Friends With Benefits

Spring is finally here! This had to be one of the craziest winters in New York. We dealt with Super-storm Sandy and unfortunately we found Nemo. Now it is time to shed the North Faces, Uggs, and dreary colors, for sun dresses, sandals, and bright colors. People are getting over cabin fever and men get to enjoy the view that shorter hemlines afford them.

Spring is also the time flowers bloom, and with that so do new relationships. The one I will talk about today is the infamous friends with benefits (FWB) relationship. Urban Dictionary (2013) defines friends with benefits as, "A healthy, fun sexual relationship between two people...... Until one falls for the other, The friendship blows to pieces. And those two people find themselves worse off than they were before." This is the best definition of the relationship that I have ever heard. There are a lot of men and women out there that think this relationship is healthy but let me tell you from experience it is not.

In November of 2010 I broke up with my son's father and vowed not to enter another committed relationship for two years. My goals were to focus on my children, school, getting in shape, and traveling. With all that on my plate I did not have time to make a man a priority.

In July of 2011, I went to study study art in Spain. While I was there, I stayed in contact with family and friends, using Skype and Facebook. One night, after drinking some great tasting Spanish wine and partying with new friends, I got a message on Facebook from a man. Well this was not just any man, it was my childhood crush. He had a proposition for me. He wanted to have a FWB relationship. It made me feel like I was in the movie "Indecent Proposal." It had been several months since I had been with anyone and he was offering me all the benefits of a relationship but, I had the ability to still live my life the way I saw fit. I could go where ever I wanted, when I wanted, and with whom I wanted. I mulled the idea over with some guy and girl friends, they all thought it was a go.

On my last night in Spain I responded to the young man. To respect his privacy I will refer to him as Martin. I told Martin I was down and we promptly set-up a date to hang-out. Our first encounter started with a risque game of strip poker. I lost as expected.... This one hot night led to a 9 month torrid affair.

While I enjoyed all the affection, the dates, and attention, something about this relationship just never felt right. During our time together, he never dated anyone else (so he says) however, I did. I traveled, partied, modeled, hell I even did a music video (which he picked me up from). I started to feel a sense of guilt, which led me to believe I was falling for him. Truth be told the more I got to know him, the less I wanted a relationship. It actually turned me off more to the idea.

As time progressed I began to prepare for graduation from undergrad and applying to law schools. Out of the 16 schools I applied to 3 were in NY and I got into 2 of them. I still chose to go outside of the state. I accepted a scholarship to LSU and left. That is not something one does when they feel attached to someone.

I know that based off this brief description of the relationship it does not sound that bad. I feel as if I need to go a little deeper, so I am going to describe how it felt emotionally.

Since Martin was my childhood crush, the situation started with pre-existing feelings. We went from texting once in a while to spending hours on the phone. He paid every time we went out. We shared secrets and intimate details of our lives. We showed one another affection in public. We had feelings for one another but, I wanted to move, and he did not want to be with a woman with children.

Another consequence of the relationship is jealousy. I never felt it but he expressed it. He made little comments about me dating other guys and doing my thing. I also feel that since feelings were involved we would get into fights over silly things and not speak for weeks. Some of the things that were said were hurtful on both parts.

I also felt cheap. I mean what man is going to buy the cow when he is getting the milk for free. I did not like living like that. If I was going to engage in activity with anyone, I wanted it to be meaningful. An experience we shared because we both cared deeply for one another. In this case it was not. It was just two people that should have been friends, and only friends, in a pseudo-relationship.

All in all it felt like I had boyfriend. People in our neighborhood viewed us as a couple, and whether we like to admit it or not; if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and looks like a duck, its a duck!
The relationship ended in March of 2012, with a major falling out. We did not speak for 6 months and when we started speaking again it felt awkward. We hung out recently and I found myself about to fall in the same trap. There is a level of comfort and a false sense of stability that an FWB relationship provides. I know I can get from him what I desire of a man even though he is not my man, and he knows he can get the same from me.

 I did tell him I felt it was an unhealthy relationship and it caused more hurt than good. He still believes that because he said he wanted XYZ, I should not feel hurt at all. That is what it always boils down to the delusion of it all. No matter what each partner in the situation says it becomes confusing and complicated. The lines always get blurred. People do not realize one partner really wants it to go further while the other wants to play the field. It very rarely turns into a committed relationship, the parties involved do not usually stay true friends, and it hardly ends without leaving battle scars. My advice is do not do it and if you do, don't make it a lifestyle. It is a trap! Either live the single life or be in a relationship, straddling both fences only leads to trouble. Well this is me signing off. Remember all isn't fair in love and War!