I am a freshman here at the College. I have been messing around with this guy from home since halfway through my senior year in high school – about a year-and-a-half now. We casually dated for the first six months or so, because I had just gotten out of a serious relationship and wasn’t ready for anything serious right away. I felt very close to him, especially because he was the first person with whom I had sex. When summer came around, he wasn’t into the idea of a relationship anymore, and I was finally warming up to the idea. We fought about it a lot because he wanted his freedom and I wanted to be with him and only him.
Eventually we got past it, and I accepted that I couldn’t change his mind. We then became what you would call friends with benefits. As the summer wore on, however, we became less of the “friends” part, and more of the “benefits.” We stopped hanging out just to hang out, and started just hanging out to mess around. For a while this was fine, but then it began to upset me. I told him how I felt, and he said that he would try to change it, but it never happened. I learned to accept this and not let it upset me anymore.
First semester I went home a lot, partially to be with him because we still kept in touch. This semester I have been doing that less, but I still see him sometimes when I go home for other reasons. I feel like this whole thing is going nowhere, but it’s so hard to resist the urge when I go home. Is this whole thing extremely unhealthy? I’m so confused! Help!
– Frustrated F$%@ Buddy
Dear Frustrated F$%@ Buddy,
My housemate heard my grunt of annoyance from down the hall as I read your letter. Maybe I’ve just seen it all and assume everyone else has too, but I think most women have experienced a situation eerily similar to this one. A few weeks ago, I wrote a column on the dangers of f-buddies, or friends with benefits, and this is exactly why!
First off, he may not have been all stoked to get serious when you came back for the summer because his ego was still hurt from your lack of excitement to couple up previously – which is totally understandable. You’d just gotten out of a serious relationship, and entering college in a relationship is pretty much a death sentence (sorry to dash anyone’s hopes). You were exploring your options, leaving them open and enjoying the company and loving of a great guy. Cool.
But now, you’ve had your tour de TCNJ and realized that there’s no studly prince riding down the corridors of T/W on a white horse looking to rescue you from the post-pubescent awkward guy who lives next door. That’s not how things work here. So, you were a bit disillusioned, or maybe you just got the whole single-and-ready-to-mingle-at-dirty-frat-houses out of your system. You were ready to settle down with this special boy, who was your first and a great friend.
Still not looking too bad, except . shocker! Now he wants his freedom. Typical! This is either because he’s being spiteful, he had a great first year experience at his college or he genuinely just wants his “freedom” (whatever that means. Aren’t good relationships supposed to give you wings? Oh wait, that’s Red Bull).
Settling for “friends with benefits” was probably your first and only mistake. There’s a myth out there that only girls want to be in relationships and men want to sow their wild oats or what have you, but this is totally untrue. Every person, male or female, should act however they please, regardless of what is expected of them – which you did in the first place by not wearing his pin last summer. You had every right to offer a casual situation, and he had every right to object to it, which he didn’t. So now that the situation is flipped, and you’re ready to be serious and monogamous, you should have settled for nothing less.
Maybe it’s unrealistic to set your sights for the seemingly unattainable boy – one that will keep it in his pants around other girls – but it is entirely possible. Stressing your desire to be monogamous rather than silencing your conscience may have caused a break or fight, but how happy are you with him right now anyway?
OK, I won’t yell at you for giving in to his wants and ignoring your own, because we’ve all been there. But the only practical way to rectify this situation is to stop seeing him. I’m not saying run and hide in the bathroom if you see him at a party or make things awkward if you bump into each other at the mall. But don’t go out of your way to see him or hook up.
You’re probably past the point of getting serious with him, but it’s worth a shot if you truly care about him. If he’s being difficult, tell him to go find a new girl and stop wasting your time with him. Sure, your first time will always be special, but people often forget that every time after that should be special too. Don’t hold him on a pedestal and cling to something that’s not even there.
Summer’s around the corner (thank God), so go home with a set plan of how to react to his advances and stifle your own raging hormones (I suggest blocking his name on instant messenger and finding a time-consuming hobby that will soak up your sexual energy . or just meet a new person!)
Sorry to be harsh, but I refuse to see another soul lost in the black hole of the f-buddy zone!