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“My FWB Totally Disrespected Me!”

So I’ve been in a friend-with-benefits relationship for over five months now, and we’ve basically become best friends. He was just out of a six-year relationship when we started hooking up, which is why we kept things casual, but we spend 3-4 evenings together, text and talk everyday. Plus, we work in the same field so we usually see each other most mornings. We had the usual FWB rules about sex — we didn’t tell people, I didn’t stay the night (my personal rule, not his), and at the start it was implied that we were free to see other people. I had another FWB thing going on, but to be honest I was spending so much time with this guy that that faded pretty quickly, and I was fine with that. I knew he was flirting with other girls and knew he was possibly kissing/hooking up with some occasionally, but we never spoke about hooking up with other people or even gave indications of that – and to be honest I was happy with that.

On Saturday night he had a boys’ night out and we had said we’d hang out the next day. He rang me at about half past three Saturday night, drunk, telling me I was so awesome and special and he didn’t know girls like me existed because I was so cool (this is kind of par for the course when he’s drunk, so I take this with a grain of salt, but still, nice to hear.) He then asks me to come stay over, but I tell him that’s for boyfriends only.

Then he starts getting loads of text messages, and hangs up on me twice. When he rings back, I joke about him being so popular and he replies, “Yeah these two girls I’ve been hooking up with keep texting me.” To be honest, I was shocked, because we’d never spoken about other people and it seems odd to tell me now. Then his apartment buzzer goes off. At nearly four in the morning. So I ask him straight out if he’s asked another girl over and if she’s at the door, ready to have sex with him. He mumbles something about getting me to wait a sec, goes and opens the door, with me still on the phone, greets a girl and then hangs up on me.

Wendy, I don’t consider myself that possessive or needy, but this felt like a slap in the face — HE called ME. To ask me over and wax lyrical about how special I am, only to make me listen to the preview of him doing some other girl. It made me feel so cheap, and so disrespected and would never expect that from a FWB, and definitely not a good friend. He texted me the next day to apologize, and say he’s confused, but likes and respects me more than any other girl. But I’m still so hurt and feel awful. Do I even have a right to be mad, given that we weren’t exclusive? Do I give him a lecture about FWB courtesy and then try go back to what we had? Should I MOA? Can I trust him as a friend? And how the hell do I react when I see him in work?? — FWB Drama


FWB relationships can only work as long as both parties are on the same page. As soon as one person wants more — or much less — from the relationship than the other, things are doomed. The problem here isn’t so much that your FWB disrespected you; it’s that you developed feelings for him and wanted more from the relationship than he did. Think about it; if you weren’t interested in him romantically, you probably wouldn’t have even picked up his call at half past three in the morning. You’d already decided it was too late for you to go over to his place (or vice versa), so you probably picked up the phone because you wanted to hear his voice. Even after you realized he was drunk and he hung up on you (twice), you kept taking his calls. Why? Because you liked hearing him tell you how special and cool you are (even if he was drunk out of his mind).

The truth is, you may indeed be special and cool, but you probably aren’t special and cool in the way you want to be to him. You’re cool because you’re the kinda girl he can bang without, you know, commitment and responsibility. Plus, you’re fun to hang out with. You don’t put any pressure on him. That’s “cool” to a guy who’s out of a long-term relationship and looking for some NSA fun. And now that there’s been a little hiccup in your previously drama-free relationship, he’s probably starting to feel some pressure after all. That’s where that “confusion” he mentioned came in. He’s not so much confused about his feelings for you — they likely didn’t change just because he got drunk and pissed you off. He’s confused about whether your arrangement will continue being as hassle-free as it has been or whether he should get out now (and if so, how to end things without hurting you…).

Don’t let him be the one to call it quits. Have some self-respect and tell him that while it’s been fun, you’ve decided it’s better for your friendship and work relationship if you quit sleeping together. And then, if you need some space to get over him, give yourself some space. Avoid him at work for a little while. Don’t respond to his calls an texts. Hopefully, in a few weeks, you will have moved on and you can seamlessly transition back into being buddies again (I’d find a new “best friend” if I were you, though). The sooner you end your sexual relationship, the easier that will be.

This doesn’t have to be ugly. Just remember the “rules” you’ve followed for the last five months: you were both allowed to see other people; this was never an exclusive relationship; he never told you he wanted more than just an FB. The only thing he really did “wrong” here was drunk dialing you. And the only thing you did wrong was continuing to communicate with him when you realized he was smashed and you had no intention of seeing him that night anyway. You both messed up. Own it and move on.

*If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com and be sure to follow me on Twitter.

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Comments on this entry are closed.

leilani leilani June 23, 2011, 3:07 pm

If you never established a rule that you don’t want to hear anything about each other’s hookups, he really didn’t do anything wrong. You say you’re okay with him hooking up with other people, so what do you want to happen when he gets a text from one of those people and you ask who it is? Lie to you? I think if you straight up ask, its better that he be honest and let you know the kind of situation you guys are in rather than lying and leading you to believe you’re the only girl in his eyes. If you aren’t cool with hearing anything about it, its probably because you just aren’t cool with it, period. Let him know that this isn’t working for you anymore and you need a little space from him. If you see him at work, be cordial.

avatar Dat_Truth_Hurts June 23, 2011, 3:08 pm

Not sure why the LW is shocked at all.

avatar Brooklyn June 24, 2011, 11:43 pm

I’ve been through something relatively similar and, in my case, it was the disrespect associated with the friendship. I expected him to treat me better than just some “random” girl. I think he tried but we have different ideas of what that meant.

LW, I agree with Wendy 100%. Don’t beat yourself up or regret decisions. Just pull yourself together and remove yourself from the situation as maturely and calmly as possible. Keep yourself together at work and tell him you need a little space because this isn’t working for you anymore. The awkwardness will fade and you’ll be fine.

avatar melikeycheesecake June 23, 2011, 3:13 pm

He did not do anything wrong. FWB rules are just that… it’s not a relationship and I personally don’t believe in FWB because it usually leads to this.. confusion, hurt feelings, hurt prides, and more confusion. Most of the time it gets messy. I’m with Wendy about calling it off and avoiding him for a little while.

If no rules were set then he had every right to hook up with other girls. And I mostly agree with Wendy’s take on why your so “cool” in his eyes.

avatar cdobbs June 23, 2011, 3:15 pm

ick, i wouldn’t want anything to do with someone so douchey! sounds like he was mad you weren’t coming over, so in a totally juvenile way he let you know that obviously you are easily replaceable! the guy is a pig straight up. LW hopefully at least you were safe when you had sex with this guy. i know you were only FWB, but what kind of jerk would make you listen to him greeting his other FWB over the phone, right before they have sex! i’ll tell you what kind of guy…an a$$h##e! yuck!

avatar Desiree June 23, 2011, 3:19 pm

I don’t think what he did was necessarily malicious. He was drunk, he wanted sex, the LW declined, so he called the next girl on his list. This guy has a much different set of values from my own (and I certainly hope he is practicing safe sex), but that doesn’t make him evil.

avatar MiMi June 23, 2011, 4:57 pm

He’s not maliciously evil, but dude is tacky as hell.

avatar Desiree June 23, 2011, 3:17 pm

“It made me feel so cheap, and so disrespected and would never expect that from a FWB.” I am not sure why the LW is terribly surprised at this. Frankly, that is an obvious possibility if a FWB situation goes south. It might even be how her other FWB felt when she did the fade-out. It seems like the only real problem here is her expectations. And, by the way, Wendy, that was a *beautifully* worded explanation of the guy’s “confusion”!

avatar kf June 23, 2011, 3:22 pm

“It made me feel so cheap, and so disrespected and would never expect that from a FWB”

Seriously? That’s *exactly* what I would expect from a FWB. That why they call them FWB’s, and not husbands or boyfriends.

avatar Jess June 23, 2011, 4:15 pm

lol thats what i was thinking when I read that!

avatar Maracuya June 23, 2011, 3:26 pm

You get what you pay for? You only signed up for FWB thing. You can’t expect him to NOT date/sleep with other people.

That’s why it’s not my thing–I just couldn’t do it. I’m not a casual person, and I forsee things like that getting messy quickly.

avatar DebMoore June 24, 2011, 2:00 pm

I agree, I am one of those either you are with me or you are not type. I tried FWB once and totally got my feelings all jacked up. I also tried casual dating once and same thing. I guess if FWB works for a person great. I just feel like, if you like me enough to sleep with me why can’t you like me enough to date me?

avatar David Jay June 23, 2011, 3:27 pm

You had an FWB relationship that didn’t work out? I’m shocked. Let me humbly assert that the relationship crashed & burned because it was fundamentally baseless (i.e. wrong). I know your peers will run to your defense on this out of fear of hypocrisy, but since I am not one, I’ll give it to you straight:

The ONLY benefit you get from a friend is FRIENDSHIP. It is a rare, precious gift.

Your uncommited sex partners are not your friends, whatever you may think. They hang with you (and you with them) as a form of mutual exploitation. They have about the same level of concern for you as the hooker on the corner (an appropiate analogy).

Grow up. Stop doing what your friends do and drop them if necessary. Be an example your friends and family can be proud of. You’ll suddenly find that you are surrounded by people who value YOU (yes, even with your clothes on.)

avatar SGMcG June 23, 2011, 3:52 pm

I understand where you’re coming from, yet your response comes off a bit puritanical. Sometimes a person WANTS to be in an FWB situation. Is it an ideal situation? Not really. Ultimately, sex is better in a committed relationship with open communication between the parties involved. Yet when you just want the benefit of sex with a nice individual and you don’t have the time to establish a commitment and/or the financial means to get a hooker, nothing’s wrong with going into an FWB. If two individuals are available to hook up with one another, and they don’t have any committments towards another person that won’t be damaged, what’s wrong with a little bang on the side?

avatar Jess June 23, 2011, 3:58 pm

well, LW only wanted a FWB that she could pretend was a real relationship. She wasn’t dating/hooking up with anyone else, she said she didn’t want to. And she was super hurt when she found out he was. Soo… I dont think she qualifies as a person who really wants a FWB.

Wendy was spot on about the picking up the phone multiple times (even once!) at 3 am when she knew she didn’t want to hook up with him. I’ve been in a FWB, (one that I wanted) and i never picked up the phone if I wasn’t interested. I would like, text him back 3 days later, when I wanted to hook up.

avatar David Jay June 23, 2011, 9:48 pm

I agree. Who WOULDN’T want to be in an FWB relationship? I’d also like a job that pays great but has no responsibilities, but guess what… they don’t exist. I’d love to have a bunch of kids that I don’t have to pay for too, and a big home without a mortgage. We could play this game forever.
If you are willing to accept FWB’s, than you must also accept SWP’s (sex with parents), SWS’s (sex with siblings), and SWF (sex with Fido)… or are is that too puritanical too? I’m sure there are people out there who want to be in those relationships too.

avatar SGMcG June 23, 2011, 10:30 pm

A FWB relationship is one that is entered mutually based on an existing friendship. There are times in your life that you want them and they have their place when needed. Some people grow out of a FWB situation and move onto something better, others just go into one FWB relationship after another.

Those other sexual relationships you mentioned are based on existing relationships, but not that of friends. The line of thinking you are espousing is similar to Former Senator Santorum’s line of thinking that if we accept homosexuality then we also have to accept bestiality and incest. Such logic is a philosophical fallacy of an illicit substitution of identicals and is full of shit. I expect better intelligent arguments from you, especially since you are on the Ask Men panel.

avatar EB June 24, 2011, 3:07 am

or Pat Robertson’s “sex with ducks” theory…

http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/8fc68e372c/sex-with-ducks-by-garfunkel-and-oates

avatar Yammy June 23, 2011, 11:19 pm

DJ- you can’t be serious about comparing FWB with incest & bestiality. You are clearly deranged! I was on the same page as you as far FWB situations are rarely true friendships, but you totally lost me with that one. Gross!

LW- I feel for you, but everyone’s right. Your expectations were unrealistic. It sucks, but it will be ok. I think you should take Wendy’s advice; I’m sure you’ll feel at least a little better about things after a little time & space. Best wishes!

avatar David Jay June 24, 2011, 10:05 am

I’m taking it to the extreme to point out the hypocrisy. The premise of the previous comment above mine was “A FWB relationship is one that is entered mutually based on an existing friendship.” So what if the existing friendship happens to also be a step-parent, half-brother, teacher, priest, etc.? Is it all good as long as everyone is nice and consensual?

avatar ForeverYoung June 24, 2011, 10:09 am

How about this – You go bone a dog, and i’ll bone a guy that is single with no strings attached. Win-win.

avatar Natasia Rose June 24, 2011, 10:12 am

David,

The relationships that you use in your example are not appropriate analogies. One would make the presumption that in a friendship, both friends are on an even playing field. In the relationships you describe, there is a notable imbalance of power that makes true consent impossible. You seem smart, also dramatic, extreme, puritanical and just plain gross, so I’m surprised you didn’t make that distinction yourself.

avatar EB June 24, 2011, 11:24 am

I second everything you said minus the part about him being smart.

“If you are willing to accept FWB’s, than you must also accept SWP’s (sex with parents), SWS’s (sex with siblings), and SWF (sex with Fido)… or are is that too puritanical too? I’”.

I’m sorry but anyone who declares casual sex and incest to be one in the same, loses all credibility in my eyes.

avatar EB June 24, 2011, 11:01 am

“A FWB relationship is one that is entered mutually based on an existing friendship.”

I think the key word in that quote is “mutually”, meaning both people are consenting. Your examples of a step-parent, teacher, and priest seem to insinuate that their “friend” is a minor. Since minors can’t give consent, these would be examples of statutory rape NOT the type of FWB situation described above.

avatar Dave Jay June 24, 2011, 5:28 pm

No! No minors involved. Two consenting adults. If you have to twist my argument into a sexual harrasmment case to make your point, your argument fails. I say they are ALL inappropriate relationships that cheapen and dishonor all people involved. Do you have the right to dishonor yourself? – Absolutely! BUT, I just tend to assume that someone who is writing for advice is seeking inner peace and resolution, and in this case, it is as simple as a tiny bit of behavior modification (i.e. Don’t F*CK your friends!!!) If you don’t respect yourself OR your “friends” that much, get used to being disrespected because that’s the signal you’re broadcasting.

avatar ForeverYoung June 24, 2011, 5:40 pm

So then how is a teacher having adult consensual sex with another adult who is consenting inappropriate? If you weren’t insinuating minor sex then i’m not sure what the point of your argument is. So in your point of view is there any sex that doesn’t involve two heterosexual adults that are married appropriate? Because if that’s what you’re implying…I didn’t know people like you still existed.

avatar Dave Jay June 24, 2011, 7:13 pm

Right. By your rules, there is absolutely no problem with an adult student having consensual sex with his/her adult teacher. As a teacher especially, I have a BIG issue with that!

If you want to have a romantic relationship, start dating and fall in love. It’s free, easy, and currently the only thing that the government can’t figure out how to tax. If you are just horny, go google some porn, but for God’s sake, keep your friends out of it! The very thought of having sex with one of my friends is sickening. That’s a serious social disorder.

As for monogomous marital sex… yeah, it’s hands down the best in the world… and not because it comes without all of this baggage, but because it comes with all the love and respect and reassurance that we all crave as humans.

avatar ForeverYoung June 24, 2011, 10:30 pm

EDITED

avatar Dave Jay June 24, 2011, 11:02 pm

And with THAT “lamest of the lame” replies, I declare a moral victory.
Good night America!!
I’m here till Thoisday… try the veal!
:-)

avatar kdog June 23, 2011, 4:20 pm

As long as you’re equating a woman looking for casual sex to a hooker I have no interest in hearing what you have to say.

avatar David Jay June 23, 2011, 9:20 pm

No, I’m not doing that at all. Hookers are (a)smart enough to charge money for their services and (b) smart enough not to equate what they do to any form of relationship or friendship, other than “client”.

avatar Sarah June 23, 2011, 11:31 pm

I think its very funny that the people who are the most morally outraged at the idea of casual sex are always the first to think up the dirtiest forms of sex to talk about. You think we’re bad, you’re the one trying to surround yourself with incestuousness hookers. Naughty, naughty.

avatar kerrycontrary June 23, 2011, 3:27 pm

FWB’s can be really messy….

avatar SGMcG June 23, 2011, 3:38 pm

It sounds like it stopped being a FWB situation when you gave him your response to his invite, “That’s for boyfriends only.” The minute he knew that, it gave him a clue that you may potentially want more from him. If he didn’t want to do that, it’s understandable that he would move on to the next FWB candidate. Was it sleazy that he immediately started looking for her while he was still on the phone with you? Absolutely. Yet sometimes FWB situations can be kinda sleazy and that’s part of their appeal. If it’s something you don’t want for yourself anymore, just end it with him like you did with the other guy. However, rather than making it fade, let him know straight out that he’s no longer getting the benefits and take some time to evaluate whether he’s worth being your friend in the first place.

avatar kf June 23, 2011, 7:26 pm

” “That’s for boyfriends only.” The minute he knew that, it gave him a clue that you may potentially want more from him.”

I agree with others that that line was vague.

If it was meant to give him a clue, a 3AM drunk dial is a really really really terrible time to start dropping hints about taking the relationship to another level.

avatar SpaceySteph June 24, 2011, 8:34 am

I would argue it stopped being a fwb deal much earlier than that, when she. Equated them getting together 3 or 4 nights a week with an evolution of the relationship, instead of the existing friendship + sex.

avatar lk June 23, 2011, 3:39 pm

Only once in my life have I ever done the FWB thing… I had just extricated myself from a long term relationship & I thought FWB was the best thing ever, because I had zero emotional energy left & my empathy meter must have been malfunctioning.

Ring-&-bang, right? Sex on-call from a hot guy who I barely had to talk to??

Needless to say, I hurt him very badly because I really thought I could get a free lunch from this guy. No such thing, kids; no such thing.

I think this guy (after a 6-year relationship) is probably emotionally drained as well & probably doesn’t have a good handle on LW’s feelings.

avatar Starfish13 June 23, 2011, 3:43 pm

The part that stuck out to me in the letter was: “He was just out of a six-year relationship when we started hooking up, which is why we kept things casual…” Inevitably, when you start off adjusting a relationship for the other party (to a lower standard than what you would want if you made all decisions) the relationship is probably heading for an eventual let-down.

And I totally agree with Wendy – this issue is not about disrespect so much as it you hoping this relationship would progress (when you show him how “cool” you are – believe me I’ve been there!) and it just didn’t (for reasons outside of your control).

And typically if some one is just getting out of a really long term relationship, they are going to need some serious time to reestablish their identity.

avatar SpyGlassez June 23, 2011, 8:19 pm

Yeah, the “which is why we kept things casual….” part is pretty indicative. It says that for her, this FWB may have been part of progressing to something else.

avatar TheOtherMe June 23, 2011, 3:50 pm

“Do I give him a lecture about FWB courtesy ”

Does that even exist ? I mean is there really a code of conduct out there for this type of situation ?

Even Jerry and Elaine couldn’t make it work.

avatar Jess June 23, 2011, 3:52 pm

It sounds to me she’s playing so many games with him, that he doesn’t know whats up… Whats with the “boyfriends only…” comment? Ugh that sounds so lame to me, no offense LW. It reminds me of that girl on the bachelor who said she wouldn’t let the guy kiss her until he picked her at the end, and then was like, “don’t you want to kiss me???” and would sit in his lap and stuff.

http://www.mamakatslosinit.com/2010/01/the-bachelor-kiss-me-you-fool/

Anyway, you were playing games with him, not being honest about what you wanted and how you felt. I bet if you stop doing that, maybe things will be clearer. Maybe he’s thinking you don’t want to be his girlfriend, and he was trying to make you jealous so you’d change your mind.

avatar bad tempered sparrow June 23, 2011, 5:49 pm

I was thinking that maybe it is the other way round from how Wendy understood it. i read it that the guy maybe wanted more and has done for a while. The LW likes having someone tell her how amazing she is and how cool but then backs away from any emotional intimacy (boyfriend/ girlfriend style) whatsoever so so is he . Sounds like he maybe wanted a little more but has been rebuffed. He is just treating her how he thinks she is treating him. He probably knew she was hooking up with someone else and so is he. What is to be upset about here?

avatar Sarah June 23, 2011, 3:55 pm

“Hey Lw, I just wanted to let you know that you are so awesome and special and I don’t know anyone like you, do you want to come over? No? Ok. Hey hold on a sec, getting another call…”

“Hey Christy, how are you? I just wanted to know that you are so awesome and special and I don’t know anyone like you, do you want to come over? You’re busy? Oh, ok. Hey hold a sec, getting another call…”

“Becky! Hey, how are you doin, sweet thing? I just wanted to let you know that you are so awesome and special and I don’t know anyone like you, do you want to come over?….”

I want you to sit down and really take an accurate guess at how many other FWBs you think this guy has. Now times that number by two. Times it by three probably. This guy wanted to get laid. At that exact moment. You were really special to him, you know, as soon as you came over. This dude was horny. You refused him. He got pissed and punished you by telling you about his other FWBs. And when some chick did finally come over you ceased to exist. Then after he got his vadge fix the next morning he realized how much of a douche he was and went back to being a good friend again. I don’t think he’s a bad guy, but he’s got boning to manage and he’s working overtime with no holiday pay.

Dudes with FWBs have to constantly balance your girly feelings with the level of sexy time they can successfully manage. You may think that you two are equals in this sitch, but the truth is that he thinks you’re going to explode GIRL FEELINGS any day now and proclaim your love for him. Doesn’t matter if you would, he’ll always think it. So he has to keep you interested in a way he thinks girls want to be hit on, but not so much that you will want a relationship, hence the sweet texts, followed by the cold shoulder. Some FWB’s can work, but everybody’s got to make sure they’re trimming their FWB hedges appropriately so that no one gets disrespected, and this guy’s poon lawn has crab grass all over it.

You want to get out of this successfully, tell him you have to stop because you’re developing feelings for him. He immediately believe, hell he always thought you did, and he’ll still want to hang out. Trust me, it works.

avatar TheOtherMe June 23, 2011, 3:59 pm

…”after he got his vadge fix”…
…”but he’s got boning to manage and he’s working overtime with no holiday pay. ”

Sarah, You are HILARIOUS!

avatar Kate June 23, 2011, 4:00 pm

“… this guy’s poon lawn has crab grass all over it.”

Hysterical.

katie Katie June 23, 2011, 6:55 pm

he’s got boning to manage and he’s working overtime with no holiday pay.

thats the best line, like, ever.

avatar Brooklyn June 24, 2011, 11:57 pm

Sarah, I’ve always found your humorous. Now I wish you were my personal friend so I can tell you all the random shit happening in my life and you can wrap it up into a comical, yet scarily accurate, metaphor and we can follow that up by going out to people watch in bars.

avatar Anita August 4, 2011, 5:15 pm

Sarah, I like your comments, very witty, open minded and non judgmental.
But what I am really wondering about is this:
“You want to get out of this successfully, tell him you have to stop because you’re developing feelings for him. He immediately believe, hell he always thought you did, and he’ll still want to hang out. Trust me, it works.”
Why would she not end it by telling him that she is no longer up to having this sort of relationship with a guy thats calls Becky, Christy, Lw…and who treats her as any other chick?
Why would she not end it by saying it was fun while it lasted but I dont feel there is the necessary sincerity and respect (as you say in order for great sex you need to feel respect) for her to continue?
Why do you suggest that she says that she is developing feelings?
I am in a similar situation and I feel that I could continue a FWB relationship if the guy had a lot more respect and sincerity about where we stand, but there isnt, and I want to end it. But I would never say that I am developing feelings for him because that is not true, I was wondering though, why you say it works.

avatar jessielyn June 23, 2011, 3:59 pm

Sort of a side note, but has anyone actually heard of a FWB that didn’t crash and burn? I haven’t that is for sure.

From the tone of your letter, LW, it does sound like you were hoping that more would develop. And it sucks that it didn’t. But based on your relationship (FWB), I don’t really think you have a right to get mad. I would stop seeing him and give yourself time to get over him.

avatar Yozi June 23, 2011, 4:02 pm

I think there were a few staring Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher…but outside of movies, FWB relationships aren’t built to last.

avatar Jess June 23, 2011, 4:04 pm

Sometimes they fizzle out through mutual disinterest.

avatar ForeverYoung June 23, 2011, 4:15 pm

I think it’s really how to define the “success” of a FWB relationship. I have had one that I consider a success. It was on and off from the time I was 16-21. On when we were both single, off when that wasn’t the case. He was a friend, and we were both extremely attracted to eachother. However it had to end because I figured out that having him as a back up was stopping me from really giving other relationships a chance. We haven’t spoken in over two years, but I still wish him the best.

Did he do things that hurt my feelings? Of course. But I knew what I was getting into. I would be emotional from time to time, and he was always super sweet to me and would tell me very nice lies to make me feel better. At that point in my life that was what I needed. I needed him to pretend to care about my feelings which I figured out what I wanted from life. When he told me how great I was and how pretty and how special I was compared to all other girls he knew, I knew it was a lie, but I was willing to pretend it was true.

I think the problem is that many times girls go into it knowing what their getting into it for, are fine with it at first, and then get to a point where they decide they are ready for a real relationship. The problem is they try to look to the person they are already banging for that relationship. This is where feelings get hurt. I think the LW needs to be honest with herself and her feelings and realize if she is developing feelings for him, she is probably ready for a relationship now, where she wasn’t when she started the FWB relationship.

This FWB relationship is only a failure if she looks at it from the point where she didn’t get a relationship out of it, but that was never the point of it in the first place.

LW – just move on, don’t take it personally, cease all contact, and try not to look at it as him disrespecting you, as much as you outgrew the relationship. This is no one’s fault. Be completely single and go out and look for the type of relationship you are ready for.

avatar Kerrycontrary June 23, 2011, 4:16 pm

I feel like a lot of women in FWB situations are, as you said , “hoping for more to develop”. And a lot of times this happens right after a guy has gotten out of a relationship. This usually ends up crashing and burning whether things get confusing or one of the parties finds someone they actually want to date. My bf had a FWB before he met me. The poor girl was obviously trying to wait him out and convinced he would eventually want to date her. Well he didn’t…if a guy wants to date you he will. Otherwise never assume monogamy.

bittergaymark bittergaymark June 23, 2011, 6:15 pm

Right. Too many women always seem to want Friends with both Benefits AND Potential….

avatar Yozi June 23, 2011, 6:33 pm

I think plenty of women go into FWB relationships with the right intentions, but then the oxytocin kicks in and they start to feel attachment. I’m not saying this happens to all women, but it does seem to happen frequently among the women I know who have FWB arrangements. When you have a chemical attachment to someone you can’t see things as objectively as you did before-like them sleeping with other people. Of course it’s no big deal if my “friend” sleeps with other people. That makes logical objective sense. But if you’re attached to your friend chemically you’re probably going to feel instinctively jealous when they do. And objectively that’s not very friendly behaviour.

avatar BoomChakaLaka June 23, 2011, 4:35 pm

My one and only FWB actually turned into the relationship I’m in now. But we both secretly wanted more …so maybe it wasn’t a genuine FWB. And the fact that it turned into a relationship means that it did crash and burn, although in probably a romantic way. LOL.

avatar AKchic June 23, 2011, 5:17 pm

Yep. I’ve had a few that worked quite well and I’m still friends with them even though there aren’t any sexual benefits anymore.

bittergaymark bittergaymark June 23, 2011, 6:05 pm

Actually, I’ve had several great FWB relationships in my life. And, I’ve had some that weren’t so great, but even those didn’t exactly crash and burn… The difference? I know what to expect and don’t fantasize that they are going to become something they’re not.

avatar CB June 23, 2011, 7:22 pm

I was in a FWB relationship for about six months, and guess what? It worked! Why? Because we were on the same page. We were both honest about what we wanted out of it and could renegotiate when things changed. (We are still friends, but without benefits because I’m having committed sex with someone else.)

Having uncommitted sex isn’t “mutual exploitation”. We were friends first, which means we respected each other enough to be upfront. The LW’s problem is that they weren’t clear about the rules (“at the start it was *implied* that we were free to see other people”) and she wasn’t honest (with herself or him) when she started to want more (exclusivity).

The key to making a FWB situation work is to state the rules, not imply them, and be honest if you want a re-evaluation of them.

avatar Valerie June 23, 2011, 4:03 pm

The line that stuck out the most to me was this one (as several other commenters have mentioned as well): “It made me feel so cheap, and so disrespected and would never expect that from a FWB.” In the letter, the LW admits that over the 5 month course of this FWB relationship that this guy has become her best friend. I almost feel like the line should read “It made me feel so cheap, and so disrespected and would never expect that from my best friend.” To me, this seems to be the reason that FWBs can get so messy and can crash and burn, because, seemingly, a “best friend” wouldn’t do something like that to make you feel crappy. I love Wendy’s advice to maybe step away from this guy for a little bit and give yourself some space.

avatar kf June 23, 2011, 7:18 pm

Here’s the other thing about that line:

Nobody else can “make” her feel cheap. If she feels cheap, she needs to examine her own behavior.

avatar Valerie June 23, 2011, 10:20 pm

Agreed. True story.

sobriquet sobriquet June 23, 2011, 4:15 pm

Can we define Friends with Benefits please? It’s the same as Fuck Buddy, right? Fuck Buddy’s do not talk/text every day. The only way for these FWB situations to work out is if you only call/text when you want to get laid. You can still hang out in social settings, sure, but you cannot be best friends. You can’t even be good friends. Otherwise, you are in a Casual Relationship. Or you’re casually dating. Or you are straight up having sex with your best friend. That’s not FWB.

avatar spaceboy761 June 23, 2011, 4:38 pm

Terrific breakdown! I think that the LW started blurring that FWB line at that’s where the problems started.

avatar WatersEdge June 23, 2011, 4:43 pm

I so agree! If you talk to someone daily, you have sex, and you consider them to be your best friend…. that’s NOT a FWB situation! That’s also an accurate description of a happily married couple. It seems like the LW was falling into the camp of “I want something more but he’s not ready for that so I’ll take what I can get”.

avatar silver_dragon_girl June 23, 2011, 4:19 pm

*trying really hard to NOT rant and rave about how FWB situations never work out*

The answers to your questions are: No, you have no right to be mad. No, you do not give him a lecture. Yes, you move on. You might be able to keep him as a friend, as long as you set some very clear boundaries. At work, I’d just treat him like any other casually-known coworker if you can.

It’s very easy to be okay with someone sleeping with other people as long as you don’t see the evidence of it. You tell yourself you know about it and you’re alright with it, and then WHAM BAM it slams you in the face and all of a sudden it’s real. Real sucks, and it’s a totally different animal than hypothetical. I think (based on your letter), that you need to do some introspection and be able to admit to yourself that you did have feelings for this guy. When you have come to terms with that, you can start to move on. Either that or get another guy right quick ;)

For the record, I have had FsWB twice. Both lasted about 2 weeks.

avatar spaceboy761 June 23, 2011, 4:35 pm

When you think about it ,FWB’s are just prostitutes that pay each other with sex.

avatar Jess June 23, 2011, 5:04 pm

fail ;) but really, no.

avatar spaceboy761 June 24, 2011, 9:24 am

OK, let me try this joke again:

When you think about it, being FWB’s is the ultimate form of bartering.

avatar TheOtherMe June 24, 2011, 10:15 am

Getting there.

avatar PFG-SCR June 24, 2011, 10:31 am

“…being FWB’s is the ultimate form of bartering.”

I thought that was marriage? ;-)

avatar ForeverYoung June 24, 2011, 10:34 am

LOVE THIS COMMENT.
“Honey I really want to paint the bedroom a cranberry color, is that okay?” ….
“Um sounds a little girly” ….
“Would a blow job change your mind” …

avatar PFG-SCR June 24, 2011, 10:39 am

sExxxactly!

avatar spaceboy761 June 24, 2011, 10:46 am

Cranberry?!

I’m not painting any bedroom of mine cranberry without some DP action. A blowjob wouldn’t even qualify as a starting point for negotiation.

avatar ForeverYoung June 24, 2011, 10:49 am

Apparently blow jobs fly around your house a little more frequently.

avatar PFG-SCR June 24, 2011, 10:49 am

That’s fine, but then she gets the foral duvet cover to match the cranberry walls.

avatar PFG-SCR June 24, 2011, 10:50 am

*floral

avatar TheOtherMe June 24, 2011, 10:55 am

▲ ▲ Guys stop being so witty, i have work to do, even if it IS a holiday here :(

avatar spaceboy761 June 24, 2011, 2:48 pm

I see a pretty good business model here. Couples e-mail me with a description of something they want from the other person and (for a reasonable fee) I arbitrate the sexual favor to be exchanged.