"Stories" from the Collective (YOU)

Friends With Benefits?

by Annie Smith
(Liverpool, UK)

I spend all my time with this man, love hanging out with him and having sex with him... everything a couple does we do, and more! But we're just friends with benefits... right?

"Your Relationships Questions, Your Answers!"

QUESTION: Does my "friend with benefits" want to be something more?

Okay, I moved away from home for university in September 2012.

I now live with this guy, we'll call him 'John'. John and I have always got along well, with a similar sense of humour and both of us have little cares in the world, we always banter at each other about how "emotionless" we both say we are.

I have been single for 2 years, and he has been single for 6 months.

I have slept with a few people casually before, however his sexual experience has only been with two long term girlfriends.

Anyway, that is a little bit of background information for you, back to the story. About 2 weeks into university (because we are living together this felt like a lot longer than 2 weeks), after a drunken night we ended up having sex.

I did not fancy him or have any feelings towards him before this and I'm pretty sure he didn't for me either. A few drunken nights later and we found ourselves having sex again.

It was a shock to all our friends at university and even ourselves I think.

We agreed that we would keep on having casual sex because we both enjoyed it and we both knew that we wanted nothing more than that from each other.

As time goes on we start to sleep in each others rooms about 4/5 times a week, but only having sex about 2 of those times. So we became best friends as we would stay up talking to the early hours of the morning alone.

When we are in the bedroom and our own privacy, we are very cuddly, hold hands and will kiss, but in front of our friendship group we are very casual friends.

Rarely on drunken nights out we will kiss in front of our friends, but apart from that it is very private relationship, so nobody really sees how intimate we really are.

Even though I have only known him for about 4 months now he definitely knows me inside out and I would say that same about him as well. On nights out we have kissed other people in front of each other, he says that it doesn't bother him but all of the people in our accommodation say that they don't believe him, it sometimes makes me feel a bit uncomfortable if I see him with a girl, but not jealous.

Our whole friendship group at accommodation are convinced that we like each other and its so obvious, but we both deny this and take the piss out of people who have feelings of romance.

At Christmas break we have 3 weeks off and we both go back to our home towns. I live in the south and he lives in the north, about 300 miles apart, about 5 hour journey. Over the Christmas break we speak every day online for hours, we would have 2 hour phone calls each night, and then he asked if he could come and stay with me for the last week, in which I said yes.

He spent new years eve travelling to my home town and then we went out and spent the night together with my friends. We spent a week together and mostly had a good time, but spending 24/7 together which just 2 people is a lot to handle for anyone and it was nice to have our own space when we got back to accommodation.

Obviously, when everyone found out that he spent new year with me and travelled all that way to see me, all our friends were saying how obvious it was that we liked each other.

My friends from home said it was clear that we liked each other as well. On the last night when we were in my home town, he asked me if I still felt the same as at the start of when we started sleeping together (as in do I only want sex from him and nothing more in the romance way), and I said yes and he said he is the same, he said that he only asked that because he is scared of commitment and was worried I was sta rting to like him.

All of my friends have said that obviously he is worried he is starting to like me.

Since coming back for Christmas, about a month ago, we have still been sleeping together regularly and having sex regularly. We are living in a house together in the second year of university and have already put a deposit etc. down for that, so I wouldn't want to risk anything that could ruin the next 18 months for me.

I also don't want to lose him as a friend, because he is, and I am one of his, best friends here.

But I think that I may be having feelings for him, I am not sure whether it is the peer pressure or real emotions. I feel like I need to say something because it is getting to me now, but do I risk losing our whole friendship and guaranteed regular sex if I say that I like him, when I am not even sure myself.

So relationship advice I am looking for:

1. Do you think that he likes me?
2. Do you think that I like him or is it just peer pressure?
3. Do I tell him that I am unsure about my feelings for him and risk it all?

Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeelp :(


Overcome Your Insecurities: Here's How!



"If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, looks like a duck, it must be a duck."
-- Proverb

There's a good reason why I start my answers with inspirational quotes about relationships. And Annie's question is a perfect example. And not because I'm 'oh so wise' and have it all sorted in the relationship dept. (I wish!), but because sometimes you really do have to say, "C'MON, are you being serious, here!"

And what won't be obvious to readers of your relationship question, Annie - because I tidied up your submission, and added breathing spaces etc. (paragraphs) - is that your words really flowed like some stream of consciousness thing.

So this situation is clearly troubling you. And it's so public, too, so obvious to your friends what's going on here. Must be hard for you. Wow!...


So I'm not going to answer your questions, other than the last one because that's the only one I can actually answer (but, yes, he seems to like you, and, yes, you seem to like him, and the both of you seem to have some problem acknowledging this. People are strange. It's true.).

4. What would I do?

I'd take a long, hard look at myself, and ask myself how I felt about this other person.

And then, depending on what truth I discovered there, I'd act accordingly. If I liked him, then I'd tell him that and risk that he might not like me the same way, and we might have to stop having 'casual' sex. And vice versa.

I'd take responsibility for MY feelings, first and foremost, and I'd stop trying to second-guess the other person, for fear of losing face.

Relationships of any real value only come from people committing to them, from taking some risks. And ALL relationships change, even ones based around casual sex. If you end up being a couple it might not last, but - hey! - that's what happens when you have relationships, they sometimes don't last!

Take a risk!

That's what I'd do.


And now onto a more general comment about the promise of 'something for nothing' that seems to be on offer with so-called 'friends with benefits'. (And I don't intend to preach here, as I've also wanted my cake and eat it in times gone past.)

Friends with benefits is like choosing without making a choice. It looks like you're getting the best of everything, getting all the good stuff at none of the cost, but it's the 'price you pay' that makes relationships worth being in.

I'll get off my pulpit now. Sorry. Something for nothing just doesn't exist, no matter how hard you try and convince yourself (and others) it does.

Take a risk!

Let that man BE your lover, let that woman hold your hand in public... take a risk! At least then you won't have to rely on other people to tell you how you feel about someone!

(Okay, what would anyone else do? Please share any words of wisdom YOU have below... Thanks!)



Return to Your Relationship Q&As.