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When Friends With Benefits Backfires

Dear Rob,
I am getting quite annoyed with myself and came across this site and hoped you may be able to offer some advice.

About four years ago I met a man the same age as me (23 at the time) and we really got on, however we were never more than friends with benefits. I was really happy with that as I could keep that part of my life separate from the other more boring parts of my life.

He then disappeared and I hadn’t heard from him for almost three years and really had moved on and hadn’t given him much thought, I guess I just assumed he had met someone he was serious about.

About four months ago he got back in touch and things have returned to the way things were before only now he is meeting my friends and family. Before he only came to see me on an evening now he calls when I have people there too.

My son has met him and although he thinks of him as just mom’s friend he is becoming close to him.

Now here’s the problem:
The more I see of him and the more my friends and family accept him the more I am starting to feel for him. That’s why I am annoyed with myself it was never supposed to go this way.

I haven’t told him this and I won’t even if that’s what you advise me to do as I don’t want to risk the friendship. I know he cares about me and wouldn’t want to hurt me but I just don’t think he would want anything more serious as I am an overweight single mum and he is attractive and can probably have any stick thin thing he wants. I don’t know what advice you could give me but needed to say it all somewhere without risking people thinking I am weak or judging me, I didn’t want to end up feeling like this and originally I thought the set up was great. Anyway what do you think.
Anon

Hi Anon,
You’ve fallen into several traps here:

You’ve tried to separate sex from your feelings, which never works out;

You’ve mixed “Friends with Benefits” sex with family and now not only will you get hurt but your son as well;

You don’t think much of yourself, seriously, you’re self-conscious and not happy with the person you are;

And reality has entered the relationship and you know his interest in you is only sex just as it was for you. Or you’re reading this development all wrong and are to scared to admit to yourself about using him and hoping for more. You can’t give yourself the forgiveness you really need to expand on this possible relationship as it progresses.

Having a relationship based on sex is not being honest with yourself or does it show that you respect yourself. This type of behavior has to end now!

Having a “Friends with Benefits” relationship is always a losing situation for the woman, as you admit.

Here you were, screwing around with him, and he just disappears. He found something better and moved on. You kept to yourself and when he re-appeared you opened your bed to him again.

Is this how you want your son to view women? As objects for pleasure, not to be loved and appreciated?

First off, end this relationship. You’re not going to get what you want from him and you’re going to hurt a lot more if you let this continue. Unless he puts a ring on your finger, give him the boot. Even his meeting your family and becoming friends with your son are dangerous signs that he wants what you can’t give him. Or what you can’t trust him with. Or that you want less than he’s offering because you can’t believe that there is more to sex than casual non-committal hook ups.

Then I want you to start counseling. Find out why your self-esteem and self-respect is at such a low point.

And if you’re not working, get a job and/or go back to school. Start walking a little every day, get some exercise. Improve your life so you aren’t reliant on others. Show your son that life is worth living, not letting it pass you by. That you don’t need to be used any longer, you have value as a person.

“Friends with Benefits” relationships are deceiving people left and right. These “friends” that hook up believe that they can separate sex from emotion. That there is no commitment required, there will be no regrets, and that sex is just an amusement between two people that happen to be together at the moment.

But if you dig a little deeper, wasn’t there some basis for the initial attraction? Did the hook up happen only as if you had purchased a ticket on an amusement park ride? Did you not feel some comfort in the afterglow of the sex act then refuse to admit to yourself that you actually are a person capable of having feelings?

When this type of disorganized thinking is revealed to not be the real intention of getting together how does the relationship move on? How can you get over the feelings of being used for your body parts and find a way to move beyond the “Friends with Benefits” beginning and into a real loving relationship?

Almost universally there is a breakup (or ending of the FWB rules), further repeated hook ups resulting in hurt emotions and bewilderment as you try to figure out how life went so terribly wrong.

End the FWB relationship as soon as possible. Have a heart-to-heart talk with your “friend” and get to the root of your relationship needs. Love and companionship isn’t rooted in sex, sex comes after love and commitment has been proven.

And if the relationship is not to progress beyond convenient hook ups, it’s time to re-examine your self-worth and find yourself a true love to share yourself with, even if this means working on yourself while staying single and celibate for a while.
Best wishes,
Rob.