Ask A Guy: Am I Too Old To Have A ‘Friend With Benefits?’ post image

Ask A Guy: Am I Too Old To Have A ‘Friend With Benefits?’


As I enter deeper into my twenties, any time I’m around family or friends (that I do not communicate with on the regular), I get the question, “Are you seeing anyone?” And I never really know how to answer. For a while I’ve been “seeing” this guy who is absolutely lovely, but isn’t my boyfriend. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want him to be my boyfriend. We are just friends who get along great and are sexually attracted to each other. I just don’t want a relationship right now and I think he feels the same I like my weekends open to go out with my girlfriends or whatever comes my way.

While I do like this “thing” I have going on, I get the feeling that people look down upon girls who have friends with benefits. Even though I’m not going out and picking up guys every night, I still get the feeling that people think I’m doing something wrong. I don’t really want to give up the deal I have right now, but I don’t want to have to lie to my friends about who I’m going out with. Am I being promiscuous? Am I too old to have a friend with benefits? What do I do?

See our guy’s response after the jump!

This is a great question. I love this question in fact.

The reason I love this question is that I see this as really a relationship-with-yourself kind of question. You’re living with an arrangement that you’re happy with, but your social circle is asking you questions that make you think you’re doing something bad.

Now, you might say, “Well isn’t that an issue with other people and how I interact with them or talk about the subject?”

I would say no. I would say no because you have opinions that you feel strongly about and you feel “right with” in other areas of your life.  And in those areas of your life, you might have a difference of opinion in that realm, but you are fine with it. Let bygones be bygones.

Like, for me, I have certain societal views. Everyone does. I think my societal views are good… I see my views as a vision of a better, more fulfilling world. But not everybody would agree with my views. No problem – they are MY views and it’s my life and I’m OK with that.

My point here is that I have thought deeply about what I believe, what I like and what works for me. I have taken the time (and continue to take the time) to contemplate what I believe and how it works for me in my life. And the more I think about it, the more I realize that the choices that I’ve made are right for me and they don’t need to be for others.

But that’s not necessarily addressing your question. That’s more of a preamble to my answer.

My answer is that it sounds to me like you are clear on what you want. It sounds to me like you are straight-up to the guy and you both align on what you are looking for. Nobody’s leading the other on, nobody’s pretending, nobody’s getting hurt. Fundamentally, the other person in the relationship is the only person that truly matters when it comes to relationships.

Judy Garland once said, “Be a first-rate version of yourself instead of being a second-rate version of someone else.” When we are living within our vision of how we truly want life to be for us and we are moving towards that vision of the future we want, that is a huge piece of our fulfillment in life.

There are other fulfilling things. For example, being truly totally understood and seen through love in another person… that is a fulfilling experience. Helping someone in a deep and moving way… that is a fulfilling experience.

And different people get their fulfillment in different ways. At the heart of it though, beneath all the surface level and exterior things, our fulfillment is really all we’ve got. If you’re getting your fulfillment in a way that is making another person’s life better (however minor or major), then you are doing a good thing. If you are doing it in a way that is not hurting anyone, then you are doing a good thing. And don’t ever let anyone or anything stand in the way of your ability to get that kind of fulfillment.

See, you’re asking me if you’re promiscuous. You’re asking me if you’re too old to have something that you feel resembles “friends with benefits”. You’re asking me, basically, if I think you’re a bad person (or more broadly, a guy’s opinion on the matter). My opinion is that you are not. And I would bet that beneath those feelings of social fear or shame or guilt or whatever you want to call it, YOU know that you’re not too.

I was talking to Sabrina the other night about when we started A New Mode. We were talking about how people cautioned us… warned us… told us things to worry about and reasons why we shouldn’t start it. Guess what? We said there is NO WAY we are going to listen to that garbage. And what I ended up saying to Sabrina was, “When you tell most people about what you’re doing, especially about you taking your own path to fulfillment, usually the best thing they can contribute to you is the fears they would have, the worries they would think about and the failures they would anticipate. It’s garbage.”

You are doing what you want to do. That is not something to be ashamed of… that is something for you to celebrate because most people frankly don’t have the guts to do it! Most people slip into a life of “quiet desperation”… following everything that they think everyone expects of them. Meanwhile, that’s what everyone else is doing… wishing they could be the one doing what they want. But their fears and worries would eat them alive!

You are NEVER too old to do what makes you feel happy or fulfilled. If something someone is saying ever makes you feel that way – CUT THAT THREAD OFF. They’re not a bad person for it, but you are responsible for what you let into your mind. Keep that stuff out, there is nothing good there for you. Don’t get caught up in other people’s visions of what you’re ‘supposed’ to do, or the track that you’re ‘supposed’ to be on at a certain age. I believe what everyone is ‘supposed’ to do in life is what will cause them to experience the most happiness and joy (provided that their intentions are good). If you don’t want to be in a relationship right now and you are happy with what you have going on, then you’re doing exactly what you’re ‘supposed’ to do!

That’s all I’m going to say… Think about your thoughts on it. Contemplate it. Write out what you’re thinking. Get clear and go with what makes you feel happy and fulfilled.

And next time someone asks you if you’re seeing anyone, just tell them you’re “focusing on your career.” Cause nobody is going to tell you that’s a bad thing to do… ;)

- eric charles

{ 12 comments… add one }

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Trisha

Hi guys and esp hello to Eric

After reading your advices, Eric. I know what I want and what I need to do but I dont know why I’m still hang up on him. Please, give me some insight and advices on what else I should do.

Here is my situation:
We met at work and thanks God that we dont work together anymore otherwise, we will be both in trouble. It started from texting to sexting and now booty call. At first, I was cool with it but lately, I just dont feel like continue this thing anymore with him. And, dang on that oxycotin- that I felt for him a bit even though, I know I dont need a boyfriend nor a relationship now because I had bad relationships in the past and dont want any headaches or heartaches. I felt for him and texted him more that he texted me (I know I should not do that but I cant help it). I tried to end this FWB several times but I failed and run back to him.
I know that I dont want a relationship with him nor want him to be my boyfriend because he does not fit my profile. I knew from the beginning that it will not work if we ever get more than just FWB. What can I say, as I get involved more with him, I kinna want a relationship out of this but other part of me does not want to do so. Lately, he changed his job and we talked even less. Not to mention, he’s a single parent. I texted him and he texted back but at minimal response though. He isnt into me, right? I’m always the one to make effort to start the conversation and lately, he’s not in the mood to talk.
I want to move on with a new guy and start a relationship but my current situation does not permit to me so how can I move on? I’m learning to love myself more and enjoy my single life but you know, we are human after all- loneliness kicks in sometimes.
Right now, I just want to end it with him. But, if he shows me any caring or text me then I might run back to him again. He’s by far the best FWB I ever had because he keeps it cool and no dramas for me. I know that I deserve better but some how I still put up with his behavior.

Why am I doing this when I know he is not into me? From his side, do you think he just in this for casual sex?

So, what do you recommend I should do?

Thanks

Reply September 8, 2011, 6:32 pm

Teresa

Hi guys

Now, I too have friends with benefits, and im 41, been through many broken relationships and taking time to get to know me, date me and love me, but we all like to have that cuddles, hugs, and making love……..AND I DO……

I have 2 friends with benefits, both in their 20′s, these guys just love the older mature and experience woman, and I love the attention that they younger guys give me, no relationship, no dating rules no strings……

I do not hide this either, most of my friends know my agreements and think how wonderful it is that I can have the best of both worlds right now until I do find the right time to invest in a monogamous relationship.

Reply January 24, 2011, 9:10 am

Maddie

Hi Teresa -

I feel the same way. I am currently seeing a younger man and it has many good points.
If you check this site at all, I would like some advice from you. Perhaps we could
exhange e-mail addresses.

Reply September 16, 2011, 11:38 am

Rhonda

I met this guy in church. He is 9 yrs younger. He ask our mutual friend for my number. He would text me from time to time I didn’t never read into it. Then he would give me a hug and always compliment on what I was wearing. When we had functions at church he would ask me if i needed him to go get anything. He was dating a younger lady about 19 or 20. She was very mouthy, controlling, tried to be his mom instead of his woman, and was very possess towards him. He said he is broken up with her but in her mind they still together. They lived together and she wouldn’t help him with the bills. He paid for a group of us to go bowling and she took ill he stayed bowling while her mom took her to the ER. He was flirting with me the whole time I never paid it no attention. So oneday he stood on the church steps waited for me to come and greeted me and hugged me. Then he texted me and said what would I do if someone was interested in me. I can tell you didn’t want to be rejected. He has always been the same and is always so respectful to me. He started out texting me alot. Now that we have been talking he is moving out of the apartment he had me look for him another apartment. He had me pulled his credit report. Now that we have been getting to know each other I say a month he says it was longer. He recently sent me a text saying he was do some thinking and he doesn’t know what I want or expecting out of our friendship. He said he was looking to develop a relationship. His first text when he met me stated that I was a geninue person and that he sees I love the Lord and that I put God first in my life and he loved the God in me first. Then he said the night we went bowling he had so much fun with me he haven’t had fun like that in a long time. Now its like he is a little distance. I want to believe it is because he is trying to focus on moving from the apartment they once shared and get a fresh peace of mind in a new place. It is like he is setting goals for his life and inclusing me in them. I do like him and I asked him why do he see himself in a relationship with me he said because he never had a woman who had his back and cared so much for him. The other woman in the past always depended on him fully. I have supported him, helped him. I just have a hospitality spirit of myself. He doesn’t have any family here to help him. He is from down south. I am wondering if he is sincere or just telling me nice things on purpose? I recently been in a 4 yr friendship/relationship and the man went and got married I found out with discernment and looked it up then informed him. They lived together for a few months then she left him been gone since the marriage now he upset with me because I will not give him the time or day of my time. So I don’t want to penalize this young man for what I recently expeienced. Since I had been going to the church he watched me for months and months before he approached me. So I juat don’t know what to think when I don’t here from him. Somedays it consistent and some days its not?

Reply May 25, 2010, 3:20 pm

wendyw

Eric : It’s not all about ‘feeling good’ or the ‘ as long as you’re not hurting others’.. because our actions do hurt others. I like your caveat mention of good intentions. Yes, that is key.

A person can’t be too selfish and all about ‘them’ and their fulfillment. We have an obligation to help others . That isn’t my opinion. Personally, I have never seen a relationship that didn’t involve one person caring more than the other in this ‘friendship’ blurring the lines, muddying the waters thing. One of the partners usually gets attached and hurt.
Friendship , sex and romantic love have very independent definitions. This ‘friends with bennies’ is one of the meaningless fad phrases that developed within the last 10-15 years. Often a sign of immaturity that therefore causes much, much heartache for some (not for this poster, but for many). You can have a romantic interest, sexual attraction, and a friendship. This has always been my problem with men who claim they ‘started as friends, and married their ‘best friend’. Please! Sure, it might develop to that, and husbands and wives are best friends, but most men don’t look at a woman and say ‘I would like to be friends with her’ when they go up and ask for a date.
You also should pursue your happiness, of course. No, we cannot live our lives pleasing others, I agree and see that is truth in life. It certainly is true that there are many many negative naysayers who will say ‘I could never do that’ or ‘I could do that if I didn’t have kids, etc’ . I have heard the excuses and naysayers many times on things I have accomplished that have nothing to do with sex or relationships.

Reply November 18, 2009, 3:33 am

Keli

I guess I have to wonder what’s really behind the question, “Am I too old…”

Is she wanting to justify her actions, and receive confirmation that she’s not acting immature…

or…

Does she feel like she’s settling for less, and wants someone to tell her it’s ok?

Hmmm…

Reply August 23, 2009, 5:22 pm

VG

I agree with Sara. Also, if someone approaches you and is interested in you – its fine to go to a movie with them, or have a cup of coffee, but to present yourself as an available woman is not cool. You don’t have to be exclusive to go for coffee, but if someone starts to court you they assume that you aren’t sleeping with anyone or would hope you weren’t. It may be just me, but no self respecting guy would be interested in a woman like that unless he was the type who wanted an open relationship with no commitment…and that’s what you have now.

Reply August 21, 2009, 10:33 am

Sara

If people (who you aren’t super-close friends with) ask you if you’re in a relationship or dating somebody, in general in this situation I’d suggest saying “no I’m not.” Have FWB sex is not the same as having a relationship or seeing someone, so your response should come with a clear conscience.

If you’re ARE dating other people — whether there’s sexual activity or not — feel free to say “yes”, of course! But the FWB situation is something I’d probably just keep to myself when these dating conversations arise. Not that you’re ashamed of it, but it just delves too deep into private matters, in my opinion, to start explaining it to people. Despite being about as open-minded as they come, I don’t think I’ve ever been in or witnessed a casual conversation about someone’s FWB that sounded comfortable.

If you’re struggling with this, you may want to revisit your own feelings and motives about the FWB situation. If you are happy with the sex but not happy about not being in a committed relationship with this person, or feel like the FWB situation prevents you from finding a committed relationship with someone else, then maybe it’s time to can it.

Reply July 15, 2009, 10:29 am

Eric Charles

Sara,

Agreed.

Reply July 16, 2009, 3:09 pm

Chris

I guess what I get sick of hearing is when people are either fooling around with someone, or on the other side of the seesaw not being physical but calling eachother every night and pouring their heart out, and then they say “they don’t want a relationship.” Well, I have news: you are IN one. You just don’t want to give it a name because that would make you either feel responsible for the happiness of that person, or mean that you had to accept and love that person on their blue days, not just when they are being a good time charlie (or for the person who is not into the FWB but on the other end of it and are emotionally intimate with the person – they on the other hand don’t want to get hurt).

Its okay if he’s fine with and she’s fine with it, but I feel differently about the “as you get older” part as time goes on. As we get older, we mature emotionally. I am not talking of a certain age, but about growing up. While it might be “ok” by you and everyone to have a friends with benefits, at some point we should mature from that. With a FWB you have the perks of a relationship, but none of the responsibility. It is a much deeper, fulfilling situation to have someone we love and loves us back truly, that is emotionally intimate with us. With a FWB, we share ourselves physically but we can hold someone at a distance and be a cypher. No one gets to really know us because we hold them at arm’s length. Its an easy way to compartmentalize.

Anyone can have sex, but it takes maturity to have a relationship where you stand by eachother through thick and thin, to hold eachother accountable…to move out of our comfort zone. We should WANT to have that magical feeling with someone, even if it means that for awhile, we exercise personal control with one person to find that one.

Maybe you don’t want a relationship because you just don’t see this young man as husband material, or maybe you aren’t that into him but he is a willing sexual partner. It is seldom because you set out to “not want a relationship at this time in life.” I will tell you – I was not looking and then a guy knocked my socks off. It was instant chemistry, but I held back a little until I found out all the good things about him that were part of my criteria. He is a very good man as well as just someone I am hot for.

Okay, have your fun now – but don’t short change yourself from finding “the one”. As far as Eric’s response about “not everyone wants that” as far as babies and marriage. I didn’t want that. I was even married and we both didn’t want babies – but after he left me, i later met someone who I feel I should have met years ago and want babies because it naturally comes out of what we feel for eachother. We are so compatible where me and my ex were not.

So – somethings like that are not a decision you set out and stick to – you have to go with the flow of life.

I guess what it is – if you are looking for validation that there is nothing “wrong” with what you are doing, you’ve got it….but I think someday you’ll want more if you allow yourself to.

Reply July 10, 2009, 10:43 am

Eric Charles

Hey Olivia,
.
I agree with you – there’s nothing wrong with wanting those things.
.
Still, that doesn’t make it this particular guy’s responsibility. They entered into their arrangement with an agreement as to what it is. If she changes her mind and tries to change the terms of what it is, he can’t be expected to just go along with her change of heart on what the relationship should be. He’s entitled to his feelings too. As for what would truly make her happy, only she’s going to know that for her own self.
.
Now from a biological standpoint, yes, if she’s looking to get married and/or have babies then she will want to pursue that prior to her 40s. Not everyone wants that though.

Reply June 25, 2009, 10:21 am

olivia

Eric, I agree that it’s important to do what one wants to do in life and not letting others get in the way. However, what caught my attention is “I just don’t want a relationship right now and I think he feels the same.” First at all, would she still be truly happy with her situation if the guy finds a “real” girlfriend or gets married? Second, there’s nothing wrong with not wanting a relationship at the moment, but I think if she ever plans to get married at some point of her life, it’s better for her to start looking now than in her thirties or forties.

Reply June 25, 2009, 1:33 am

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