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My anxiety will decrease if I know you want to marry me in six years from now! But my longer romantic friendships have been a safe space.
They’ve helped me figure out how to relate to someone romantically without the immediate trigger of, ” In other words, having a fuck buddy is a great exercise in non-possessiveness.“The thought of my boyfriend fucking someone else makes me want to wear his skin like a goddamned wetsuit,” she said, eyes bulging.
“When you’re in a friends with benefits situation, you don’t have go to the other person’s awful friend’s birthday party. But if you change that dynamic into being a real relationship, then those games might not seem so sexy anymore.”In other words, your fuck buddy gets all the good stuff about being in a relationship—the wild sex, the cuddles, the juicy dark secrets—minus all of the boring, would-rather-die activities that go hand in hand with commitment, like having to help assemble your boyfriend’s IKEA bed, or having to watch your girlfriend stab at the ingrown hairs on her bikini line while she watches the Kardashians.
But if you behave like that within a conventional relationship, it causes problems. (That’s me—I’m the girlfriend who does that.)Essentially, you’re taking a relationship and removing the creepy ownership of another human being, which leaves more room for hedonism and sexual exploration.
Others dismiss fuck-buddy dynamics as just being compulsive sex that’s devoid of emotion. Surely it’s possible to find a middle ground between eternal love and zombie-fucking a stranger: a place where you can care about someone, have good sex, and yet not want to literally implode at the thought of them sleeping with someone else. Case in point: The most significant romantic friendship of my life was with an ex-editor of mine, whom I’ll call Malcolm.
We started “a thing” five years ago and have yet to end it.
Boyfriends and girlfriends have come and gone, but my friends with benefits have stood the test of time. That’s longer than I predict my first marriage will last.
And while I can’t imagine being with my Cuba date “for real”—I mean, he’s a low-key homeless anarchist who once took me on date to his Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous meeting; there are red flags—I still value our relationship immensely.
But subscribing to that belief ignores the fact that romantic friendships can be extremely fulfilling, enlightening, and straight-up fun.Sometimes it feels like we are more honest with our friends with benefits than we are with our partners.This paradox always makes me think of that episode when Betty seduced Don at their kid’s summer camp, well after they had both remarried.“Having a friend with benefits is great because it’s just—it’s just less ,” he said, smoking a cigar and dressed in an inexplicable beige silk onesie. It’s not encumbered by obligations, which just lead to resentment.”He then gave me —the one that means he’s about to admit to something despicable and blame it on humanity.“We are all selfish—we all live in this Ayn Rand–ish self-centered world, whether we like it or not,” he said. You can have your sex-power persona, or you can play the super-misogynist pig, or the bimbo, and it’s okay, because you’re not being judged.