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