The Emotional Version of Friends With Benefits

A lot of us out there would never have a “friends with benefits” arrangement with someone, but many of us engage in something of a FWB in our lifetime. I realized that this afternoon when I was reading stuff.

Anybody ever had the experience of meeting someone you were interested in romantically and that person told you he/she was not looking for a relationship or wasn’t ready for a relationship…and then you and this person proceeded to essentially act as if you were in a relationship? Maybe you were the person who was saying, “Nope, not ready for a relationship right now”?

I had this happen. Of course, I was the one who was told that a relationship couldn’t happen…because, you know, it’s not my lot in life to be the heart breaker…only to be the heartbroken. At the time, I seriously thought, “Oh, it’s cool. We can just have a little fun flirting with each other and not take it any further.” I didn’t want a relationship, either. I really didn’t.

Does this sound like anything to you? Perhaps the kind of naive thinking that comes from people in FWB arrangements?

We had a purely non-physical relationship with each other, and we became like best friends. But we also became like everything else that a couple becomes, aside from the physical. And frankly, I wish we had been physical. It doesn’t make as much sense to spend months and months hurt, confused and everything else without it. Sometimes people have this kind of relationship and it includes the physical, which makes it even more like FWBs without explicitly calling it that.

The bottom line is always that these things aren’t romantic relationships. Someone always gets confused about that. The funny thing is during my emotional FWB thing, I told her directly it’s a romantic relationship and she needs to admit it but she never would. Now she’s the one who seems to want to think of it more along those lines in retrospect and I’m the one who won’t. I just haven’t known what to call it until today. Now I know–we were emotional FWBs. We got everything people in a romantic relationship get emotionally without the commitment. She was never my girlfriend, and I was never hers. Originally, that was fine.

But probably like a lot of people after a FWB thing doesn’t work or like people who come out of emotional FWB things without what they ultimately wanted, I now understand that when someone says “I don’t want a relationship” it’s time to just stop, turn around and walk away. It’s not time to flirt, act like you’re in a relationship or have sex with that person.

Couldn’t really tell you what ended up happening, because I don’t really know. That makes it a lot harder to move on, because there are just so many unanswered questions and so many things that I don’t understand and never will. When it’s like that, it’s harder to stop thinking about it and trying to find answers. The “no relationship” thing was presented as something that made a lot of sense…just a relatively good reason, not something meant to bullshit or reject me–which is how it’s usually meant. And then one of the last times we had a long conversation, she said that she didn’t think she’d actually had romantic feelings for me. Now, this is not what I had been told while we were acting like we were in a romantic relationship–quite the opposite–but, still, there was no romantic relationship, no commitment and no wanting to call it any of that.

Again, reminding you of anything?

For months, I didn’t believe what she’d said because it didn’t match how our relationship had been. She also very much wants to be “different” from everyone else. Stuff that applies to other people doesn’t apply to her, according to her. So, I couldn’t judge her or us by normal standards, which would further keep me without any real answers because nothing she actually told me actually made sense to me. If I ever tried to say, “Hey, normally when people do stuff you do, it means this…” she’d get offended or something…just amazed that I couldn’t see where she was coming from or trust her.

If you’ve ever looked at relationship advice and such, you have noticed that it’s pretty black and white. Most of it doesn’t allow for wiggle room or exceptions. I used to see something wrong with this, but, more and more, I’m starting to buy it. If I were going to buy it in application to my situation, I’d be buying stuff like, “When she said she didn’t want a relationship, that meant she just didn’t want one with you.” And when I think of it like that, especially in conjunction with the kind of crap she told me in that same conversation I mentioned–the one in which she told me she hadn’t actually had romantic feelings for me–shit makes sense. One of the last things I’d communicated to her was that if she wanted to be in my life, she would be. That’s another black-and-white relationship advice kind of statement. And, of course, she was like, “You don’t really know me if you think that.” But I think she, in not so many words, told me that during that conversation. If she wanted to be with me, she would have been. And if she wanted to remain in my life or keep me in hers or continue to be a friend to me, that would have happened, as well.

I wrote maybe a few weeks ago that women act as if they can’t stand for someone to have an issue with them or to think that someone might. I’ve also been reading about how some dumpers will check up on the dumpee and want to know how the dumpee is doing to ease his/her guilty conscience or to not feel so much like the bad guy. To be clear, I can’t at all speak for my eFWB or to what her intentions are. But if I were going to look at all this said-concern for me in a more black-and-white way, the concern is really more about her than about me.

Like I said, I’ll never know for sure. I do know this is far from just being her fault. In my own defense, I didn’t really know what would happen if I didn’t stop everything with “I don’t want a relationship.” The problem with relationships–at least for me–is the situations are always different, meaning there probably won’t be an opportunity for me to use what I learned from the eFWB situation, i.e. no one else is going to tell me “I’m not ready for a relationship.”

But, hey–maybe now you’ll know what to do when you hear this crap from someone.

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3 thoughts on “The Emotional Version of Friends With Benefits

  1. scarletwilde says:

    It’s SO much harder to have an emotional FWB relationship than just a puerely physical FB (see my post). I’m trying to wean myself off an emotional friendship right now and I use the word wean when maybe I should be saying “suffering hideous eepest dwithdrawal symptoms”, because the intensity of unrequited love is just like a drug, physically and mentally.

    Once you are hung up in an emotional relationship, it feels impossible to even consider meeting someone else. I’ve fallen for an old colleague and we have never even discussed the possibility of something more – in a way it would be better if he would just say “I dont want to have a relationship” so I can give up my fantasising and yearning and close the whole thing down. Instead, we meet for lunches, go to exhibitons together and talk about life, our eepest fears and other intimate subjects without ever talking about our mutual attraction to eachother.

    Perhaps I should say something and find out one way or the other….

    Thanks for a great post. x

    • samotako1 says:

      There is no such thing as “friends with benefits”…one is always looking for more and settling for less…even if they can’t admit it to themselves.

  2. CNeon says:

    This happened to me, she wouldn’t admit herself my version of events; that I have not have a clear memory of, but it very much felt like we were moving towards that direction.
    This is until she figured out I was romantically interested in her. I do not know, I will never truly know what was the point of spending time with her, she won’t admit that she was using me emotionally, while her bf was busy and different to me emotionally.

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