On FWB, Dating, And Boys Who Don’t Know The Difference

Photo : Alanna Bagladi

So apparently I spark the interest of a charming demographic of boy.  This type of boy is one who is cute, has a great relationship with his family, likes good music, thinks I’m funny, think’s I’m cute, even at times thinks I’m interesting, and the cherry on top – just got out of a very serious relationship about two months ago.  

This has occurred with everyone I’ve engaged with romantically (let’s call this anyone I went on more than two dates with) over the last year and a half.  Upon the most recent occurrence I reflected and realized that literally even my first/only real relationship began with that exact same scenario, though I didn’t truly know this until later.

I’m 24. These boys have ranged in age between 23-26,  meaning if they were in a 4+ year relationship, it would have spanned the majority of college, aka the peak time for the ~*Single Life*~.

I think it’s important to outline this because with each dating situation this year the timeline has been the same.

We go on first date, it goes super well and both of us seem kind of happy-surprised at that fact.  Dating is the worst and the odds of it going “so well” are pretty small.

We go on second date. This one’s the test to ensure the first wasn’t a fluke.  It wasn’t. We want to see each other again.

We text regularly, alternating who texts first and who initiates the next plans.

Somewhere between date 3-5 things get physical.

Up to this point we have usually been seeing each other once a week.  But we have arrived at the place where I start to get nervous.  When I get this far, it’s because I’m starting to give a shit about the person and it’s the point I want to know if I should.

Somewhere between there and date 10 I ask, “So, what’s your end goal here?” and like clockwork they respond with some variation of “well, I just got out of a really serious relationship [a month or two ago].  We were dating for [4+] years.  So I don’t really know.  I’m not looking for anything serious right now, just trying to figure myself/everything out.”  Sometimes there was an added, “but I really like hanging out with you, and I’d like to keep hanging out with you if that’s okay.” Sometimes not, but no matter what else was said it was the last time we saw each other.  Presumably because they weren’t looking for much more than bed.

I think these boys saw friends live the young, wild and free college single life, and kind of made up what it looks like in their heads.

Here’s the thing though — boys fresh out of long-term relationships that lasted through college I hope you’re reading – contrary to popular belief, “friends with benefits” is not a relationship created with ease.  In order for a relationship like that to be effective, and protect the emotions of all parties involved, there has to be strong communication of expectations.  For me, these types of relationships have only existed with people I didn’t really like that much. Not that I hated them or that they were awful, they were just people I had nothing in common with. Well, almost nothing.  In the most prominent case, we both discussed the situation, had a clear mutual understanding, and we proceeded accordingly.  Whenever we asked the other to “hang out” we knew what we meant. We didn’t mean grab dinner or a drink, we didn’t even mean chat.  We didn’t need to know each other more than we already did, and things worked great. We’re still polite to this day. No one was hurt.

I’d venture to say that this structure is vital to the success of that type of relationship.  Generally, a person is prone to having some sort of feelings for the people around them as they get to know them. In all relationships, casual friendships, best friendships, professional relationships, you have feelings for the people around you.  I’m not saying these feelings are always positive, but they exist.  By engaging in activities with the FWB, one is prone to having any sort of feelings for the other, and even if they’re not romantic they’re certainly capable of disrupting the relationship.  Again, this is why for me it’s been important to have this person be someone I don’t enjoy talking to that much.  The qualifiers are different for everyone, I’m sure.  But, again, the number one thing that makes it work at all? Honesty. Everyone has to be on the same page.

From an outsider’s perspective, I imagine these boys are probably used to sleeping with someone they care about.  I imagine they’re not used to or particularly interested in the idea of sleeping with someone without the other stuff.  But the reality is, boys-who-just-got-out-of-a-serious-relationship, you can’t have your cake and eat it too.  You can’t “figure yourself out” at the expense of another person’s time, energy, or happiness.  Some things you can do? You can be honest from the beginning about what you’re looking for, to be sure you’re interacting with someone who is also interested in that.  You can pull the breaks when you notice the other person is perhaps interested in more than you have to offer instead of just waiting until they bring it up.  You can jerk it on your own time and not bring another person into your shit until your shit is sorted. All of these are perfectly healthy options.

For the record, these guys aren’t, like, The Biggest Assholes On The Planet, they’re just ignorant to certain realities of dating and it’s not totally their fault.  Honestly, maybe it says more about me that this happens to me so often than it does about the partners I’ve chosen, but I’m still trying to figure out what that is.  All I know is that being on the receiving end of this situation has gotten to be extremely challenging for me.  I question qualities about myself.  I feel insecure. I feel inadequate.  And while there are a lot of issues with modern dating, this is the one that has hurt me the most.

Mary Kate Pleggenkuhle Founder
Mary Kate Pleggenkuhle : Mermaid Songbird. Tattooed Beauty. ChampionSuperstarPrincess. Proud Mamabear of “Obvi, We’re The Ladies.” Sarcastic, But Rarely Caught Without A Smile On.