Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Morning Quickie: “Are We Just FWB or Does He Want More?”

No satisfaction

I have been friends with this guy since college — more than 15 years — and there has always been this strong sexual chemistry between us. After college we went our separate ways but kept in touch via e-mail. About a year ago he came back into my life. We hang out, go out to dinner, go to art shows, watch old movies, I cook dinner, we have sex. Lots of sex. Lately, I’ve been wondering where this is going, if anywhere, so I finally got up the nerve to ask him if he thought this was a friends with benefits relationship. He said it wasn’t exactly FWB, but he wasn’t sure what it was. So, this basically means FWB, right? Which was rather disappointing since I was starting to develop more-than-friends feelings for the guy.

Anyhoo, we talk about everything and he is super curious about my sexual past (which isn’t that extensive) and is always asking questions. I mentioned that an ex-boyfriend had contacted me out of the blue, and he starts asking me if I have feelings for my ex. Is it any of his business who I have feelings for if we’re just FWB? AND, to top it all off, when I try to make plans with him, he says he isn’t sure if he’s busy or not and waits a few days before giving me an answer.

Am I just the girl he’s using when he can’t find a better option? It seems that, when we get together, it’s when he wants to. If I initiate the plans, something always happens and he asks for a rain check. I need the brutal, honest truth so I can move on with my life and cease any intimacies with this guy. I’d like to keep him as a friend then, at arm’s length. But why are guys so frustrating? Why can’t he just tell me what he wants or doesn’t want and be honest about it? — FWB or Not?

It’s not just guys who are frustrating; women are frustrating, too. The key to not getting overwhelmed by frustration is to not enable frustrating behavior. I can’t say why this guy isn’t being honest with you. Hell, maybe he is being honest. Maybe he truly doesn’t know what your relationship is or what he wants. But to me, someone on the outside, it sounds very much like this is a FWB thing and that is very much all he wants from it. You’re frustrated because you want more and he’s not giving you more. Does it matter WHY he’s not giving you more? If you were on a beach on a super hot day dying of thirst and there was someone dangling a bottle of water in front of you, teasing you with it but never offering it to you, would you stick around trying to figure out WHY he wasn’t giving you any (and all the while hoping he’d finally pass the bottle over) or would you go find water elsewhere?

In other words: you’ve been friends for 15 years and, if this guy still doesn’t know if he wants something more than friendship with you, the answer is he doesn’t. While he’s canceling plans on you and telling you he doesn’t know how to define your relationship, there’s someone else out there who would be thrilled to have and make plans with you. I hope you won’t waste too much time on the guy who doesn’t appreciate what you have to offer or doesn’t want the same thing you want. Life’s too short for all that nonsense. And someone else will have water to offer you if you just keep looking.

***************

Follow along on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com.

76 comments… add one
  • lemongrass

    lemongrass May 22, 2014, 9:17 am

    Just speak up for yourself! Seriously we cannot tell you if he is ever going to want what you want- you have to ask him. Don’t accept any half-assed answers and be direct. “I want to move what we have to a relationship if that is what you want.” If he says he doesn’t know then tell him to think about it and contact you when he knows and then don’t accept anything less than a straight answer.

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    • Addie Pray

      Addie Pray May 22, 2014, 9:30 am

      My new MO is to just listen to lemon – she is winning at life right now!!

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      • lemongrass

        lemongrass May 22, 2014, 9:37 am

        Yay!

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    • avatar

      csp May 22, 2014, 9:39 am

      Great Answer! LW, draw a line in the sand politely.

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    • Nookie

      Nookie May 23, 2014, 9:24 am

      Things I knew when I was younger, vol 1: If a guy’s not showing a lot of interest in me, move on. Why get stuck on a guy that doesn’t like me as much as I like him?

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  • avatar

    Lily in NYC May 22, 2014, 9:17 am

    Ugh, I know it sucks, but this is a classic case of your being a convenient FWB and friend but nothing more. Once you make it “too easy” for a guy to have regular sex with you without the responsibilities of a relationship, it’s pretty much too late for one to develop. Don’t read too much into his asking about other guys – he just doesn’t like the idea of you having sex with someone else but it doesn’t mean he’s emotionally jealous.

    If he wanted a relationship, he wouldn’t ask for rain checks on a regular basis. I think it’s time to distance yourself. And date other people! Give new guys a chance instead of pining away for your friend. I know it’s hard; boy have I been there.

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    • lemongrass

      lemongrass May 22, 2014, 9:29 am

      I’m sure you don’t mean for your comment to sound this way but it seems like you are saying that women shouldn’t have sex with men X number of times if they want a relationship and that is ridiculous. It’s not the sex that caused the issue here it’s the lack of communication about what each of them want.

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      • avatar

        RedroverRedrover May 22, 2014, 9:41 am

        I think Lily meant the same thing you just said. That she let him have sex with her without any responsibilities (responsibilities like talking about what you want). She made it easy for him because she never required anything from him – commitment, respect, or even thinking about whether he really wants to be with her. And I tend to agree, that once you get into that groove with someone, it’ll be hard to get them into a “harder” groove, like being in a real relationship.

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      • avatar

        rachel May 22, 2014, 10:35 am

        Haha, she “let him” have sex with her. Cuz that’s how sex works.

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      • rainbow

        rainbow May 22, 2014, 12:39 pm

        You make it sound like a relationship is the price a man pays to have the sex he wants. I wouldn’t want to live in your world.

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      • avatar

        Breezy AM May 22, 2014, 6:31 pm

        I read it more as… if you want Jimmy Choos? don’t go to Foot Locker. In other words, if you are a relationship kinda girl, and you want a relationship, don’t engage in FWB style behaviour once you’ve decided you want more and aren’t getting it.

        OTOH maybe she should just talk to him about his *behaviour* rather than defining the relationship and worrying about labels. “I dislike it when you cancel. It seems to happen most frequently when I make the plans. What’s up?”

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      • Nookie

        Nookie May 23, 2014, 9:27 am

        Almost all of my relationships have started like that and I’m fairly certain most of those dudes respected me from the start. The end, however, might be another story.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest May 22, 2014, 9:44 am

        Gotta agree here. Plenty of people have tons of sex and then end up in a relationship with that person. Really has nothing to do with the fact she had sex and all to do with the fact that she’s not being honest about what she wants.

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      • Portia

        Portia May 22, 2014, 10:00 am

        I agree with lemon: it doesn’t matter how much of the sex is already being had, it’s the communication about what they are. It sounded like the LW was happy with the no-strings-attached sex until the feelings developed. This is not a game, this is not necessarily past the “point of no return” for a relationship – FWB can turn into a relationship.

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      • avatar

        Lindsay May 22, 2014, 10:40 am

        Yeah, I don’t think the issue is the amount of sex. But I think the saying “start as you mean to go on” is important. If you don’t, there’s just a much higher chance that you’ll be deep in with someone who chose FWB because they didn’t want a relationship. I think people, for the most part, seek out what they want, whether it’s a relationship or FWB, and if they choose no-strings sex, then it’s often for a reason.

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      • Portia

        Portia May 22, 2014, 1:40 pm

        “there’s just a much higher chance that you’ll be deep in with someone who chose FWB because they didn’t want a relationship” – but it didn’t sound to me like the LW got into this in the hopes that it would become a relationship, so in theory you’re saying the same thing about the intentions of both the LW and this guy. People are allowed to change their minds and it sounds like the LW did just that.
        .
        I dislike the assumption that the LW never really wanted to be FWB because she’s a woman and because she now wants more. “if they choose no-strings sex, then it’s often for a reason” – I think you’re assuming that the “reason” she chose it was for a future relationship and not just sex while the “reason” he chose it was solely for sex. If this was a man who had written basically the same letter, would people here have jumped to the same conclusion? I’m curious.

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      • avatar

        Lindsay May 22, 2014, 2:05 pm

        I didn’t made that assumption. I was speaking generally. I read your first sentence as being general, but if it was only relevant to this specific situation, then I guess I was just mistaken.

        I think you’re jumping to your own conclusions about me generalizing based on gender. What I said could apply to anyone of any gender, and I didn’t use gendered pronouns. On the flip side, why is there an assumption that when I talk about someone wanting a relationship and going into FWB anyway, that it’s a woman?

        Anyway, yes, people of all genders can change their minds. But the point I was making really had nothing to do with that. The point is that whether you go into something wanting more or develop the feelings later, it CAN sometimes be hard to change the direction of things. Mostly because there’s no guarantee that the other person will change their mind, too.

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      • Portia

        Portia May 22, 2014, 3:05 pm

        Sorry, I guess I projected the assumption that a bunch of commenters have had about this situation.
        .
        If your point is that because there was a low likelihood of feelings developing on both sides to begin with, that it is less likely for a relationship to result, then yes, the math would support that. It can be hard to change the direction of things, but whenever people in general talk about the friend zone or the FWB situation being less likely to result in a relationship, I think, is it really any less likely than a string of internet dates or meeting someone at a bar? The dating world is hit or miss no matter what. So yes, it can be hard to change the directions of things, but isn’t all dating like that?

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      • Portia

        Portia May 22, 2014, 6:41 pm

        Which is not to say that everyone should be FWB to start because, well, not everyone wants that. But I think that people once they decide they want a relationship and not FWB anymore shouldn’t disregard the person they’re hooking up with, or just throw out the possibility of a relationship because it didn’t start like that. I was guilty of this at 16. I also think this is why people think they’re stuck in the friend-zone without bringing up the possibility of more with the other person. Sure it breaks the magical thinking glass, like talking about marriage timelines or whatever before getting engaged, but it’s better than pining or wondering.

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      • avatar

        Lily in NYC May 22, 2014, 10:21 am

        No, that’s not what I meant; I don’t think I articulated my point very well. I meant that if you have feelings for someone but agree to a no-strings attached FWB situation, and continue to act like you dont have feelings or that you don’t care that you aren’t dating, then you are setting yourself up for disappointment. I know that’s not always the case and there have been FWBs that turn into more. But I spent my 20s in one FWB situation after another, lying to myself the whole time that if I just kept acting like nothing bothered me, then he wouldl see me as this great partner because I was so non demanding and easy going. It never worked! They just saw me as an easygoing buddy who was willing to sleep with them. And then ended up with the women who set boundaries from day one and made it clear that they wouldn’t settle for less than a relationship.
        I hope I didn’t sound like I was slut-shaming OP, I would never, ever do that to anyone. Especially considering that I was quite promiscuous in my younger years!

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      • lemongrass

        lemongrass May 22, 2014, 10:47 am

        I’m glad you chimed back in to clarify- it sounds like in your situation it was your lack of communicating your wants that caused the issue. It did sound like you were slut shaming in your original comment but now I see where you are coming from.

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      • avatar

        Lily in NYC May 22, 2014, 10:54 am

        Thanks, lemongrass. I cringed when I realized how my original comment came across.

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      • avatar

        _jsw_ May 22, 2014, 10:47 am

        You’re right, lemongrass, in that it isn’t the sex that caused the issue, but you’re essentially wrong in saying it is ridiculous to imply “women shouldn’t have sex with men X number of times if they want a relationship….” No matter what the level of interest a guy has in a relationship with a woman might be, having quick and easy access to no-strings-attached sex with her will, guaranteed, reduce that level of interest. Why? A few reasons. First, we all want want we can’t easily have, and conversely we want less that which is readily available to us. It’s human nature. When someone lets you have sex with them whenever you want without requiring even the semblance of a relationship, it makes them less desirable… because they’re just too accessible. Second, when someone has a purely sexual relationship with someone else, at least when it is a guy who is involved, the other person – the woman – truly does become seen literally as a sex object, and so any potential romantic feelings are reduced.

        I do NOT mean sex = no romance. I mean sex without any accompanying romance can very quickly, for a guy, lead to it being seen purely as sex and, furthermore, as sex with someone who doesn’t qualify as relationship-worthy.

        So, yes, if you’re a typical woman, and you have lots of sex with a typical guy before there’s any semblance of a romantic relationship, you will, typically, have eliminated that as a possibility merely by having that sex so often with so little attached.

        Also, we men do know who we like (in a relationship way) from the beginning. We don’t need lots of sex to decide we like-like someone. And, if we like someone, the overwhelming majority of us make that clear (hint: not knowing if we can meet up with you a few days later because we “don’t know our plans” means we don’t have feelings for you 99 times out of 100). So.. if you’ve had lots of sex with a guy, and he’s made no move, you’re just sex to him. Maybe also a friend, but not a girlfriend. Corollary: if you have lots of sex with a guy, then it turns into a relationship, it was always a relationship to him, whether he admitted it or not.

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson May 22, 2014, 10:49 am

        That’s weird, almost all of my long term relationships have started based on no strings attached sex. The current one is a year strong and I don’t think it’s affected his interest at all. In fact I think the sex may have increased his interest. 😉

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      • avatar

        _jsw_ May 22, 2014, 10:53 am

        Started, yes, but how long were they “just sex”? Also, I stand by my assertion that he was interested in more very early on.

        And, also, sex is a fantastic part of a relationship. I don’t think you can ever have too much of it as long as it is mutual. My point was about *pure* FWB or FB situations and how they can reduce the chances of things ever becoming romantic.

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson May 22, 2014, 10:55 am

        Okay so if he was interested in more very early on – either way the sex didn’t change that. Sex doesn’t change someone’s interest right? We agree on that. Having sex too early doesn’t change whether or not a relationship will come.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest May 22, 2014, 11:44 am

        My “just sex” lasted about a year or so if I remember correctly. Sorry to debunk your theory.

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      • lemongrass

        lemongrass May 22, 2014, 11:13 am

        What? Do you seriously believe that your entire gender has the same feelings towards sex as you? Sorry I can’t believe men are incapable of varied and differing opinions on casual sex and my marriage is proof of that.

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      • lemongrass

        lemongrass May 22, 2014, 11:27 am

        Not only that but you are perpetuating the ridiculous myth that relationships are a game and women need to have sex on the 3rd date or make 300 sandwiches or insert-silly-tactic to “win” a proposal as if relationships are void of individual feelings, complications and opinions.

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      • avatar

        NavyWife May 22, 2014, 4:28 pm

        Ha…speaking of sandwiches…did you see in today’s news that sandwich girl finally got a proposal? It only took 257 sandwiches :-/

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      • avatar

        Breezy AM May 22, 2014, 6:38 pm

        I dunno.

        I have to admit, in my experience, if a man is not “earning” his sex in some sort of way, be it by some sort of relationship (uh, that can be just ya know, basic human respect as friends!) or cold hard cash, they just don’t value it.

        I’m referring specifically to the kind of sex one has served up on a platter, with no effort on his part whatsoever. Think meeting a guy at a party and straight up asking him to fuck when you’ve known him less than an hour. Like I mighta done Tuesday night.

        (I have zero regrets; he was HOT — but I don’t think he “valued” it… but see I didn’t either. Not as anything more than ego food and knowing I wouldn’t vomit or die if I tried someone other than Mr AM).

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      • avatar

        zombeyonce May 22, 2014, 11:24 am

        There are far too many stereotypes about gender here for me to even come close to rationalize what you’re saying and agreeing with you. I believe that’s what all the downvotes are about.

        “Men” don’t mostly feel the same way, just like “women” don’t mostly have opposite feelings. People are complicated and different, no matter their gender, and I don’t think you’re giving them enough credit for having wants and needs beyond simple hormones.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest May 22, 2014, 11:44 am

        This might be the most ridiculous thing I’ve read on DW in a while.
        My 6 (or 7?) year relationship started as no strings FWB and the guy (GASP!) was the one who got feelings and wanted to turn it into a relationship…even after I slept with him over 100 times. Shocking, I’m sure.

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson May 22, 2014, 11:47 am

        I know, guys are needy as shit like that. I was just trying to have a nice summer fling and Colin had to ruin it with feelings and love and dates.

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      • GatorGirl

        GatorGirl May 22, 2014, 11:58 am

        You guys are the best. And yeah ours started pretty similar. Summer fling, now we’re married. Damn guys messing up our casual sex!

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson May 22, 2014, 12:13 pm

        Well, there’s no better company that a bunch of skankbombs. Good for us.

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      • avatar

        Liquid Luck May 22, 2014, 12:36 pm

        Seriously, someone should tell my husband that he doesn’t actually love me, he just likes that he doesn’t have to put any effort into getting sex. How long does it take for those potential romantic feelings to reduce? I just want to know how much more time I have before he wakes up and realizes our marriage is just one big sham.
        .
        I should also probably call my exes and apologize for the 9 collective years they wasted on me, since I wasn’t relationship-worthy and all. Sounds like they’re unaware of how real men are supposed to feel.

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      • rainbow

        rainbow May 22, 2014, 12:56 pm

        This is a bunch of ridiculous lies made up to keep women from experimenting. Every time I hear something like this I can’t help imagining the person saying it sitting by a campfire holding a torch below their face to make it look scary and going “BOOOOO if you have fun with your body no one will ever looooooove youuuuuuuu BOOOOO also don’t masturbate or your palms will be hairy, and don’t wear read shoes or the devil will make you dance up and down the street until you die. The end!”

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      • avatar

        DesiDad May 22, 2014, 1:32 pm

        rainbow, that is a strawman argument. _jsw_ did not make that point. If a woman has an FWB relationship with somebody, they may or may not want to be in a real relationship with you. Does being in the FWB relationship reduce the likelihood of THAT person becoming a boyfriend? Probably, per _jsw_. (I think the likelihood was low to begin with.) Does that mean another man will not think of the woman as worthy? No.

        I don’t know why all the women are piling on _jsw_ for stating a man’s viewpoint. I think it is a valid one, with the caveat that it may not cover all situations. Do you always make pronouncements for all women? It is a viewpoint that could also be useful to some people here. The new ones, I mean. The regulars are already very wise due to DW advice. 🙂

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest May 22, 2014, 1:38 pm

        It is so bizarre to me that you guys think this way because most men I know don’t have that as their viewpoint, so jsw isn’t sharing the general man’s viewpoint at all.
        .
        Clearly he’s a believer in the outdated ‘why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free’ logic, but its far from the norm nowadays (as proven by all the women here who chimed in about how their FWB’s turned into relationships).

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      • GatorGirl

        GatorGirl May 22, 2014, 1:48 pm

        It’s just ridiculous to make declarations that a whole gender has one thought/thought process.

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      • avatar

        Lindsay May 22, 2014, 2:12 pm

        Eh. You make all men sound like cons. I think there’s merit to the idea that if you have lots of no-strings sex, it’s possible that the other person will misinterpret that to mean that it’s all you want. So it can be hard to weed out people (based on whether you want the same things) early on if that’s what you’d want to do. But I don’t believe that a guy who is looking for a relationship and has feelings for a woman is going to suddenly stop either of those things because she didn’t turn sex into some sort of bargaining chip.

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    • avatar

      Morgan May 22, 2014, 9:40 am

      Yeah, sorry, but no. If a guy wants to be in a relationship with you, he will try to be in a relationship with you regardless of whether or not there is already regular sex. If he doesn’t want to be in a relationship with you, he won’t try to be in a relationship with you, regardless of whether or not there is already regular sex.

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      • avatar

        Lily in NYC May 22, 2014, 10:23 am

        That’s not what I meant at all. Please see my clarification above.

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    • GatorGirl

      GatorGirl May 22, 2014, 9:57 am

      Yeah…no.

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      • avatar

        Lily in NYC May 22, 2014, 10:27 am

        I’m so glad I can’t see the thumbs here because i probably have a lot of ones pointing down! I hope you read my clarification above – I think my intent was misunderstood because I was not very articulate in what I first wrote.

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      • GatorGirl

        GatorGirl May 22, 2014, 10:58 am

        Yes, the clarifications help! It just read wrong initially.

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    • avatar

      _jsw_ May 22, 2014, 11:00 am

      I do not understand the downvotes for Lily here except because it’s wishful thinking on the part of those who thumbed her original comment down. Everything she wrote was accurate. The fact that some women sometimes convert FWB situations into relationships does not mean that, in general, a FWB becomes a relationship. They don’t. And having sex a few times before truly dating is not the same thing as being a long-term FWB and converting that. Lily is completely correct in that his interest in other guys is due to him not wanting to share her sexually, and Lily is completely correct in saying “if he wanted a relationship, he wouldn’t ask for rain checks on a regular basis.”

      If you’re going to down-vote, explain yourselves.

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      • avatar

        zombeyonce May 22, 2014, 11:26 am

        I believe the downvotes are because of all the gender stereotyping in your comment. I have explained it in more detail above.

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  • avatar

    Laura Hope May 22, 2014, 9:18 am

    I would tell him point blank that you have feelings for him, that you don’t sleep around and you’re not interested in anyone else, thereby addressing his concerns directly. It’s real or it’s over. (Of course you can tell him in a gentler way.) Then if he refuses to respond, there’s your answer. Wendy’s right. 15 years is long enough to know how you feel.

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    • Addie Pray

      Addie Pray May 22, 2014, 10:40 am

      You’re kind of on fire lately. Who are you? Tell us all about Laura Hope. Go.

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  • GatorGirl

    GatorGirl May 22, 2014, 9:21 am

    Sounds like this guy is pulling a fade on you. But seriously, if you’re not happy, or getting what you want out of a relationship, and the partner isn’t willing to meet your needs…MOA!

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  • avatar

    Diana May 22, 2014, 9:22 am

    Here’s the thing, LW – even if he were just a platonic friend, from the outside, his behavior indicates a lack of regard for you. He’s not respecting you or your time, and you’re letting him disrespect you. He’s known you for a long time and he’s still not investing in your relationship. I don’t think this is someone you want to invest in yourself.

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  • Portia

    Portia May 22, 2014, 9:30 am

    Sounds to me your in a FWB situation and don’t want to be anymore. FWB only works as long as the two people in it want it, then it either becomes a relationship or you lose the benefits.

    You need to be more direct than “what do you think we are?” – force the issue and ask if he wants to start a real relationship. If he doesn’t, it’s time for you to start looking for someone else because you’ll only stay miserable in this no man’s land.

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    • Portia

      Portia May 22, 2014, 10:14 am

      Hm, I need to read better, apparently the LW asked if they were FWB – that could certainly prime him to answer in relation to a FWB situation. The LW should say they want to date or want a relationship or whatever and ask if he wants that too. Maybe he’ll take the LW’s lead, maybe he won’t, but at least the LW will have a real answer and not this “not exactly FWB” answer, which is frustratingly vague. Bottom line: ask the question you want an answer to and only accept a real answer.

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  • avatar

    lets_be_honest May 22, 2014, 9:38 am

    Take some control over your wants in life. You have feelings for him. Tell him that and that you want a relationship with him. If he doesn’t reply yes right away, then there’s your answer.

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  • bagge72

    bagge72 May 22, 2014, 10:00 am

    You started the conversation all wrong. Why ask if you are FWB, why not just ask where this is going, and go from there, you kind of put it in a FWB situation in your mind by asking that question, but he never said it was.
    .
    To me it sounds like you two are dating, and you maybe kind of changed that a little bit by asking that question. Maybe he thinks that’s what you want now, and then by bringing up your ex, that further supports that fact for Him. I know you have been friends for 15+ years, but you just recently really started talking to each other in the last year so I don’t buy the whole he’s known you this long, so he doesn’t want to date you thing.

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    • TaraMonster

      TaraMonster May 22, 2014, 10:39 am

      This was my first thought as well.. LW used the FWB wording, so it sounds like he just followed her lead. And maybe that IS what he wants, but I think another conversation is warranted where LW explicitly states she’d like to be in a relationship and that if he’s only interested in FWB, then she’d prefer to going back to be just friends.

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    • Moneypenny

      Moneypenny May 22, 2014, 1:52 pm

      You summed up what I was thinking as well! She needs to just tell him what she really wants, and if he’s not on board, then she shouldn’t have to settle for a fwb (if that’s what it actually is).

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  • avatar

    cdobbs May 22, 2014, 10:26 am

    Hi LW….you sound like you have a good head on your shoulders….even if it is just a FWB it should be more equal….it shouldn’t be all about when he wants to hang out, what he wants to do, thats not a FWB thats a booty call….he can’t even agree to plans when you ask, he has to wait a few days? that sounds like he is seeing if something better comes up….you deserve better! and if you aren’t in a relatioship then he has no right to ask questions about your personal life (including who you have had sex with in the past)….keep your chin up and i hope this works out for the best 😀

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  • avatar

    Lindsay May 22, 2014, 10:32 am

    He’s probably not telling you want he wants because he’d probably lose his opportunity to keep having sex. If you ask a guy point-blank what he wants, and he’s wishy-washy and then basically keeps YOU at arms-length by making sure you guys only hang out when he wants to. You seem to think that him asking questions, specifically about your ex, is a sign that he wants more — that he’s jealous — but it doesn’t really matter. A person can be curious, or even jealous, and not want more.

    I see the idea that maybe by asking if it’s a FWB, that could skew things, but even if someone thinks that’s what YOU want, they should be a good enough person to not string you along. A person who wants more who treats you like crap as a FWB is still treating you badly.

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    • Fabelle

      Fabelle May 22, 2014, 7:21 pm

      I’m late as hell to this letter, but saw your comment while scrolling through everyone’s—I disagree with the idea that this guy is probably only wishy-wishy because if he’d “lose his opportunity for sex” if he stated what he actually wanted. Like, couldn’t he legit be confused? I get where you’re coming from, but I think that idea is strewn around too much (“he’s leading you on by omission! because—sex!”), particularly when it comes to gray-area sort-of-friends/-acting-relationship-y?/FWB-ish-but-no-one-wants-to-label-it-as-such relationships. Dude could just be confused, as easily as she’s confused. Or is testing the waters of what he wants, without feeling comfortable ~saying~ what he wants?

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  • avatar

    lets_be_honest May 22, 2014, 10:42 am

    I hate the way people feel like all they can ask the other person “what is this” rather than the normal thing being to just say what you want. I hope that stops happening.

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    Painted_lady May 22, 2014, 11:00 am

    LW, it sounds like you’re afraid to state precisely what you want, and you need to be really, really honest with yourself here. Are you afraid because it’s scary to make yourself vulnerable by stating something you actually really want? Or are you afraid because you know that once you do, that’ll be the end of it?
    *
    There’s nothing wrong with wanting a relationship. Whether you want a relationship with someone in particular and are otherwise okay, or you want a relationship and you’re looking for someone you like in all the ways you should, who also wants a relationship, there’s nothing wrong with it. There’s nothing wrong with not wanting one, either, but it doesn’t sound like that’s you. What is wrong and sad and not-okay is letting some dude you really like give you less than you want and accept it because you’re afraid of what will happen if you ask for more.
    *
    Somewhere along the line we were taught that wanting relationships is bad, and asking for more when you’re getting anything at all is “needy,” and “seeing where things go” is the only way to go about this dating/sex thing. Wanting to be sure the person we’re dating isn’t just out for fun, casual, and NSA somehow makes us “desperate.” Knowing what you want isn’t bad. Establishing that “if you aren’t looking for ______, then we should part ways,” is a legitimate way to set expectations and boundaries.
    *
    You want to be with this guy. It’s possible he wants to be with you, though I think unlikely. I think it’s within the realm of reasonability to tell him you want to date for real, and if his response is anything other than, “Oh good! Me, too!” then it’s also reasonable to leave.

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  • avatar

    bethany May 22, 2014, 11:25 am

    LW, if you want more than FWB, then tell him that. If he doesn’t, MOA. Yeah, it might hurt a little to hear him say that he doesn’t want that, too, but it’ll hurt less in the long run than if you keep doing what you’re doing, when you obviously want more.

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  • kare

    kare May 22, 2014, 11:59 am

    I noticed the letter mentions the guy asking about her ex and things like that. Sure he might care, he might even be a little jealous. But that does not mean he wants a relationship at all. For some people, liking someone automatically equates a relationship. For other people, it’s not that simple. I’ve liked my past FWBs, but I didn’t want to be in a relationship with them for whatever reason. The LW should probably just move on, but she might as well go for broke and tell the guy what she wants so she can say she tried.

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  • avatar

    AKchic May 22, 2014, 12:00 pm

    If you want an answer from him, the best person to ask is HIM. We can try to interpret his behaviors until the cows come home, but honestly, only he knows what’s truly going on in his head.

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  • bittergaymark

    Bittergaymark May 22, 2014, 12:13 pm

    Um… Hate to say it, but the idea that there is always somebody else out there just DYING to fall in love with you is a dangerous line of bullshit to push. Especially if somebody is pushing or, worse, already past forty.

    Trust me on this — because I know. I KNOW. God do I know…

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    • Addie Pray

      Addie Pray May 22, 2014, 1:01 pm

      I kind of agree. Like, would you tell a 99 year old that? “Oh, you will meet someone who deserves you” kind of seems … unlikely…. for a 99 year old, right? Well 99 is just like 90, which is basically 85, which is a blink away when you’re 70, which is like a hot second from 58, which is JUST LIKE being 48, and 48 is right around the corner from 35. So basically, unless this LW is UNDER 35, we’re giving her false hope.

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      • Moneypenny

        Moneypenny May 22, 2014, 1:55 pm

        False hope is the worst.

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    • Cassie

      Cassie May 22, 2014, 1:09 pm

      After my grandma passed on, my grandpa got himself a great girlfriend. They’d spend a ton of time together and she’d come to family holiday gatherings and such. He was in his 80’s. I don’t think 40 is the cut off for finding someone who loves you and who you love; I think not breathing is the cut off.

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      • avatar

        AKchic May 22, 2014, 1:19 pm

        Even not breathing isn’t a dealbreaker for a select group of people.

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      • Cassie

        Cassie May 22, 2014, 7:14 pm

        Hahaha I was thinking that when I submitted my comment.

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    Tmd260 May 22, 2014, 12:22 pm

    If you’re not getting a clear answer from him & you are not satisfied with the way things are going then let him know you want more.

    Let him know where you stand with your feelings & if that is not what he wants then you need to move on. At least, you’ll know for sure what your next move should be.

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  • avatar

    peachy May 22, 2014, 1:28 pm

    Let’s see, makes plans only at his convenience, gets free meals and scores when he feels like it, asks nosy questions that are none of his business, doesn’t give a moment’s thought to your wishes or your feelings … yep, so NOT boyfriend material, LW! Don’t even keep him as a friend – he doesn’t merit that privilege.

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  • avatar

    Laura Hope May 22, 2014, 2:19 pm

    Addie Pray, I just read what you wrote and started laughing. You’re adorable. Who am I? Hmmm. That sounds like an existential question. Seriously, years ago I was in therapy with someone amazing who taught me how to be really honest with myself and be okay with it. I think many people have trouble looking inward. It’s much easier to point a finger at everybody else. (Hence, most of these letters)

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