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Episode 36: You Tube sensation, a father’s appreciation, pajamas in public

Dear Guys,

I’ve been doing this “friends with benefits” thing with a friend of mine for about a little over a month now.  He was recently in a serious relationship, as was I. I made it clear that I was not looking for a relationship and he did as well.  We made rules and came to agreements about the situation. One of the major agreements being that we wouldn’t fall for each other and that if one of us did develop feelings we would back out.  However, I am starting to develop feelings for him. I get the feeling that he is harboring romantic feelings towards me as well.  He’s doing little things like reaching for my hand, running his fingers through my hair, or just pecking me on the lips every once in a while.  But he pulls back whenever this side of him starts to show.  I am not saying that I necessarily want a relationship with him, but I can’t help but feel this tension between us-not just sexual.  I have no idea what to do. I’ve never been in this situation before.  I don’t know if I should just ignore my feelings and continue to have fun, or drop the bomb and get it over with.  It would also be helpful if you guys could maybe help me understand what this guys mindset might be?

I’d be grateful for any insight you guys might be able to offer… HELP!

Morgarita

Dear Morgarita,

Thanks for your question.

We don’t know who coined the phrase “friends with benefits” but it certainly has become part of the relationship landscape. In some ways it’s a great situation. It’s safe: meaning you’re limiting your number of partners and cutting down the risk of STDs. And the sex is often great because there’s an immediate comfort level, but still with the initial excitement of an early stage relationship. However, it’s also ripe for confusion, frustration, and hurt feelings.

We tend to think guys benefit more from this type of relationship because they seem better able to separate their emotions from their physical desires. We’re not surprised that after a month or so you’re already developing feelings for your friend. It’s natural. Women tend to look for a partner who is funny, smart, interesting, and stable. Sure, good looks and a hot body are important, but they don’t necessarily determine whether or not a woman will fall for a guy. This guy you’re with probably has all of these qualities otherwise you probably wouldn’t have been his friend before you started sleeping with him.

For men, good looks and good sex, are usually must haves. That’s not to say we’re so shallow that we don’t care about humor, smarts, and other important qualities, it just means if we’re not attracted physically the game is over. But one important point to note: men can have sex with a woman and not be interested in anything more. Yes, we like to connect with the women we love through sex, but that doesn’t mean we love all the women we have sex with.

It’s hard to say what is going on his mind. The tender moments you describe could be him falling for you, or they could be part of blurred boundaries that will continue to happen in this relationship you so carefully and cautiously set up. Putting rules in place seems like a very practical thing to do, but rules and relationships have never been ideal partners, because the heart is going to do what it wants without consulting the head. And in your case, that’s what’s happening.

So we say go for it. Get it over with. Drop the bombshell. It’s been about two weeks since you asked this question, so that puts your relationship at around the two month mark. That’s certainly a reasonable time in which to have a more serious discussion, especially since you’ve already been partaking in activities that usually accompany a more serious commitment.

If he tells you he’s not interested you can always salvage your “friends with benefits” relationship. He will still be interested in that scenario pretty much no matter what you say to him. It might be awkward for a little bit, but trust us, he’ll want to continue at some point unless he finds someone else. Of course, we don’t know what you’d get from going back to the way it was if you truly want more from the relationship than just sex. It seems to us, if you do drop the bombshell, you should be prepared for the best and worst. Hopefully he feels the same as you and wants to take this to the next level. And if he doesn’t, at least you’ll have your answer. We’ll say it again, and probably another 100 times: nothing venture, nothing gained.

Good luck Morgarita. We hope it works out for you.

THE GUYS

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