My ex husband and I have been divorced for almost six years. He broke up with his much younger girlfriend about two years ago, who is also the girl he cheated with while we were married.
A year ago he asked me if I wanted FWB. I agreed. It’s been a little over a year that we have been doing this. He talks about having sex until we are old. He isn’t looking for anyone. He says I fulfill his needs. We have four children together who have no idea we do this. The children are 15-20 years of age. He reminisces everyday with me. He says I’m the best he’s ever had. He now is wanting to take me out “just to drink” then have sex. He says it’s like the good times we had. He says he cares about me but doesn’t love me. Last time we had sex he begged me to tell him that I love him during and he made the comment that we are now making love not just sex. He says he doesn’t want me to get hurt and that we can end this any time I want. He is okay with that. Yet he says if I have a boyfriend he will still try to have sex with me. Does he really want just FWB? Is he trying to have something more but scared? Is this a self-esteem issue?
We’re curious. Why did you agree to a FWB with your husband? Are you hoping to rekindle what you had?
Understand that guys propose Friends with Benefits because they want to have sex without the “complications” of a relationship. It’s a way for them to get their needs met and still keep their independence. For some guys it’s a perfect situation.
Women, on the other hand, often agree to a FWB arrangement because they believe something might develop from it. (At least from our experience answering questions.) In your case Cathy, you need to listen to his words. He doesn’t want to get remarried. He doesn’t want to begin a committed relationship with you. He wants your company, he wants to have sex with you, he likes the fact that the two of you have a history—it makes it safe and comfortable—and he likes the fact that the two of you can talk about your kids together, almost as if you were a family again, but not quite. However, he also likes that he has some control over you. His statement, “Even if you have a boyfriend I’ll still try to have sex with you” is his way of flexing his proverbial muscles, letting you know that he is the alpha no matter what you do, or who you are with.
Is this a self-esteem issue? Perhaps. Perhaps not. Sometimes men will cheat because they have a self-esteem issue. They need to know they are desirable to many women. Then again, some men cheat just because the opportunity arises, and they are no longer committed to their partner.
It seems that you still love your ex-husband, or are certainly open to trying again, but we don’t get the sense the two of you are on the same page. Have you talked to him about this? He keeps telling you that you can end it anytime. What do you say to that? Another thing to consider is his prior indiscretions. You said he cheated on you while you were married. Have you forgiven him for that? What makes you think that wouldn’t happen again if you got back together?
By agreeing to a FWB arrangement, you’ve put yourself in an emotional holding pattern. It may be fun, it may feel comfortable, it may give you hope, but if it’s not going anywhere we don’t think it’s a great place for you. You need to decide what you want Cathy and then talk with him about it. If you truly want to work your way back to being with your ex-husband we suggest you have a heart-to-heart conversation with him. If he waffles, or says he’s not sure, that’s a pretty good indicator that he knows but doesn’t want to say.
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