While it has been exciting to meet someone as adventurous as I am, I’m also slightly tortured (pun intended) because what I really want is a relationship, not a sex buddy. We get along well enough and enjoy our time together, but we don’t have the spark to be more than casual. I get jealous that she goes on dates with other people and doesn’t make an effort to include me in her life, and my already low self-esteem feels threatened. I understand it’s ridiculous to feel that way when I know we’re not relationship material, but I feel like I’ve put a lot of energy into making dinners and going on dates – not to mention the amount of emotional labor it takes to cultivate a kink dynamic.
Should I dump her because I know we’re not going anywhere and then lose one of the best sexual relationships I’ve ever had? Or keep being hurt by my insecurities because our kink dynamic is fulfilling and hard to find? I should also add that I suffer from clinical depression and often use isolation as a coping mechanism, so I’m unsure if I instinctually want to pull away because I’m having negative feelings and am scared of being hurt, or if it’s the “right” thing to end something that isn’t giving me what I want. — Looking For More
Your instinct to pull away from this relationship is not based on an unfounded or irrational fear of getting hurt. You are ALREADY being hurt, so your fear is completely founded and rational, and to stay in a relationship that leaves you feeling hurt, jealous, and tortured, and one that threatens your already low self-esteem, simply because one aspect of the relationship is phenomenal, is reckless and short-sighted.
Not only is this “relationship” never going to progress past a sex-buddy fling, but also by continuing to invest enormous amounts of energy and effort and emotional labor into this dead-end relationship, you are depleting those resources that you could be investing in finding a more suitable match. Your metaphorical taxi light is off because you already have a ride, and as you pass other potential rides that could result in higher or better fares (still metaphorically speaking), they see your sign is off and wait for the next taxi without even signaling to you that they’re looking.
Yes, sexual compatibility is an important part of a relationship, and when you have particular kinks that may narrow your pool of compatible partners, it’s understandable that you’d want to make a relationship work with someone with whom you share great sex. But as you’re learning, it’s equally important—if not more so—to have a partner who actually wants to be in a real relationship with you and who lifts you up and makes you feel good about yourself. You need to be compatible in other ways beyond just sex, and you and your current sex partner are not.
If you weren’t looking for a relationship, my advice would be different. If the sex you shared with this woman supplemented a life that wasn’t lacking for romantic companionship, my advice would be different. If you had healthy self-esteem that this relationship didn’t threaten, my advice would be different. But then, if any of this were the case, you wouldn’t have written in for my thoughts in the first place.
You need to stop having sex with this woman so you can find a more compatible match. If you find someone with whom you share common values, interests, mutual attraction, and chemistry, and you genuinely enjoy each other’s company, you can work on a satisfying sexual relationship together even if that aspect isn’t a total match right out of the gate. It’s so much easier to work on that aspect of a relationship with someone you click with in other ways than to try to make a relationship work with someone with whom you only click on a sexual level.
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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.
JD September 20, 2018, 8:03 am
You should never date anyone who doesn’t meet your needs as far as what you want in a relationship. It seems you are putting more effort to attempt to make it more but if that isn’t what is in the cards then don’t do it. Sexual comparability is great but i assure you there is someone else out there who is on the same page as you sexually and does want a relationship.
Artsygirl September 20, 2018, 8:39 am
Hi LW- I was just wondering why you think your FWBs has no potential as a relationship. It seems clear that both of you are looking for one, since she continues to date and you say you want one. Have you spoken with her about the possibility of becoming exclusive? If she shoots you down, then I would walk away. You are not having your emotional needs fulfilled and this situation is having negative effects on your self esteem.
Bittergaymark September 20, 2018, 10:10 am
Disagree. To me, the other woman has made it QUITE clear she is NOT interested in a more serious relationship with the LW by openly dating a slew of other women as she looks for Mrs. Right.
brise September 20, 2018, 10:14 am
Your plays are the reversed mirror of your actual roles: she dominates you.
Essie September 20, 2018, 11:17 am
If you haven’t had a proper conversation with her about the kind of relationship you want with her, you should do that. Because I think a lot of your pain is coming from uncertainty and an imbalance in the relationship. You’re treating her like a girlfriend (dinners, dates, etc), you’re falling for her, and you’re not getting that back from her.
Get everything out on the table and find out where things stand. If she says she’s only looking for casual, non-exclusive dating/sex and doesn’t see that changing with you, then your decision is whether to keep her in your life as an FWB and start dating other people or to walk away.
ron September 20, 2018, 12:22 pm
This is a very confusing letter. LW says she is afraid of getting hurt and that she wants a relationship, not just fwb. She is jealous that her fwb is dating. She tries to put a lot of effort into their fwb. And yet she says WE don’t have the spark for a relationship, not just her fwb partner, but her as well. So if she doesn’t see the fwb partner as relationship material, what’s the problem. How can she get hurt and why is she jealous of a woman she doesn’t see as relationship material? It sounds like the best situation for her is to maintain the fwb, while actively dating and searching for a woman with whom there is a mutual spark. Why is LW confining herself to this fwb relationship for which she sees no relationship ? This makes no sense and is totally self-inflicted torment. She actually complains as if she does want a relationship with her fwb partner, despite saying she doesn’t. LW: get your emotions and head together and decide what you actually want and then talk about it with your fwb partner. You seem very confused and possibly not emotionally equipped to handle an fwb.
LW September 20, 2018, 2:49 pm
I guess I did not think to clairify:
That is correct, neither of us see each other as relationship material, despite liking each other’s company very much. The feelings of jealousy I have don’t “make sense”, I understand – but I think it’s human nature to not want to share our toys. So your tough-up advice is hard to do when I feel that my toy might be taken away. Also, perhaps you’ve never been rejected by anyone – it sucks. I have been dating other people as well. She is the person who I have most consistently seen and have the most compatibly with thus far. The reason we’ve held on this long is because of our kink compatibility.
Dating when you are of deviant sexual, gender, or kink orientation is very difficult. This is often hard for people to understand when they are straight, cis, and/or vanilla. Letting go of something that’s “not what I want anyway” may not seem like a big deal, but consider that queers are (approximately) ten percent of the population, liking women cuts that statistic in half, and add kink – suddenly the amount of people available to me becomes very diminutive.
Bittergaymark September 20, 2018, 4:41 pm
Wait. Now I am confused. Why exactly DON’T you want to date her?
dinoceros September 20, 2018, 6:28 pm
Seeing someone as relationship material is not always the same as having feelings for them. There have been guys who I’ve dated and liked who I knew were not compatible with me and would be crappy boyfriends, but I still felt that way about them. I don’t know if that what she meant, but it’s not that uncommon.
misspiggy September 21, 2018, 2:05 am
Submissive lesbian women might be rare, but I’d guess that submissive bisexual women are quite a bit more common. Worth seeking out online, perhaps?
ron September 20, 2018, 8:33 pm
Still stranger, yet confirms most of my thoughts. What’s strange. You say in response that you are afraid of having your toy taken away, but in your original letter you asked if you should dump her. You ask if I’ve ever been rejected. Of course I have. In a relationship I wished to progress and many times asking a woman for a date. We all suffer rejection. This question leads me to believe that you fear rejection so much more than losing your toy that you are considering throwing away the toy so that you can be the dumper rather than the dumpee and not feel rejected. I really doubt it is going to fell a whole lot better. Either way you’ll feel a big sense of loss and face the task of finding another fwb or relationship with someone who matches your kinks and you click with.
You are dating, so I don’t see the down side in just continuing your satisfying fwb at the same time and checking your ego/fear of rejection at the door. I doubt it will be rejection anyway. Likeliest, whichever of you finds a serious relationship with the same sexual chemistry first will end the fwb. That’s not rejection, it’s simply one of you moving on to the relationship you both seek.
dinoceros September 20, 2018, 6:26 pm
If you wanted a relationship, but felt fine settling for sex for now, that would be fine. But you don’t feel fine. You feel bad about yourself. So, it’s not worth it. Break up because you two don’t want the same things.