships last.
The happiest people I know say they married their best friend.
posted by chinabound at 2:35 AM on April 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


I've been feeling a weird sort of pressure recently to reign in my sexual behavior and save sex for more emotionally involved relationships. It's not my natural impulse, but somehow I feel like it should be, maybe?

The natural state of nature for young adults is chaos, so saying it's not your "natural impulse" is a bit irrelevant. Do you enjoy chaos? Do you enjoy dragging others into a state of chaos? Your inner adult seems to think perhaps not.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:46 AM on April 22, 2010


When he told you he just wanted a short term benefits fling? That was a lie. This is almost certainly step one in his "make anon my girlfriend" plan. Forget his feelings (if he's going to say he's OK with it, then that's on him)--this will turn out badly for you. When the beer goggles wear off, you will go back to being not that attracted to him. And the fact that he wants you in a permanent way will loom over you every time you sleep together. And he will be the most ungodly clingy fuckbuddy you can ever imagine.
posted by anaelith at 3:57 AM on April 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Setting your own issues aside (as I'm sure you can settle those for yourself) and thinking from his POV: go for it if he has anything close to 'normal' emotional resilience. My guess is even given a worst case outcome of crushed expectations and a broken heart, it still won't matter if you've hurt him a little in the short term so long as you're not needlessly cruel or selfish. He's not going to look back over his life on his death bed and regret the sex and intimacy he did have.
posted by Abiezer at 4:03 AM on April 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Christ there are a bunch of wet blankets in this thread. Worst case scenario: he has a broken heart, feels bad for a while, and gets over it. I'm not saying you should go through life recklessly hurting people, but Christ as long as he understands what he's getting into what's the problem? He obviously thinks he can handle it, who are a bunch of people on the internet to second guess him?

A little drama never hurt anyone. "A state of chaos"? Seriously? People are just not that fragile.
That was a lie. This is almost certainly step one in his "make anon my girlfriend" plan.
Oh that's bullshit. You don't know this guy. Lots of guys are happy to get sex without having any strings attached.
He's not going to look back over his life on his death bed and regret the sex and intimacy he did have.
Exactly.
posted by delmoi at 4:22 AM on April 22, 2010 [9 favorites]


+1 on the wet blankets comment. It might just be me, but MeFi seems extra conservative and judgmental lately. I think as long as you make it clear what is likely to happen (and it sounds like you guys have above average communication between you), then why not enjoy some benefits? If that leads to you rethinking the type of person you find attractive, that's fine too.
posted by hamandcheese at 4:34 AM on April 22, 2010


Sex with a friend is a goodness. Much better than a hook up with someone you don't know or trust. I don't know why everyone's assuming you gave him a blow job - oral sex happened, could have been to him, to you, or to both. Don't date him, have sex, be his friend, it'll be like being married for 20 years, except not.

/On the other hand, I've been absolutely certain that certain sexual experiences/ experiments would turn out just fine because - we're all adults, cards on the table, mature, open - huh - well, that didn't turn out so well for some. So, you know, it's a bit unpredictable, even when it looks predictable.
posted by b33j at 4:54 AM on April 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Everything you've written here, you should tell him, give him a day to think over and he's still willing to be your sex toy, go for it. It's only a month, you're both young, have some fun.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:04 AM on April 22, 2010


Well, I'll be another wet blanket. This sounds terrible, and it sounds like you're jerking this guy around not because you're not attracted to him (you are, or else you wouldn't have given him a blowjob), or because you're incompatible with him (you're clearly compatible) but because you want to have a no-strings attached relationship because it makes you feel like a sexy bad ass.

I've been feeling a weird sort of pressure recently to reign in my sexual behavior and save sex for more emotionally involved relationships. It's not my natural impulse, but somehow I feel like it should be, maybe? It's sort of a good angel/bad angel thing, and hell, I'm young and horny and I doubt I'll have a better opportunity to indulge my bad side.

Stop labeling sexual behavior in moral terms. Having a purely physical relationship isn't "bad," and you're not a "good angel" if you save yourself for someone you feel emotionally attached too. The people I know who label sex this way--invariably women, for what it's worth, who seem to think that good girls don't do certain things sexually and so get a thrill from acting in ways that they feel are transgressive--inevitably pull other people into their drama. And then tell everyone they know about how bad they are. Oh, there's this guy who adores me and wants to date me but I told him we could only fuck! Teehee.

Sorry if my tone sounds a little contemptuous, but it's tiresome--really, really tiresome. Understand that the vast majority of adults think it's no big deal if you blow some dude. The vast majority of people don't find this, or the fact that you're young and horny, all that interesting. Most people just think that adult sexual relationships should be honest and enjoyable for both parties. If you're not sure yet where you stand, tell him that. Let him decide how to proceed with his own sex life.

Also, for what it's worth, agreeing to date someone isn't agreeing to marry them. You really don't need to be sure about your long-term compatibility with someone from the outset--but if their company is pleasant more often than not, it makes sense not to close any doors on them immediately. Chemistry isn't a straight line, even in long-term relationships; it ebbs and flows, and expecting every relationship to be instantly chemistry-central just isn't very realistic.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 5:09 AM on April 22, 2010 [12 favorites]


I am going to go ahead and ask you to go ahead and do it....ONLY if you are really splitting up after a month anyway. I have been in several similar situations where a girl wanted to mess around with me and I "caring" so much about their feelings wouldnt go through it....I changed my tune now in my mid 20s and it worked out fine with a friend that I had known for about 10 years. I knew she liked me more than I liked her so i made it clear that it would just be a FWB situation. I also told her this could only go on for a maximum of two months as I was traveling somewhere else. 2 months later I left and though we were definitely closer there were no hard feelings between each other.....

You can do this OP just communicate communicate and communicate (at the beginning mostly no need to remind this guy every week of your status)....and then really enjoy yourself.....

See this is also part of your experimentation and growth in life...learning how to handle different type of relationships is a great skill to have....
posted by The1andonly at 5:36 AM on April 22, 2010


Oh, there's this guy who adores me and wants to date me but I told him we could only fuck! Teehee.

Sorry if my tone sounds a little contemptuous, but it's tiresome--really, really tiresome. Understand that the vast majority of adults think it's no big deal if you blow some dude. The vast majority of people don't find this, or the fact that you're young and horny, all that interesting.
What difference does it make if it's tiring or uninteresting to you? I'm sure this is all very interesting to the two of them.
posted by delmoi at 5:54 AM on April 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


There are, in my admittedly secondhand experience, two basic kinds of FWB relationships:

1. Two people who could never be a serious couple because one (or both) of them is immature, socially unacceptable, a raging alcoholic or whatever other character defect you'd like to insert here, but happen to incredibly physically attracted to each other, decide no strings sex would be fun. They're usually part of the same social group, but not close friends, and they probably don't see each other alone, other than for sexyfuntimes.

2. Two people who are really good friends, but not a couple because one of them just doesn't have feelings for the other (while the other might quite likely have feelings for the first) decide that they can be great friends and have sex and as long as they don't call it a relationship, then no one will get hurt, right, right?

The first kind often works out, at least until the drawbacks of the defect become a bigger deal than the sex. The second kind never works out, because it is, in essence, having a relationship but refusing to call it one, and 'the other' is always going to end up hurt.

You are talking about type 2.
posted by jacquilynne at 5:56 AM on April 22, 2010 [6 favorites]


Just be aware that guys are pretty dumb at this sort of thing, and he will readily agree to anything you suggest that sounds remotely like you want him involved. I know I would.

To you it will be friends with benefits, but that's not necessarily how he thinks of it. Most probably he's thinking it's a budding relationship. Be careful with him, he sounds like a nice person and its great that you can see beyond the superficial.
posted by the noob at 5:58 AM on April 22, 2010


I'm not sure if I'm a wet blanket or not, but I get the sense here that first he tried really hard to talk you into this, and now you are trying to talk yourself into it. And if something takes that much convincing, why do it? I can see why he wants this -- FWB is better than nothing, and he can dream that it will lead to an actual relationship -- but if you aren't actually turned on by him, and aren't interested in a relationship, well...

Sort of the reverse of what PBWKenobi was describing, I've seen a lot of people, mostly women, talk themselves into relationships that they feel they "should" have, rather than the ones they want to have. So they'll date guys who are more socially acceptable, or nicer, or whatever, rather than go find themselves someone who really gets their motor running. It's just as sad and hard to watch as the drama-seekers she described; neither approach is going to produce results you will be proud of.
posted by Forktine at 6:01 AM on April 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


My rule (carefully pieced together after years of trial and error) is that if I'm thinking this: I just didn't find him that attractive, and I didn't want to date him. I didn't feel a "spark," I guess you'd call it, I spare everyone a headache and don't get involved, especially not sexually.

Look, here's some real talk. It's really nice to have someone around who you know is attracted to you. It's a great ego rush. But unless you're attracted back to that person, you're just straight up taking advantage of him and his feelings. I've done that before, and when it was all over and done with, I felt like a shit excuse for a human being. I haven't let things progress with anyone I didn't really, really like since. Yes, that means that I'm celibate when I'm not really digging anyone. It's worth it, if just for the peace of mind that comes with not demeaning someone to serve my own ego.
posted by oinopaponton at 6:14 AM on April 22, 2010 [5 favorites]


There's some good advice up there. I just wanted to add this:

I'm young and horny

Don't let this be the driving force. Sex gets much, much better as you get older. A thousand, million times better. This is not going to be the best sex of your life; you're not going to be missing much if you don't do it. You may, however, really hurt this guy; you may end up giving him emotional scars that last for years and that screw up a relationship for him with someone else who actually wants to be with him long-term.

And try putting yourself in his place: would you want someone you had a crush on to have sex with you when they didn't really find you attractive? Could you actually do it without hoping it turned into something more?

So you have a choice: You can think only of yourself and your own physical desires, or you can be considerate of other people's feelings. This is kind of like the adage about how you treat a waiter - the answer here tells a lot about what kind of person you are.

Sorry for sounding all preachy here, but, well...you asked.
posted by MexicanYenta at 6:16 AM on April 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've been here, done this.

I've given this answer on Ask elsewhere, but just to say it again - this will work out FINE if you are both CLEAR on what is happening. If you think that he's going to harbor some sort of desire to make the relationship more than it is - and if you think he will take the "with benefits" as some sort of victory in that direction - don't do it. Otherwise, go for it. You only live once. You are not obligated to button up your desire to get laid now becuase of some strange morality clause that is coming into play. Be ethical with him and with yourself. It's a pretty easy rule.

Also, just keep in mind - the fact that HE is physically attracted to YOU could be influencing your willingness to hook up with him. It's pretty hot to be considered hot, and if you just LIKE the guy anyway, doubly so. It's possible that you're acting on that feeling of being wanted, particularly when your judgment is impaired.

You're at a point in your life (college) where this stuff is all over the place for you and you're feeling pressure to "be a certain way" and you're trying to figure out who you are. Of COURSE for those of us who are out of that stage, it's tiresome or boring because we've already got it figured out. But I remember that time of my life with a fondness, and I think it's good you're thinking about this, and trying to figure out how to be ethical about it.

In short: have fun, but be ethical about it. Getting laid for the sake of getting laid is great, and so is being an ethical person. You can do both.
posted by Medieval Maven at 6:26 AM on April 22, 2010


As a guy, I'd rather the girl give me a shot to show her who I am than to have rejected me outright if she was honest about the whole thing from moment one. In my past, a good friend did that and though we weren't a compatible couple, I knew it for sure after we'd dipped our toes in the water. I moved on and found what I wanted and so did she. We're still friends.

The second you're sure that you're interested/not interested, tell him. Do your best not to lead him on for even a second and you will have treated him well.
posted by Hiker at 6:42 AM on April 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


I have been in that guy's position. It recently ended very poorly, with me falling in love and T (the person playing your role in this) both backing away at a furious pace and constantly reminding me that he "really values my friendship" and "looks forward to a time when we can just be friends again." And each time he said those things, it was like a sandbag to the back of my knees.

We both went into this knowing each other's position, but I'm an optimist, and hey, he was getting what he wanted, sex and companionship and a cooking buddy, all on his terms. I kept thinking that I could change his mind, that clearly he could see how perfect we fit together, that how could anyone not feel the same longing and excitement that I felt?

Well, he didn't. And as I got more attached, he pulled further away, always with the "I really value our friendship" line. After a few months of this misery, I finally cut off contact. I'm still in love with him, and pretty spectacularly miserable about it. I genuinely don't think he means me ill, and I believe he was and is doing what he thought best.

All that said, it was a spectacularly cruel thing to do.

Either be this guy's friend, or date him. But this in between thing is bullshit. I wouldn't wish my current misery on anyone.
posted by mollymayhem at 7:14 AM on April 22, 2010 [7 favorites]


For better or worse, this won't be drama-free. Now that I'm an old-fogey I notice the ebb and flow of attention, focus, and emotional energy. So I wonder what all these "let's talk about What We're Doing" conversations will pull your attention away from.

Because it does sound like this will open you up to some drama, serious discussions, etc. The benefits of avoiding drama are that you're available for what you really want when it arrives, and you can recognize it because you're not in the habit of doing things you only kinda want. So I say, don't settle for FWB with someone you're not that attracted to if what you want is hot sex with the possibility of long-term emotional connection. If you're this much on the fence, it's probably not worth it.
posted by salvia at 7:33 AM on April 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


What difference does it make if it's tiring or uninteresting to you? I'm sure this is all very interesting to the two of them.

It makes a difference because OP is labeling her sexual behavior clearly according to what she feels like are social mores ("good" or "bad"). It might be useful to her to see that most of society doesn't care what two consenting adults do--she's not a bad girl, or a good angel, according to whether she has oral sex with someone or not. She should make decisions about her sexual and romantic life not because of what her actions say about her to other people but based on the feelings of the two individuals involved.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:33 AM on April 22, 2010


Simmer down metafilter, you would think giving (or getting) a blowjob was a federal crime. Damn.

Anyway, no, if you're not sure you're sexually attracted to him DON'T DO IT. You will be pressured to boink him for the entire month-ish time even if the attraction wanes or just is not there enough for you to get aroused and into it. Bluh. If he had good skills at making you orgasm or whatever maybe you could salvage it, but it sounds like he doesn't. It's screaming out "CHORE".

Friends with benefits is best when you want to fuck their brains out, no lie, can't keep your hands off of them, but for whatever reason the dating isn't on the table.

This is kinda the opposite, which is called "dating but needing a lot of lube". Which can be ok, but is not what you're looking for.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 8:57 AM on April 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


It's good to see people come out against the rising conservatism that has afflicted Ask Mefi lately...

That said, if you aren't sexually attracted to him, why fuck him?
posted by mixer at 9:18 AM on April 22, 2010


It's been said already, but I'd like to chime in to say that I see nothing wrong with the FWB thing as long as the following conditions are met:
  1. You are crystal clear with him on your intentions and the prospect of this turning into anything more.
  2. You actually have any interest or desire in hooking up with him again over the course of the next month.
  3. You can both accept that the friendship could end after this.*
It does seem strange to me that you'd consider this while not being attracted to him ... and I don't think making yourself do it for any reason other than the fact that it's appealing to you (such as, but not limited to: pity, desire for attention, giving in, etc) is really fair to you OR him. I'd think about exactly why you are considering this at all. A drunken hookup is one thing -- I think everyone has done things they normally wouldn't while drunk -- but will this be fun for you if you're not smashed?

If you think it will be fun, you both understand the situation, and you can both live with the consequences ... well, you're both adults and life is for living. Go nuts & be safe.
posted by tastybrains at 9:20 AM on April 22, 2010


Forgot my * ... basically:

* Friendships fade, end, or slowly die out for many reasons, so I don't think this is necessarily a dealbreaker.

posted by tastybrains at 9:21 AM on April 22, 2010


I can't seem to make up my mind, and I need to figure this out so I can give my friend an answer.

I think this is really the key part. Everyone is talking about the nature of FWB and you're not attraced to him and therefore you shouldn't be boinking him and things can get spectacularly cruel. But you know what, if you can't make up your mind, don't force it. How about letting it stay unmade? You don't owe him an answer. You say you need to figure this out so you can give him an answer. Just be really clear on what "this" is because I don't think it's just should-I-or-should-I-not-be-FWB. And you do not have to "give him an answer" so that he will know whether or not to drop his pants. I think a more honest discussion has to happen, that steps out of the "should-I-or-should-I-not-be-FWB" box.

I.e.:
I've been feeling a weird sort of pressure recently to reign in my sexual behavior and save sex for more emotionally involved relationships. It's not my natural impulse, but somehow I feel like it should be, maybe? It's sort of a good angel/bad angel thing, and hell, I'm young and horny and I doubt I'll have a better opportunity to indulge my bad side... There's also the issue of attraction. I've started to question if my definition of it is sort of narrow.

It more sounds like you're thinking of this FWB "offer" as an opportunity to have an experience where you can have some of your previous behaviours and assumptions tested and learn from it. You have to be careful that this doesn't come at the expense of his feelings. More than anything, you need to be honest with yourself about where you are at, and what YOU want to do. And he needs to hear your honesty. Similarly, if this is what's going on inside your head about this situation, I'm sure he has his own thoughts swirling around (like, "Maybe this is phase one of a relationship!" kind of thing). Or maybe not. You both need to get all of this out, like what exactly he wants and why. Does he really want to boink someone with all this going on in her head about herself and him?

Honestly, my immediate reaction to your post was, "Just do it." You're in your 20s, which is when you can do these things because you didn't know any better. The worst that could happen is that you feel like a piece of crap afterwards, his feelings are hurt, the friendship is irreparable. The best that could come out of that, is that you learned something; the worst is that you didn't, and continue any hurtful behaviour.
posted by foxjacket at 9:49 AM on April 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm not understanding why negative reactions here are being characterized as "conservative"--I don't think anyone has said casual sex is bad, or that friends-with-benefits arrangements are immoral. The objections focus on the fact that this person, whom you care about and value as a friend, has feelings for you while you do not have similar feelings for him. Even if he assures you he's not interested in a relationship, even if he's convinced himself that he's comfortable with a casual arrangement, this could still blow up in a giant fireball of drama if he begins to think of the sex as leading to something more or as evidence that the two of you should be in a relationship. And when you're interested in someone, it's hard not to think of sex or intimacy with that person that way.

Why not simply pursue the type of romantic or sexual relationships you'd like to be in with people you're actually attracted to?
posted by Meg_Murry at 10:20 AM on April 22, 2010 [5 favorites]


Ask yourself this: If you confessed being really into him and asked if he wanted to be in an LTR with you, would he JUMP at the chance? I think you know the answer is yes.
posted by 2oh1 at 10:44 AM on April 22, 2010


Honestly, it sounds like you're just looking for a hookup. And there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. But why not have that experience with someone you're actually attracted to?

Go find someone whose heart you won't break and have a (safe) blast.
posted by Space Kitty at 11:02 AM on April 22, 2010


I'd go for it, so long as you've both made everything clear in advance. You like sex, he likes sex. Obey the campsite rule and the odds are decent it'll be positive for both of you.

And I totally don't get this:

Friends tend not to give other friends who have crushes on them bj's. It's needlessly cruel.

The whole concept of a "cruel bj" eludes me. As long as no teeth are involved.
posted by Jasper Fnorde at 11:09 AM on April 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


Nthing the "be clear" about things. Know he may fall for you and you'll be all "but we said..." and it won't matter because he fell for you anyhow.


And in the anti-wet blanket corner... Yay makeouts + Bonus rounds! This ShadePlant is potted shallowly I guess.
posted by ShadePlant at 12:03 PM on April 22, 2010


In my long-distance past, I've been you -- ashamedly, more than once.

If I had coffee with future me, future me would say, "This is a really, really bad idea, which, down the road, you will feel like an ass about, and likely always regret doing to another human who had the bad luck to be unrequitedly attracted to you. Find someone who is not crushing on you to get laid with."
posted by liquado at 12:32 PM on April 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


I can tell you that if you do it (safely!) then you will be left 10 yrs later with a fond memory and no regrets, but no desire to return to those habits and days.

To do it right you should tell him you do not wish to date, and you wish to know right away if he starts dating someone else or makes a similar arrangement with anyone (if you care). It's perfectly okay to want an exclusive casual arrangement. Also, men usually do not care or even want to know if you are doing the same with others (but do be honest if they want to know).

Now for some warnings - no matter how nice the guy the following are most likely going to happen: when you meet it will always be for sex, or if you meet at a public place then you will later go somewhere for sex. If you want someone to, for example, go out with you just for a movie, or actually remember your birthday, or anything else then you should not make an arrangement with them. You should also not get upset if they throw a birthday celebration for your friend that they are not sleeping with or dating. I like to think that this is because men are simple creatures and you have defined your relationship with them now, not because they are shallow or mean.

Now for the advantages - if you experience relations with more people then you get better at things, learn new tricks, gain experience and also learn a lot about people that is also entirely unrelated to sex. One day you will be really really really good in bed, you will blow peoples minds and stuff, plus be just a bit wiser about people in general, maybe more discerning and better able to handle being dumped and other bad events.

Note that all this is my opinion etc etc.
posted by meepmeow at 1:28 PM on April 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


He apparently doesn't want a serious relationship right now, and it's almost the end of the year and we'll both be away from campus next year so we can have fun for a month and then have a year to defuse any awkwardness. We pretty much agree that our options are just stay friends, or stay friends and also mess around for the next few weeks.

You know what? I say believe the words coming out of his mouth. He likes you, but is willing to settle for a fun month and hey what's wrong with that? And the fact he likes you, doesn't mean he's madly, insanely in love with you. He likes you. He wasn't broken inside the first time this happened, so it appears he's emotionally stable enough to handle this like an adult.

And on top of everything else you won't even be in a position to be in a relationship with him next year even if you really wanted to. Making the point moot. So have a fun month. I would have another conversation with him just to make sure you are both absolutely on the same page and then go for it.
posted by whoaali at 4:19 PM on April 22, 2010


+1 on the wet blankets comment. It might just be me, but MeFi seems extra conservative and judgmental lately


This. Your friend is a guy. Speaking on behalf of my gender, I can guarantee you in the bigger picture that he'd rather get laid for a month by a girl he was really into then have his "feelings" spared by your careful avoidance of impropriety. The whole point in life, or at least love, is to take the chance of getting your feelings hurt for the sake of having compelling experiences. Those hurt feelings turn into cherished memories eventually.

Besides, you might end up surprising yourself and falling for him. That's what he's hoping for, anyway.

As a 40 something, it seems to me the current phase of the sexual revolution (as it affects young adults) is an odd mixture of profligacy and prudishness. Pick a damn side or get off my damn lawn, kids. Just kidding.
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:05 AM on April 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Speaking as the guy in your scenario, don't do this to him. I was in a very, very similar situation last year. Why drag a friend into your desire for sex and attention? You know he wants to give it to you (sex and attention) and for him, it will most definitely be a part of making you finally want him the way he wants you (as more than friends, and even more than FWB). Sure it all sounds fun and easy and clean, but for him after the month of fun, comfortable sex with you, he's going to feel shitty.
posted by rbf1138 at 2:35 PM on May 18, 2010


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