Friends with Benefits
November 24, 2016 5:23 PM   Subscribe

I'm sleeping with my roommate (there are a total of 7 roommates in this house) whom I met two months ago. I initiated it, but I have tried several times to go back to being platonic friends without any luck. We are not in a relationship because of a language barrier, major cultural differences, I am moving away in a month and we don't really have a connection.

I've never been in this situation: I've almost always been in a relationship or had one night stands. I am feeling unsettled about it because I feel it's unethical, and that he might want more. I'm the third person he's ever slept with. I've been avoiding him, but I get lonely and want to cuddle and it turns into something more. He's been going through a rough time and I feel I should support him more but I'm getting busier, and now it feels like I'm using his as a cuddle call (which then escalates on his part), which makes me feel bad. I've brought this up, and he says if he doesn't want to engage, he will inform me. But it still makes me feel gross, since he's been in a vulnerable spot lately and I feel I have to be careful to not develop feelings. What is the ethical thing to do? Please bear in mind I've insisted we need to be platonic several times, but it has had no effect.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
You're moving away in a month. I presume he knows this. Take it for what it is, and is not.
posted by zadcat at 5:25 PM on November 24, 2016 [12 favorites]

For lots of people, cuddling isn't something you do with strictly platonic friends. Have you two talked about where you both stand on that?

It sounds like you're a person who cuddles with platonic friends... If he's a person who doesn't, the fact that you insist on keeping things friendly but also initiate cuddling could be pretty confusing if you haven't talked it through.
posted by snorkmaiden at 5:38 PM on November 24, 2016 [11 favorites]

Please bear in mind I've insisted we need to be platonic several times, but it has had no effect.

If you don't want to sleep with him then don't sleep with him. You have all the choice here. If you get lonely then find someone else.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 5:42 PM on November 24, 2016 [47 favorites]

I've been avoiding him, but I get lonely and want to cuddle and it turns into something more.

Jesus, there is no mystery here. Stop with whatever the fuck a "cuddle call" you know is going to turn into sex is. Everyone gets lonely. Do not make your loneliness this poor man's problem.

The ethical thing to do is, you know, stop touching him.
posted by DarlingBri at 6:02 PM on November 24, 2016 [80 favorites]

Nothing says "platonic" like declining a sexual advance. But in my experience, there is never mutually platonic cuddling, at least not for long.

I feel like this is a story with a hole. It sounds like you are feeling guilty about hooking up with him. Why? You have hangups? Or he said "I love you"? Or you are his landlord? Or he is a Mormon? Or you are making this all up from your anxiety/people pleasing (takes one to know know one, not casting aspersions at all here)?
posted by radicalawyer at 6:03 PM on November 24, 2016 [3 favorites]

The ethical thing to do is to leave him alone. Meaning, no cuddling. Whatever you do, this problem's going to sort itself out in 4 weeks, so meh. I don't think there's going to be a lot of damage done or undone in that time.
posted by Fig at 6:43 PM on November 24, 2016 [5 favorites]

I presume he knows you are moving? Either stop feeling guilty about something otherwise perfectly fine, or if you don't want to have sex with him then stop touching him.

It sounds like this is working for both of you. Can you just enjoy it for what it is?
posted by jbenben at 8:51 PM on November 24, 2016

Cuddling is commonly equated with sex in my experience.

It would be SO AWESOME if everyone was all just like "hey yeah more cuddles, let's cuddle" but in my experience in mainstream society it's typically a signal for sex and sexuality.

You can cuddle with him and be very explicit verbally and physically about defining your limits, but it's probably easier to just find your cuddles elsewhere.

(There's probably social networking forums or groups or whatever the kids are using online these days to can find people who are genuinely interested in and willing to just cuddle, but I think it's kind of a niche.)
posted by aniola at 11:31 PM on November 24, 2016 [1 favorite]

If you want to be platonic then stop cuddling him. Nobody cuddles someone they've known for 2 months and already slept with "platonically". That's bullshit.

And yeah he keeps agreeing to "cuddling" because he wants sex, I expect he gets his platonic cuddles from his mother, sibling or pet.

Do you feel bad because you are taking advantage or because you feel he is? If you don't want to have sex then leave him alone. If you are so lonely you don't mind the sex-for-cuddles deal then go for it, it's only for two more months, regardless. Swapping physical affection for sexual contact is a transaction going on between couples daily all over the planet.
posted by intergalacticvelvet at 4:09 AM on November 25, 2016 [1 favorite]

You've told him where you stand, he seems to understand. Reading your question it seems like you are the one having trouble letting this just be what it is, though maybe there's some additional information we don't have.

However, since this obviously weighs on you, Are there other ways you can address your loneliness and need for touch? Get a massage, take a dance class, start online dating, talk to a therapist, go to cuddle parties (if they are still a thing, I'm not sure).

I hope things get better for you, OP.
posted by bunderful at 5:29 AM on November 25, 2016

I, just like like radicalawyer, am picking up people-pleaser vibes from you: you say you don't want sex, he's the one initiating it, and you're not preventing him. I'm not judging you, but I was in a similar situation with someone that ended up being extremely toxic and abusive. Maybe I'm projecting, but I want to give advice just in case.

You've told him multiple times that you don't want sex, and yet he keeps going there. You're not stopping him, but it's obvious that being around him is just going to create situations you don't want. Either you're okay with having sex, you just struggle with the implications afterwards, or you honestly don't want to be sleeping with him but you feel pressured to give him what he needs.

If you feel you cannot say no to this person please get as far away from him as possible. Despite what others have said about the "implications" (eww) of cuddling, it is not unreasonable for you to want some form of physical intimacy as opposed to other forms.
posted by FirstMateKate at 6:22 AM on November 25, 2016 [1 favorite]

Addition: feel free to memail me privately, in the case my assumptions are correct.
posted by FirstMateKate at 10:19 AM on November 25, 2016

« Older How to delete old Flickr and Yahoo accounts after...   |   After the Accident Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.