I guess good things make me anxious, too!
November 30, 2007 6:53 AM   Subscribe

How can I keep my head on straight as a first time "friend with benefits"? Is this just not for me? Of course there is a LONG story after the jump. Wee, come with me!

I am a successful 30 year old woman, who went through some seriously big changes this year. I have lost a huge amount of weight (going from "Obese" to "Normal" on the BMI scale), moved across the country, changed jobs, and ended a 10 year relationship.

I ended my relationship for myriad reasons -- it was my decision, unfortunately it was not a mutual one, and I have a lot of residual guilt about this. I had a serious wandering eye, was getting crushes on other men left and right, and in general was pining for my independence and autonomy.

One of my goals upon ending that relationship was to play the field and date a bit, have fun, and find a "friends with benefits" sort of situation. Ideally I wanted to find someone whom I liked, but who wasn't going to tie me down or become the center of my universe, but who would be affectionate, kind and attentive, and who I would be intensely sexually attracted to.

Welp, I found it. Exactly what I was looking for. For the past two months I've been, well, dating? Sleeping with? I dunno what you'd call it. Hanging out with and sleeping with a guy who literally has provided everything I could have hoped for. He's very affectionate and attentive, the sex is outstanding, and moreover, he's been a great friend. He cheerleads me, gives me pep talks, and generally seems to care very much about my well being and wants to spend time with me and make me happy. This has been wonderful for me, because I lost my real support circle when I moved, my job is incredibly high pressure and stressful, and I have some emotional issues that I'm working through based on all of the changes I made this year.

We see eachother about twice a week, it's been this way since we met. He has almost exclusively female friends, all of whom seem to have had this very same sort of setup with him in the past, and he's been nothing but straightforward with me that this is just what he does - he makes friends with women, hooks up with them, and they either remain close friends or eventually they get attached and end it in pain or frustration because they want more and he won't give it to them.

I know in my heart that he is very much "mr. right now" -- he wouldn't work out long term for me, even if he WAS willing to take the plunge and have a relationship with someone.

The problem is that I am afraid of getting attached. For the first month and a half or so, I wasn't too worried about it, I was actually more concerned about his getting attached to me, but our friendship has deepened and I began to form a real connection to him. This is based on the very helpful and sincere emotional support he's given me, as well as the general affection - not just sex, but whole days of cuddling and lazing about, talking about nothing in general.

I've found myself getting a little bit weird. Wanting to play games, not call him and see how long it takes him to notice, not make plans to see what he does, and it's stupid. He talks about his other female friends, new ones he's making, and I get jealous, even though I am doing the same, making new male friends, etc. I'm not sleeping with anybody else right now, but there have been a few random hookups here and there and I have my options.

Still, I feel that were I to be honest, when I spend time with other friends or am dating another guy, I would just rather be with him. I did sleep with one other person, someone I'd slept with before, and I really just wanted it to be him. This is very troubling to me.

As selfish as this sounds, knowing that I can't "win him over" and make him want a relationship with me, even though I know I am in no place to be in a committed relationship right now, and that there are things about him that are not what I want in a long term partner, makes me a little crazy. It threatens to damage my new, hard-won self confidence and self-esteem and while most of the time I get almost everything I need out of this situation, I have some nights when I am alone, haven't heard from him, don't allow myself to call him, and feel desperately alone, unloved and unlovable. Those are MY issues that I need to work through, I'm certain.

Am I falling for him and just kidding myself? Can you really fall for someone in two months? Should I stop sleeping with him and just maintain the friendship, or will even that just make me crazy?

FWIW, of course we're very careful, I've had regular STD tests and all that good stuff, and we have talked very plainly and honestly about all of this. I'm also in therapy.

I wanted this situation, very badly. Now that I have it, I don't want to fuck it up. Does anybody here have any experience with this kind of thing? Are the moments of confusion and worry and jealousy normal, or is it an indication that I just can't handle this type of "relationship"? Sometimes I feel like I'm being taken for a ride (I think that's mainstream culture talking), and other times I feel like I wanted this, I'm in the drivers seat, I hit the jackpot, and should just keep my mouth shut and stop worrying.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (24 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
I know in my heart that he is very much "mr. right now" -- he wouldn't work out long term for me, even if he WAS willing to take the plunge and have a relationship with someone.

Don't forget this fact.

Since he was straightforward with you about what is going on, you knew exactly what you were getting into: which isn't bad. Just stick with it until you're tired of it, but don't tear yourself up emotionally. You know this guy isn't long term. That's no big deal. Have some fun, get what you want out of it, then settle into friendship or cut him loose. Don't build him up any further and don't have any illusions about what is between you, and you should do alright.
posted by dead_ at 6:58 AM on November 30, 2007


Anon: in my experience the only way you can avoid getting overly attached to Mr. Right Now is to have an additional spare Mr. Also Fun. Having two friends with benefits means you don't get overly dependent on either one of them. In fact, it causes the opposite: you will specifically want to spend time away from Mr. Right Now so that you can see Mr. Also Fun, and vice versa.

Yes, this can work. As someone who gets very attached very quickly, I've seen it work and made it work. But, it is work, and takes emotional energy and commitment in its own way.

Good luck to you!
posted by alms at 7:05 AM on November 30, 2007 [2 favorites]


The major downside to the FWB situation is that (as alms said) that it takes a lot of work. Possibly more work in some cases than a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship. You have to consciously work to keep the firm boundaries of the agreement in tact; and fighting against that urge to depend more and more on someone can be really taxing.

Although for what it's worth it does just kinda sound like you are casually dating this guy. Not that there is anything wrong with either definition, so feel free to call this relationship whatever you like. It is yours after all.

As long as you can honestly tell yourself you having fun everyday, you’re good. If not, maybe do something else, as you say you are in the driver's seat.
posted by French Fry at 7:15 AM on November 30, 2007


You wanted this, but you also wanted to play the field. I say get back on the field and play ball. You'll meet another Mr Right Now, or even Mr Right, or just Mr Temporary Being Used For My Own Selfish Reasons, and you'll stop worrying about the one you have right now.
posted by poppo at 7:16 AM on November 30, 2007


I have had many "friends with benefits" kinda flings. Looking back, I was always fooling myself into thinking that I didn't need more. The above recommendation, about searching for another man, is a good idea. But it seems to me that if you feel you're getting attached, you are. And yes, this is always the killer. In my experience, it's better to have less frequent sex with more men (like two or three total) than to be a half-girlfriend with one man with no potential.

There's an emptiness to a FWB situation that really cannot be overcome on a long-term basis. I mean, for a month or two--it can work. But more than that, and you're just having an affair where someone's hurting themselves. Sounds like that person is already you.
posted by RedEmma at 7:24 AM on November 30, 2007 [5 favorites]


I'm also a little skeptical of this guy. He told you "up front" that this is what he does, "he makes friends with women, hooks up with them, and they either remain close friends or eventually they get attached and end it in pain or frustration because they want more and he won't give it to them."

And he is confused about this right? He acts like it's not his fault that some women read him wrong, DESPITE what he says, and become attached and it ends in pain and frustration, right?

Hurumph.

Look, he's acting like a boyfriend. He's acting intimate. As you say, there's the "very helpful and sincere emotional support he's given me, as well as the general affection - not just sex, but whole days of cuddling and lazing about, talking about nothing in general."

Where I come from, this is not the behavior of a Friend With Benefits, Anonymous. It's the behavior of an intimate partner. Friends with Benefits have a date, have sex, and go home. No lazing, no deep emotional support.

So of course you're getting attached; you're getting sex and intimacy from this guy. So either stop seeing him altogether (which is what I recommend, because a guy who has almost exclusively female friends who have previously been fuckbuddies, but no actual real relationship seems...a tad emotionally fucked-up and stunted to me) or curtail your activities with him to flirting and fucking.

Also, congratulations on making these huge changes in your life. You sound amazing; a real catch.
posted by minervous at 7:43 AM on November 30, 2007 [7 favorites]


Personally, I'm not sure a person who started a 10 year relationship at the age of 20 knows how to just be FWB. Your 20s (and in some cases late teens and early 30s) are meant to explore your own personal boundaries and delve into the kinds of trysts that you're talking about now. But you spent all that time committed, to one person, loving and sharing and etc. etc. Your "independence" was never truly formed. (My opinion, I don't know you.)

So I agree with everyone who's saying that if you want to really do this, be independent and be the kind of person that does the FWB thing with no strings attached, find more guys and go for it. The longer you spend with one guy, the more that one guy will start to remind you of the 10 year relationship you once had. Go out and explore. If this is truly, truly what you want, then it should be easy to enjoy casual sex the way you describe.

As an aside, I think that people believe that FWB is a good idea, but most don't have the independent gumption to pull it off successfully. Ultimately they lead to heartache, because invariably someone falls a little too much for the other. I can't touch that type of relationship with a ten-foot pole, because I like people too much (when I get to know them), and because, well, I'm a sexy guy that women can't resist. :-)

And RedEmma says it much better than me.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 7:43 AM on November 30, 2007


Sex creates attatchment, as that is what it was originally designed to do.

Let's just say I may be a Christian, but I am a Christian with a past, so I've had a little experience with this...at some point somebody is going to get hurt. Can't be helped.

I think you need to sit down with yourself and be honest about what you really, really need. I think in the long run, this man can't give you that.
posted by konolia at 7:46 AM on November 30, 2007


and while most of the time I get almost everything I need out of this situation, I have some nights when I am alone, haven't heard from him, don't allow myself to call him, and feel desperately alone, unloved and unlovable. Those are MY issues that I need to work through, I'm certain.

They certainly are, but recognizing those facts doesn't mean you're capable of being in this thing as it is and getting your act together.

I've got nothing against the FWB system but when you start reacting the way you describe, with neediness and jealousy, it's stopped working for you. Continuing on with this path is sort of like continuing to eat food you're allergic to - you can state, with honesty, that it's nothing to do with the quality or safety of the food. But so what?

Were I you, I'd cut off the majority of this relationship now before you cause yourself more pain and harm your ability to have other relationships that would be more satisfying for you. I think you'll have a better chance of keeping this fellow as a friend if you do this before a big meltdown, too.
posted by phearlez at 7:56 AM on November 30, 2007


You have a very long pattern of being intimate with the person you're fucking, because you've been doing it for the last 10 years. You probably got a lot of your support and social interaction from that person. For an entire decade. Not only that, but when you moved you lost your support circle.

That means you can very easily fall back into that pattern of relying on one person for emotional intimacy and sex, even more so without a good support system to fall back on.

In fact, looking for a FWB who is affectionate and attentive was a mistake. Not a horrible mistake, and in fact, I commend you for being kind enough with yourself to realize that you need support and love.

However, at this point in your life, you need to get your affection and attention from somewhere BESIDES a romantic/sexual relationship. As you know, they can be incredibly intimate, but they can also be unpredictable, depressing and hard on the ol' self-esteem. That's why people are always running to their friends to complain about their lovers!

So, my advice is to try to focus on this guy a little less, and start focusing a little more on making some good platonic friends and rebuilding a good support circle. I want you to have someone to call when you feel lonely and depressed and you're not calling this guy. I want you to be a good friend to someone else who can be a good friend to you, with no sex involved.

You're a neat person, and you deserve to have people who are affectionate and kind and who can be there for you when you need them.

And other, different people who will sex you up crazy.

Good luck.
posted by sondrialiac at 8:12 AM on November 30, 2007 [3 favorites]


Still, I feel that were I to be honest, when I spend time with other friends or am dating another guy, I would just rather be with him.

Yeah. I just went through a very similar situation. Not the same lead-up, but the same feeling of wanting to be in a FWB relationship (never having had one), then feeling this exact way about the guy.

I let it go on for nine months, with a little bit of on again, off again. I finally broke it off a couple months ago. It hurt just as much as (and in some ways more than) breakups of my previous two serious, multi-year relationships. It's worse because I am left with absolutely nothing from those nine months--not the feeling "oh we made a go of it, but it didn't work out"; not someone I feel I can be friends with in the future (as with my other exes); just the feeling that I let myself be used. I told myself it was ok because he was totally HONEST with me the whole time. So he was really a good guy, right?

If you were in a situation where a friend developed feelings for you while you were sleeping together, but you didn't care for him, would you let it continue? I wouldn't. I wouldn't have even before I had this experience, because--well, it's just not something I think right-headed people should do. I'd feel hideously guilty about it.

I know that this guy and I have very different perspectives on emotions, relationships, and their respective values, which sounds similar to your guy and his pattern. I don't bear him ill will, because he did feel that he was being honest, and I was conscious all along that I was *making a choice.* But knowing what I know now, I wouldn't make the same choice.

FWIW, I think FWB things can ONLY work if you are TOTALLY sure that neither of you has or will have feelings for each other (i.e., you don't really enjoy spending time together except for the sex).
posted by CiaoMela at 9:20 AM on November 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


He has almost exclusively female friends, all of whom seem to have had this very same sort of setup with him in the past, and he's been nothing but straightforward with me that this is just what he does - he makes friends with women, hooks up with them, and they either remain close friends or eventually they get attached and end it in pain or frustration because they want more and he won't give it to them.


This isn't "friends with benefits," this is a guy who might be pretty nice just dating multiple people and deciding he didn't want to commit to any of them long-term. These are relationships, just ones that never progress beyond a point he's comfortable with. That's not necessarily bad, but it probably isn't what you're actually looking for.
posted by mikeh at 9:37 AM on November 30, 2007


FWB can get comfortable, and then it can get too close. That happened to me once, and I was really boneheaded about it. As they say, Be Ye Not So Stupid. If you feel your boundaries slipping, take some time off to set them back up.

FWB guys should be utterly disposable. I know it's harsh, but it's true. This is not a guy you take home to your mom. This is a guy that is giving you something you want/need in return for somethng he wants/needs. He may be a nice guy, he may be a guy you'd be friends with, but he is not the kind of guy you marry. Or shack up with long term, or have as a partner, or anything else. You have sex, you smoke some cigarettes, drink some wine, eat some nice food.

This kind of thing can be awesome - it allowed me to survive a really stressful time of my life without having to deal with emotional entaglements - but I did eventually feel that he insulted our friendship. He probably didn't, in hindsight, but that's the way I felt then. If you're starting to feel this way now, then backing off before you blow it is a good idea. You can always come back for more if you don't mess it up now; keep that in mind.
posted by Medieval Maven at 9:39 AM on November 30, 2007


I sort of expect this will get me yelled at by the more-progressive-than-thou AskMe hordes, but:

I don't think the majority of women are really wired to be able to have a long-term sexual relationship with someone they like and not develop intense feelings for that person. I think thinking otherwise is this pleasant Carrie Bradshaw fantasy. I know, I know, you and your nine friends are the exception. But I don't think it turns out very well in the majority of cases.

So don't feel guilty, is all I'm saying. Maybe you're just not built to have an emotionally-charged relationship with someone you're not supposed to fall in love with. I don't see anything wrong with that.
posted by thehmsbeagle at 10:05 AM on November 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


Wow, so this happens a lot eh?

I've found Byron Katie's self help books, in this case, especially, "I Need Your Love, Is That True?" very helpful, for helping me enjoy the present, and the love in my life (from *all* sources) and not make myself crazy worrying about things that don't need to be worried about or can't be fixed anyway.

Anyway, this is the kind of 'advice' where I'm talking at me as much as at you:

Ultimately I think this comes down to whether you're getting enough pleasure to make it worth the pain (while, of course, ditching as much of the extra pain as possible:
-pain from not having a friends group/community - go find one! don't wait! NO partner will ever be a substitute for that

-pain from your own insecurities - his emotional and sexual needs/desires don't say anything about your beauty/loveableness/desireability, etc

-pain from anxiety about the future - trying not to worry about future pain, but instead trusting yourself that you'll deal with it and get out when you need to.

-pain from anxiety and trying to manipulate him and the relationship. Take the fact that you know he's Mr. Right now and try to use it to embolden yourself to be straightforward with him, and not get caught up in the anxiety of games. What's the worse that can happen? He can leave you. Well you knew you were going to lose him anyway and were thinking about ditching him yourself. (ok, this part is the HARDEST for me. But it seems like a good idea...)

And that's it - when you feel you need to get out, get out. Even if you can will yourself to dump him before because a bunch of people tell you it's a good idea, if it's not coming from really inside you, I don't think it will work. It won't work, it won't stick, or at least, you won't have grown in your own confidence and abilities. Enjoy it as much as possible while most of you still wants it, leave when you stop wanting it, and trust yourself to handle the pain and the loss THEN (instead of angsting about it now), because you will.

Also, I don't think you need to think about this as relating to your ability to deal with various relationships. You don't take the 'failure' of your last relationship as a sign that you can't handle conventional relationships, so why would this be a sign of anything?

Whenever this ends, it will be a sign that the two of you have reached the end of the ability of that kind of relationship between the two of you to help you thrive. And yeah, you may not ever get into that kind of thing again, for lots of reasons, including that you learned or took what you needed from this one, but that doesn't mean you couldn't handle this one or that it was a mistake.

But yeah, you need a community.

Good luck!!
posted by Salamandrous at 10:35 AM on November 30, 2007 [2 favorites]


I agree with others who say this sounds like it's crossing some FWB boundaries, but then again I also firmly believe that relationships are whatever you make of them, regardless of what label they carry. This is especially true when things start out as one thing and morph over time into another beast entirely [Looks like a duck, walks like a duck...] So, look at the facts here: you are seeing someone with whom you are emotionally involved, having sex, and depending on, which is causing you to take it more seriously, or invest in it more than you WANT to. You're worried about the outcome. This is causing a lot of conflict for you.

A lot of advice for people who want to pull back/not get involved/get over something goes along the lines of "get involved with other things/potential romantic partners/activities/friends." This is awesome advice, and may work for you -- I think it is overall a good strategy. HOWEVER, from personal experience, it is by no means a quick fix, especially in cases where you are already in too deep to easily distract yourself. When my brain is hung up on something, no amount of "Hey, shiny! Look at this fun thing! Aren't these friends of yours awesome?" will keep me from drifting back to thoughts on the unwanted fixation. YMMV.

In sum: try distracting yourself. If you can't do it, maybe you really need to end things before you get further involved and it's even more painful to pull the plug since you can't have what you want.
posted by dorothy humbird at 11:45 AM on November 30, 2007


I am a successful 30 year old woman, who went through some seriously big changes this year. I have lost a huge amount of weight (going from "Obese" to "Normal" on the BMI scale), moved across the country, changed jobs, and ended a 10 year relationship.

Those are really big changes. If I were you, I don't think I would be ready for another big change just yet. I would want to step back a bit, get to know my new self, and worry about boys later. You've said that you don't want someone else to become the centre of your world or tie you down, but as you're finding, it's hard not to fixate on someone "affectionate, kind and attentive, and who [you] would be intensely sexually attracted to."

Vibrators, on the other hand, cause less drama. :)
posted by heatherann at 11:47 AM on November 30, 2007


Are the moments of confusion and worry and jealousy normal, or is it an indication that I just can't handle this type of "relationship"?

I think maybe the confusion/worry/jealousy you're experiencing may be indications that you can't handle this type of relationship right now.

It sounds like this is the first thing you started up right after a 10 year committed relationship. It also sounds like you haven't had experience with a lot of different dating styles since the entirety of your 20s was committed to one person. So, my impression is that you might be unaccustomed to not investing a great deal of emotion and expectation in one person. You may need to get out there and have some casual dating experiences to break your LTR habits that you're bringing to this ostensible friends-with-benefits relationship.

On the other hand, noting what heatherann just pointed out, there is even more going on this year for you... maybe you're looking for stability/support from your FWB as you figure out what this new body, job, and location mean for you. [disclaimer: clearly just hypothesizing here!] But, if this is the case, it seems like you are looking for the stability and support from his end (relying on him for emotional support and pep talks, etc.) while not wanting to be "tied down" -- and yet your emotions are tying you down against your reason. In short, you want something out of this relationship that you can't get, both because it's unfair (unequal) and because it's very difficult to rule your emotions out.

.... overall, it looks to me like this is a bad situation to be in. If you're looking for support, you can find it elsewhere: in a social group, in family, in old friends. But don't try to get what you need from this guy while attempting to train your responding emotions out of it. Difficult, stressful, and crazy-making in the end!
posted by dorothy humbird at 12:05 PM on November 30, 2007


I had a roommate in college who had a boyfriend she liked alot with whom she spent, say, four nights a week. They went to "functions" together, went to the movies, ate out, hung around the house on Sunday morning having coffee. They were a couple. She introduced him as her boyfriend.

She also slept with two other guys on the side that she had sex with perhaps twice a month each. That's it - one or the other would come over late on a Friday night or something, they'd disappear into her bedroom, and the guy would leave either in the middle of the night or very early the next morning. I never once heard her question either her affection for her boyfriend or the nature of her relationship with her fuck buddies. It was all very clear for her, she enjoyed this arrangement, and it all worked. For her. It was not confusing for her in the least.

Some people are wired that way. I'm not one of them but she was. It would never have occurred to her that she couldn't have it all ways, or that it was incumbent upon her to love any of the three guys to justify her involvement with any of them, or that her twenties weren't the time for her to do whatever the heck she wanted. Sex was a pleasurable, necessary thing in her life and she had alot of it. It just so happened that her boyfriend was intellectually stimulating and fun for her in a way that the other two were not, so she invested in that relationship on a different, more serious level. She had sculpted what was, for her, the ideal situation. I, on the other hand, couldn't have a cup of coffee with a guy without obsessing for a week over him.

Honestly, you don't sound to me like you're the sort of person who can keep things neatly compartmentalized like my old roommate. You just got out of a ten year relationship. That's what you know, whether you're conscious of it or not. Your experience is sex = love, commitment, exclusivity. Personally, I don't believe it has to mean those things, but I've never been able to comfortably not conflate sex with those things. It's too personal for me and no amount of therapy has changed that. I'm wired to want an exclusive mate though I've tried unsuccessfully in the past to behave in opposition to that. I had some good sex, true, but after a while it just made me lonelier than when I was truly single. Maybe the more distance you get from your old relationship the more casual your approach to dating will become. But right now it sounds to me like you are falling for this guy, you are going to get hurt, and you won't be able to hold him responsible. He's told you exactly who he is and what he does. Believe him.

I would also suggest you rent the film "Shampoo". This guy is not original.
posted by TryTheTilapia at 12:13 PM on November 30, 2007


FWB is tough. Some people despite all their protestations can't handle it. You may be one of them. If you're becoming emotionally attached to this guy, when it's clear he wants nothing to do with an actual relationship (except for I guess the relationshippy stuff you do), then you need to split it off with him as surely as if you caught him fucking your dog and your dog's sister. Tell him that it was fun, but it's over, and move on before your infatuation gets the better of you.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 4:54 PM on November 30, 2007


A FWB is not the same thing as a regular friend. You need to make other friends, and probably a new FWB. You know how sometimes you have a friend that you only share one type of activity with, like kayaking or knitting or work, and that's really your only touchpoint as friends? The FWB is probably best put in that category.
posted by yohko at 7:12 PM on November 30, 2007


You wanted this, but you can always change your mind. It sounds to me like you're starting to see the downside of being really into someone and yet not having any security in the situation. Feeling jealous and anxious is no fun. It's fair to say "this is getting too emotionally complicated for me, I don't think I want it anymore."

Whatever you do, do what works for your new narrative of self-confidence. Right now it reads, "I realized what I had to do about Mr. 10 Years, and about my location, and then I did it! And then I wanted a FWB situation, and I got it! And then, it started to make me feel bad..." and where I want to hear you say "so I quit it!" I hear you saying, "but I thought, 'well, maybe I just have personal issues,' and then it was starting to erode my self esteem..." Maybe I'm wrong, but that's my take, that you are trying to override or second guess or suppress the parts of you that are saying "I'm starting not to like this."

Anyway, the quintessential book about all this stuff is The Ethical Slut, and there are a bunch more resources on polyamory, etc, if you want to continue trying to make this work. They talk about how others have dealt with anxiety, jealousy, etc.
posted by salvia at 8:45 PM on November 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


So, on reflection, you probably knew everything I just said except the last paragraph.

Also, here's one data point for you -- after my friend ended her marriage, she went through wanting to have many partners for about a year. Lots of complicated relationships, emotional processing, awkwardness, but good in helping her figure out how to sleep with people but stay her own separate person. Then after a year of what she jokingly called "being a ho," she decided to go into "ho-bernation," and really see what it was like to be single, not define herself around any sexual relationships and not have all that complication, emotional work, just focus on what she wanted to get done in life. Not sure how this relates, just another person's story.
posted by salvia at 9:14 PM on November 30, 2007


I don't know exactly what to say, except that I could have written large parts of this myself. I agree with some that you should call this what it is - a relationship - even if it isn't ever going to move beyond the current level of commitment. In my case, I fell for a man who acknowledges how important I am to him, but admits that he is not willing to ever let himself fall in romantic love again. Officially we are just friends and this is a FWB, but emotionally for me it's become so much more.

Ultimately I have decided that if I want to keep his friendship, which I value tremendously, I need to take a break from the physical side of things and take a step back. And I've been surprised at how difficult that is - I've had easier breakups. But while I have done the FWB thing before successfully, it seems that I can't with this guy. Honestly, (and as awful as I'm sure this sounds to some) it helped that a few weeks before making the break I found another FWB to help take the edge off. He knew about the first guy and is okay with being guy #2, and while I'm attracted to him, I know that we can keep this one as a true FWB.

I don't know if this helps or not, but I felt like I had to say something. However you handle this, it's not going to be easy.
posted by scrute at 6:18 AM on December 1, 2007


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