Social Question

drdoombot's avatar

Friends with benefits with an ex. Asking for trouble?

Asked by drdoombot (8095 points ) September 10th, 2012

My relationship (of about 4 months) as succinctly as possible: we became very good friends and the sex was awesome. She expected a lot, I couldn’t deliver, and she blamed me for not trying. The constant disagreements and her emotional instability made me realize that it wouldn’t work in the long term, so I broke it off.

I miss the friendship we had but she claims friendship is too painful at this point. However, she wants to continue having sex, with the only rule being that we have to let the other one know if we start dating someone else.

The problem is, I know that she’s lonely and wants to have someone to talk to on the phone and hang out with. Add sex to the mix and it looks to me like a relationship with a different name. I told her that if she wants the sex, she can’t have the other stuff. After all, intimacy both inside and outside the bedroom will create or sustain romantic feelings, wont it?

She was upset that I suggested we limit our other interactions if we’re going to do the casual sex thing. I’m trying to protect her feelings as well as my own. Is this whole thing too messy a proposition to begin with?

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20 Answers

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elbanditoroso's avatar

Yes, it’s messy. She wants to have her cake and eat it too. She wants to sleep with you and talk to you and limit who you can see… but she doesn’t want a relationship with you.

But those demands on her part are a relationship with you, whether you and she admit it or not.

You are at a crossroads, as you have noted in the question. Do you move on with your life, or do you humor her? Because that’s what it boils down to. As you describe it, she is NOT your ex – and it this rate, won’t be.

Coloma's avatar

LOL..ya think? You’re not “asking” for trouble, you are on your hands and knees, naked, blindfolded and just BEGGING for it.
Why not just go lie down on the railroad tracks, it’ll be much quicker and less painful after the trainwreck you’re contemplating.

gailcalled's avatar

“I am trying to protect her feelings.” That is not your job; it is hers.

tedd's avatar

FWB almost always ends with someone being hurt, especially if it’s between x’s.

Either get back with her, or cut her entirely free.

sinscriven's avatar

She’s not being honest with you (or herself) by saying she wants NSA. She wouldn’t have gotten upset that you want to limit contact otherwise.

Cut off communication with her completely for a while so she has time to heal. It is not your responsibility to protect her, she needs to learn from her own actions.

wonderingwhy's avatar

Normally I might suggest taking the risk and try to make it work, my best friend is an ex, and hey, good friendships are worth their weight in… well just about anything. But this… this sounds, not like a mess waiting to happen, but a mess waiting to explode in your face and take most of your head with it. To me you said two of the magic words: emotional instability, if that’s not enough here’s two more: RUN AWAY.

janbb's avatar

Too messy.

rojo's avatar

Run, don’t walk, run away.

marinelife's avatar

Run, don’t walk, away.

snapdragon24's avatar

Not gonna be good. She has feelings. Your over it. She’ll try to wheel you in with hope of you coming back… especially if sex is involved. Been there, done that… and its one big headache. You down? Lol

chyna's avatar

Don’t do it!

creative1's avatar

Don’t do it, it doesn’t work when feelings have been part of a relationship previously.

Kardamom's avatar

I think most FWB’s relationships are sketchy and messy at best, but in this particular situation, because, “she claims friendship is too painful at this point.” means that she is still in love with you or if she doesn’t want to call it love, then she still feels very passionate towards you.

She might be “agreeing” to the meaningless sex part of it, but it’s not really true. It’s not meaningless to her. She’s hoping in her heart of hearts, in the back of her mind, that if she has the no-strings-attached sex with you, that you will eventually come around and want to be a real boyfriend/mate to her.

You broke up with her because you couldn’t give her what she wants/needs. So now she’s taking what she can get from you and hoping that you will change your mind. Been there, done that.

Most likely what will happen is that she will start suggesting that you give her certain things (mostly emotional things) and then she will start acting a little or a lot jealous if you show any interest in anyone else, or if you once again, don’t come through for her. You will be in the almost the exact same situation you were in before, but it will have a nebulous name.

Eventually you will come to resent her and you’ll dump her again. She will become increasingly lovey-dovey and then weepy when she doesn’t get the love-dovey back from you.

You might think you’re doing her a favor by giving her sex, but sex really isn’t the only thing she wants and you will end up hurting her again if you enter into the FWB’s zone. I seriously doubt that she can be just friends with you either, because she has much more emotional involvment with you and she really does want more. It would be cruel to pretend like this kind of thing will work out.

deni's avatar

Yes. Stop it before it starts. Seriously. You said it yourself, she wants more, things are just gonna get messier the longer you let it go on. Sex, especially with someone you cared a lot about at one point VERY recently, will only complicate things more! And if you do it, then you tell her you’re with someone else, oh god how is she going to feel then? That’s gonna hurt a lot, and maybe if it’s the other way around it’ll hurt you too. Yikes, yeah, just, don’t do it!

laurenkem's avatar

Yes to what @Kardamom said – “It’s not meaningless to her.”

Crumpet's avatar

I did that with the first ever girlfriend I had (the girl I lost my virginity too) and after a while it just ended up messy.

I’ve also done it with a girl who I just considered as just a friend after we had a drunken one night stand at a party. I ended up having crazy mixed up feelings for her.

The moral is; friends with benefits might sound appealing at first, but it always goes sour.

wundayatta's avatar

I think you’re a little confused about things, too. You miss the friendship, and yet, to punish her, you want to refuse to be friends with her as a condition for having sex with her. That’s messed up.

It sounds to me like you would like to have a real relationship with her as long as she could accept your friendship at the level you can provide it to her. You don’t mention what it was that she expected and you couldn’t deliver, but that must be the crux of the issue.

You are effectively negotiating over this without actually saying you are negotiating over it. As a result, you are lashing out and withholding in a very codependent manner. I’m surprised my friend “I see codependency everywhere” @Coloma didn’t call that one, but I will.

I think you both like each other and love each other, but this issue of expectations is too much for you to handle on your own. You’ve decided to break it all off since you don’t know how to negotiate a better deal. She’s trying to get you to come back and talk, since she knows there’s enough there to create a good relationship. You’re angry with her, and are trying to punish her in an attempt to get her to reduce her demands, and then you ask us what you are doing, because you don’t understand what you are doing.

I think you are in over your head. I think you’d like a relationship with this woman if it could be slightly less intense. If these expectations could be reduced. Whatever they are.

I think you guys can’t handle this on your own. So what will happen is you will cut it off because you don’t have the skills to fix it.

The only thing I can think is that you need professional relationship help. You need someone to cut to the chase here, i.e., what she expects that you can’t find a way to successfully reduce and make livable. Then you need to focus on this area and be very practical. What do you want? What does she want? What can you give? What can she give? Negotiate a practical solution.

It’s an alternative. Frankly, I doubt it is a doable alternative. Most people your age (I’m guessing your are in your 20s) won’t get professional help. You might not even have insurance that covers it. You can also go to couples workshops that might be affordable, depending on what part of the country you live in.

So, what will happen if you stay in this fwb relationship without help is that you will keep engaging in the codependent circle. Push me, pull you. One withdrawing, the other pursuing, then switch roles. It will go until you can’t stand it any more and you really do cut it off. You may have to go through this in order to really believe you need to cut it off. But the end, if you do not change the pattern, is inevitable.

Or you could change the pattern. Read about codependent relationships. Learn techniques to break the pattern. See a therapist or go to a couples workshop to learn how to change things. Then you’ll have a chance. If it’s worth it, you’ll give it a chance. But if you go it alone, it’ll be over in six months or less, is my bet.

snapdragon24's avatar

Wow @wundayatta…that is some very intense truth. I like it.

Shippy's avatar

She never was a friend, with benefits.

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