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Dear Wendy

Complicated, Unsure what to do, situation…

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  • #901622 Reply
    avatarrachel
    Guest

    So, to try and keep it short,

    My ex and I broke up in November 2019. we started chatting again in February 2020 and we decided we just wanted to stay friends. Feelings are still involved with us so basically our situation is kind of like friends with benefits but we’ve said we don’t want to get into a relationship with anyone else. and if we do, to let the other person know and go from there.

    Because we’re not in a relationship, I’m texting other guys, just like he’s most likely texting other girls. We’re not in a place in our lives where we are ready to get into a relationship with anyone. that’s why our situation kind of works for us. we get the intimacy with each other but don’t have the relationship struggles we had.

    Now my situation at the minute that I want to get advice on is, I’m texting this other guy and he’s lovely. we’ve been texting before my ex got back in contact with me. The whole ‘COVID’ virus broke out and we never got to meet up. but now the regulations have been lifted we’re planning to meet up next week sometime. I haven’t told my ex about this guy because I’m not looking for a relationship with him… I like him so i don’t want to just push him out of my life because im not ready for a relationship? if that makes sense. But i don’t know if i should tell my ex about me meeting up with this guy.

    What do use think?,

    please no advice on the “fwb” with your ex. i understand some people might not think that’s a good idea.

    #901660 Reply
    avatarron
    Guest

    If you have this question, then your agreement with your ex/fwb is too vague. From how you describe the agreement, I would have thought it was clear, since you assume you are both interneting with potential future partners, that dating them is also ok. You describe your situation with ex as fwb, but no chance of actual realtionship. You describe the agreement as notifying the other when you are ready to get into a relationship with somebody new. You say your aren’t ready for a relationship with anybody yet, so to me it seems obvious that you don’t have to tell your ex. Your question suggests this is somehow an undefined grey area. So, did the two of you discuss/reach agreement on:
    -sexual exclusivity, even though you are just fwb
    — notifying each other if you are sexually active in a non-relationship way with another person, so you can both protect your health
    — in other words, is the threshold dating, sex, or developing feelings and a relationship with somebody else after dating/sex

    As a practical matter, I think it is self-injurious to consider yourself prohibited from dating/sex with somebody else, because of an fwb relationship with an ex, which you’ve both decided can’t develop into a relationship. That puts your life/emotions on hold for no good reason — unless despite what you and ex said to each other, you are secretly harboring hopes of resuming a relationship with your ex.

    #901666 Reply
    avatarrachel
    Guest

    IYes, we have discussed all of that. we are sexually exclusive. If we want to be sexually active with another person we will let each other know. Or if we want to move forward, get to know someone, and maybe date them, we will also let each other know.

    #901672 Reply
    avatarKate
    Keymaster

    “ we’ve said we don’t want to get into a relationship with anyone else. and if we do, to let the other person know and go from there.”

    You haven’t said “we’ll let each other know if we meet up with someone.” So why would you?

    #901698 Reply
    avatarFYI
    Guest

    Wait, so you’ve agreed that you are …
    FWB
    and
    sexually exclusive?
    Those things seem incompatible.

    If y’all don’t want to be in a relationship, then don’t agree to be sexually exclusive. It sounds like in this relationship with your ex, there are a lot of rules that are designed to keep people from getting hurt.
    I mean, one rule is that you’ll let each other know if you want to date or have sex with someone else — and now you’re hesitating to do that. Why? Because y’all are trying to legislate emotions. Either break up or don’t, but all these rules aren’t gonna lessen the pain. You aren’t robots.

    #901710 Reply
    avatarbloodymediocrity
    Participant

    Writer – I’m curious about your reasons for not wanting to be in a relationship currently, if you’d be interested in sharing them. You seem to be in an odd predicament where you’ve merely taken the “relationship” label away but otherwise remain monogamous with your FWB. You’ve changed your relationship label but really that is all.

    Is this working for you? I’m not asking to judge, it’s just an unusual arrangement. It almost sounds like how I would expect a relationship to work out between aromantic people. You don’t seem to have any real desire to be in an actual relationship with anyone, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

    Either way, if your agreement is to tell your FWB when you date someone else, you need to do that. But, you don’t necessarily need to tell Mr. New Guy about your situation with you FWB until conversations about sexual exclusivity start (and even then, you only really need to disclose if you plan on keeping things with the ex ongoing), but I would imagine a lot of people would find it hard to accept that the person they were dating was currently in a sexually exclusive relationship with their ex.

    #901725 Reply
    avatarrachel
    Guest

    no, I don’t mind sharing why.

    It’s not that I don’t want to be in a relationship. It’s just right now I don’t want to be in a relationship.

    In relationships, unhealthy behaviors of mine start to show, such as paranoia, jealousy, and I could be somewhat controlling ( I don’t like to admit to that one). Whereas he had his own faults too, lies. So before I get into another relationship I want to first learn how to manage my own negative behaviors in relationships and work through all the baggage from that relationship.

    So now that we aren’t in a relationship and we have the freedom/choice, that if we want to talk to other people or see other people, we can. It reminds me that I can’t control or stop him from doing what he wants. If that makes sense?… It is an unusual agreement, I know that.

    #901740 Reply
    avatarKate
    Keymaster

    It’s actually not at all unusual. It’s super common for guys in particular to want to have reliable sex with their exes without any of the responsibility of being their boyfriend.

    Also, if someone is a liar who you don’t trust, it’s not a great idea to get into a thing like this that relies on telling each other the truth. Don’t have rules if you wouldn’t trust him to follow them. Maybe you would? I wouldn’t.

    #901783 Reply
    avatarron
    Guest

    Yeah, these rules seem designed to lock you down as his reliable home base, while he plays the field. It’s like you have your old relationship, except it was changed to an open relationship, just on his side. Meanwhile, you are worried about possible behavior of your own, which clearly doesn’t breach the agreement. I fear he’s playing you for a sap.

    If you have things to work on about yourself, are you in therapy, or have you just put your life on hold to suit your ex’s needs? I’m not sure you even have much you need to work on. If you know that he’s lied to you, then that would seem to justify a level of jealousy and trying to ‘control’ his behavior. He just doesn’t sound like the sort of guy with whom it is sensible to operate under these rules you have. It sounds like you have just dropped all expectations of his behavior. It also sounds like you want to get back with him in a truly monogamous real relationship, but he doesn’t want that.

    I’m going to guess that these rules come more from him than from you and that this list of your faults is more his list of what faults he thinks you have. Gas lighting seems a distinct possibility.

    If you need to clear your head and try to fix whatever you (or he?) think needs fixing about yourself, I think you need to MOA from this guy and work with a therapist.

    #901784 Reply
    avatarron
    Guest

    P.S. I think you should assume he’s having sex with other women.

    #901796 Reply
    avatarbloodymediocrity
    Participant

    @Rachel – that does make sense to me to a point. Because you’ve determined you’re not in a “relationship” at this point, there’s no need to feel jealous or threatened by other people because you’re both free to do what you want. But the reality in committed relationships is that both people are always free to do what they want. Monogamy is a choice each person in a relationship chooses-it’s not a magic wall that prevents indescretions.

    Even now, you’re choosing to be monogamous with FWB even though you’ve stripped him of the title of boyfriend. You’re also trusting FWB that he is doing the same. You’re already “walking the walk” on not being jealous or controlling and you seem self-aware enough to proceed forward. What is it about the relationship label that makes it difficult for you to keep jealousy at bay? Has it historically been all relationships that you’ve struggled with this, or is it with this FWB in particular?

    #901829 Reply
    avatarFYI
    Guest

    Uh, it sounds like you’ve been snowed. Lemme guess — he lied, and you didn’t like that, but now think you’re supposed to “manage your emotions.” Did you ever think that maybe some of your “jealousy” and “control” was because you didn’t (and shouldn’t) trust someone who lies?

    Using the FWB label instead of the boyfriend label is supposed to remind you that you can’t stop him from doing what he wants?! That’s a lot of mental gymnastics you are making just to adjust to his “freedom.” Wouldn’t it be easier to just date a decent guy?

    One of the most important relationship skills — since you’re working on those — is learning how to drop people quickly when they don’t live up to basic standards of decency. Honesty is a basic standard.

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