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imagypsytraveler's avatar

How would you classify a 10 year intimate relationship?

Asked by imagypsytraveler (12points) July 25th, 2014

I would like opinions on an intimate relationship which includes sex, dating and personal informational discussions throughout the years…but does not include discussions of marriage and is not monogamous…would you have expected a relationship like the one described to last this long?

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31 Answers

filmfann's avatar

I would have expected that some discussion about it would have happened a long time ago.

imagypsytraveler's avatar

we are both divorced and do not want to marry…in the early years of our relationship both were less monogamous then we are now…not having to do with increased commitment to one another…but not sure??

kritiper's avatar

Sorta like riding a horse that wasn’t yours for 10 years as it slowly developed a swayback.

janbb's avatar

Sounds like something I wouldn’t mind shooting for in my next relationship except that I would want it to be exclusive.

Are you not sure about how you feel about it or how your partner feels? If so, sounds like time for some soulsearching or communicating.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Not for me to judge. If it works for the two of you, then who is anyone to label it?

Ten years is far longer than a lot of married people stay together.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Why classify it? If you two get what you need out of it, be happy. /ot everything fits in tidy little boxes, it’s ok.

hearkat's avatar

As others have noted, it is defined by what you represent to one another. Is there any emotional involvement or commitment? Are you significant others, or friends with benefits?

imagypsytraveler's avatar

FWB don’t go on dates…they only have sex is my understanding of it…we are friends…what would you say commitment is? i feel loving, caring feelings toward him…he helps me when i need it and offers advice…listens to me when i have problems…takes me places…

hearkat's avatar

When I had a FWB for a year, we went to dinner, movies, and shows. That’s what I do with my platonic friends, too. But the ‘benefit’ was having sex in addition to the friendship. There were no strings attached. People who get together only for sex are what I’d call fuck-buddies.

Are the loving and caring feelings between you romantic, or are they akin to what you feel toward platonic friends? Do you tell each other, “I love you”? If there’s a romance there, I’d call it “significant others.”

imagypsytraveler's avatar

I would have to say the loving and caring feelings are like what you would have with platonic friends. We do not tell each other “I love you” on any serious level. I exhibit more “touchy, feely” gestures but to say “romantic” I would have to say no…this relationship is 10 years old.

hearkat's avatar

Then I would call it friends with benefits, or no strings attached. Many people find that these arrangements work well post-divorce.

imagypsytraveler's avatar

I think there’s a question within the question. If it’s FWB, as some think, could it go on for such a long period of time and not be more. Please don’t say it’s a long FWB!!

anniereborn's avatar

An open relationship.

El_Cadejo's avatar

Everyone approaches relationships from a different angle. If it works for the parties involved, who am I to judge?

livelaughlove21's avatar

I’d call it a relationship, because that’s what it is. It’s not an exclusive relationship, but it’s still a relationship.

I’d be embarrassed to call my relationship an FWB type of thing after 30 years of age, even if that’s what it was, but that’s just me. It sounds juvenile. And “FWBs don’t date” is ludicrous – that’s the “friends” part of the equation.

Why does it need a label, anyway? Why don’t you ask him what he’d call it instead of a bunch of strangers on the Internet? If you’ve been doing this for 10 years, you shouldn’t be afraid to talk to the dude.

hearkat's avatar

@imagypsytraveler – I was just going based on your description. You said that the feelings you have for this person are like those you have for a friend. You suggested that it’s not romantic and that there are no intentions toward marriage. If a friends with benefits arrangement is agreeable to the parties involved, then of course it could go on for decades.

You could call it a long-term relationship, and you could refer to him as your partner or SO, but to me, that implies deeper romantic feelings and a degree of commitment that is greater than what close friends share (regardless of whether they’re sleeping together). I’m getting a vibe from your most recent comment, however, that you might want it to be more than FWB. – are you sure the feelings you have aren’t romantic?

I am just considering classifications for the relationship. I was 32 when I had a FWB – I don’t see what age has to do with it. My elderly patients who are not married but bring the person they’re involved with to appointments often introduce them as their “friend” – the benefits part is implied.

Our society hasn’t really established good terminology for these situations. “Boyfriend” definitely sounds silly over 35, which is why my fiancé and I got engaged – we’ve been emotionally committed since our first date, and as good as married but without the paperwork since we moved in together. But describing one another as bf and gf felt awkward in our late 40s, so we talked about it and decided to get engaged to change the descriptors. We’ll get married eventually – when it is pragmatic to our lives; so we’ll be each other’s fiancé for years. You do what feels right and works best for you.

livelaughlove21's avatar

@hearkat “I was 32 when I had a FWB – I don’t see what age has to do with it.”

You’re clearly referring to my statement, but I was pretty clear as to why I would be embarrassed to use the term FWB to describe my relationship after 30…because I think it sounds juvenile. Can you imagine one of your patients saying, “oh yeah, he’s my FWB”? She might sound odd saying that, because it’s typically a term used by teens and people in their 20s.

I didn’t say everyone over 30 should be embarrassed by that – just that I would. If also be embarrassed to use the term “bestie” or “BFF” after…well, after high school.

hearkat's avatar

@livelaughlove21 – I also explained that I was describing the classification of the relationship, as the OP asked in the question title. Then I went on to say that our culture lacks appropriate terminology and that people in FWB arrangements, including the elderly (I’m talking 80+), describe each other as their “friend”. If anyone, at any age, introduced someone to me as their “friend with benefits”, it would be awkward – whether or not someone is sleeping with someone else is not my business..

I use the abbreviation BFF and sometimes say bestie in casual conversation to describe those people in my life, to distinguish them from other friends; and I’ve seen many people over 30 and even 50 do the same. I’ll introduce them as “my best friend” or even sometimes we say “bestest friend” to be fun and also indicate that we’ve known each other since childhood. Of course, we’re self-confident and not worried about what other people think about us. Perhaps when you’re over 30 yourself, your opinions will change.

livelaughlove21's avatar

@hearkat I wouldn’t be embarrassed because of what others might think of me if I use these terms. I’d be embarrassed because I know what I think about those terms. Same reason I’ve never uttered the term “YOLO,” because I’d feel like a freaking idiot, even if no one around me thought anything of it.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

Ten years of hard work without a net. They both should get a medal.

I see no reason for marriage—the legal twining of resources, all the extended family involvement, all the extraneous shit that goes with a legal union—when there is no intention of ever having children. If all the couple wants is monogamous love, there is absolutely no reason to bring in all that other stuff which, in my opinion, can dampen the ardour.

The perfect childless relationship to me would involve having separate homes, or townhouses, or condos, next door to each other and possibly an exchange of keys. Both have their own private space when they wish, yet access to each other when it is convenient to both. One home may be hardly ever used, but it is always there. They can entertain those friends that their SO can’t stand, decorate in their own tastes, pursue those activities their SO is not interested in, etc., etc. I think that is important. It would be the best of both worlds and would best facilitate longevity of the relationship.

imagypsytraveler's avatar

@hearkat From the first I’ve felt a connection, described sometimes as a “deju vu”. This is not an uncommon phenomenon due to part of the brain (the unconscious) retaining all the emotions experienced during a lifetime. When this feeling of “knowing the person before” happens, it’s due to the fact, that on an emotional level, you have. That’s the best way I can describe my feelings for this person when first meeting him.

hearkat's avatar

@imagypsytraveler – I’ve had that experience, it is what I describe when people ask if I believe in love at first sight. For me it was romantic, but it was a rebound for both of us and didn’t work out.

You still haven’t indicated whether you want this to be more than FWB. If you do, you obviously will need to address these feelings with the gentleman you’re dating. However, if you come on to strong, it could drive him away. Some might say that would be for the best, since having incompatible feelings will ultimately cause relationship problems anyway, so why let it drag out with uncertainty?

imagypsytraveler's avatar

Some of my friends think I have more romantic feelings for him then I admit to. Like I said before, I’ve had these loving, caring feelings since I met him…so it’s nothing new to me. Every so often I will tell him or indicate in some way how I feel…the general response from him is
“Pat I have issues” (I should mention here that he is a lawyer) and has lawyer blood running through his veins! I say this because he keeps a very close check on his feelings…plays his cards very close to the chest. I know, and suppose I’ve always known that we could never be “in love” that we will be friends and why isn’t that enough? So far, it has been ok. At the beginning of our relationship I was dating other men, and him. The only person I was intimate with was him. I was traveling more. I moved out of the area for a period of time. Now fast forward to the present…I am no longer dating other men…one died, one got married, one moved to China, one is trying to reconnect with me…I have less interest in dating others because I am comfortable with him. We have similar interests, etc. I have fun with him. A recent situation developed which has concerned me. I am beginning to question the “friendship” part of our relationship. He has always had female friends (and male). He tells me he is not intimate with them although they do things together which I would like to do with him and I am angry about this where I wasn’t before when I had others to do things with. Consequentely, I have been relying on him more for social activities and have to say I am resenting his time spent with these “other friends”. So, I don’t necessarily want more than what has been termed “FWB” but would like more of the “friends” part of our relationship. I am beginning to want more of his time.

janbb's avatar

Sounds like you are answering your own questions and now need to talk about these feelings with him. It also sounds like you are aware that you may risk losing him by asking for more than he wants to give.

anniereborn's avatar

@Espiritus_Corvus I couldn’t agree more!

imagypsytraveler's avatar

Why would I risk losing him just by asking for more? I don’t understand how this could happen?

imagypsytraveler's avatar

In addition to my last question, I am afraid of this, still not quite understanding why this could happen??

hearkat's avatar

If he feels pressured by you suggesting that you have emotional attachment to him or that you want the relationship to evolve into something more “involved”, he might freak out and end it. But you know him way better than any of us do, and you’ve already approached him with the subject, it seems.

Perhaps try finding more friends besides him so that you’re not as dependent on him for company? Many of us on this site have found groups based on our interests on Or you could take some classes or do some volunteering.

imagypsytraveler's avatar

Thank you so much for all your thoughtful answers…really appreciate them.

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

I’d describe that relationship as None of My Business. If two people are content and make each other happy, I have no right to classify their relationship or assign labels.

I don’t think I’d introduce the couple as, “John and his partner, Mary,” or “John and his significant other, Mary.” I’d prefer to say, “John and Mary.”

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

I would classify it as time wasted.

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