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September 13, 2018 11:06 AM   Subscribe

Asking for a friend - script needed for a delicate conversation.

Hi everyone - I'd like to reiterate, I'm asking this for a friend - this question does not in any way pertain to the jerk guy from my previous question. (So please don't worry!)

Friend - let's call her Sally - has been in a very long time FWB situation. Like, I think it's been going on for nearly ten years or something crazy like that. Neither she nor the FWB guy - let's call him Fred - have ever wanted to pursue a more serious relationship with each other. That said, ten years is a long time, and they have grown to be legitimately close friends in this time. Both have dated other people, but they had a don't ask don't tell policy with each other about who else they may be dating as one of the "ground rules" as it were for the FWB situation.

Sally recently met someone, and the relationship seems to be getting serious and they want to see each other exclusively. This is the first time Sally or Fred has gotten to this level of seriousness with another person. Sally needs to tell Fred that she can't do the FWB thing anymore, but she is having trouble figuring out how to do so kindly and not weirdly. There is no suspicion that Fred will react badly or is secretly in love with Sally - really the problem is that the friendship that grew out of this insanely long FWB situation is close enough that she doesn't want to have this conversation with Fred flippantly. She's kinda feeling like this is going to be a breakup, but not really.

This is WAY out of my depth - I have no clue how to advise her on this, so we are here. Has anyone had to do something like this before? If you were Fred in this scenario, how would you want to receive this news? She feels like an in-person conversation would take this to a weird break-up-y place, but a text would be staggeringly callous.

posted by thereemix to Human Relations (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I have a friend (also, really a friend, not me) who had a similar situation, although less longdrawnout -- a warm and friendly FWB thing with an old friend of hers, that had only transitioned to being with benefits for a year or two. And then she met a new serious relationship, which meant calling off the FWB thing. She wrote an affectionate letter informing the FWB that it had been great but was over in light of the other thing (maybe an email rather than paper, but, you know, paragraphs of prose. Not a text) and that seemed emotionally fine.

Hers was maybe eased by the fact that she probably would have been open to a serious thing with the FWB at some point, he was the one who had kept it distant. But it sounds as if your friend's situation is also one where the FWB is genuinely fine with the casual nature of the relationship.
posted by LizardBreath at 11:12 AM on September 13, 2018 [1 favorite]

My assumption here is that she just wants to be a F, as opposed to a FWB, and that she wants to KEEP the friendship.
If she wants to keep Fred as a friend, she really should treat him as a friend, and do it in person, with kindness, gentleness and compassion.
She really can't control how he's going to react, but she can control how she breaks the news.
This has been going on for nearly 10 years, so there's probably a great deal of comfort between them, and it really shouldn't be that difficult.
Let the conversation happen naturally. He's probably going to ask "So - what have you been up to?" and there you go, off to the races.
posted by Major Matt Mason Dixon at 11:15 AM on September 13, 2018 [6 favorites]

I agree with Major Matt Mason Dixon. To set this up to keep the friendship, I would do it in person, and with as much fondness and appreciation as possible.

"Hey, FWB, my relationship with NewGuy has reached a point that we're going to be exclusive with each other. I'm really hoping we'll be able to keep the friendship that's grown up out of it, and I understand if it takes a little while for things to normalize."
posted by spindrifter at 11:36 AM on September 13, 2018 [1 favorite]

"FWB, you know I love you and we've been friends a long time, but I've met someone, and I have to put the Benefits part of our friendship to rest. I seriously hope we can still be friends--I love our time together. But I totally understand if this is sort of breaking our contract with each other and I understand and care for you, whatever you want to do here."
posted by A Terrible Llama at 2:01 PM on September 13, 2018 [14 favorites]

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