First let me say I love, love, love your blog…it’s required daily reading for me! I would really appreciate any insight/advice you have about my current situation…Basically, it’s the classic tale as old as time…the old f*ck buddy conundrum. Last spring, while in the final semester of grad school, I started hooking up multiple times each week with a casual friend. This was my first FWB type relationship, but we both really seemed to enjoy the time spent together (nearly all of which was in one of our bedrooms). Our arrangement seemed to have an expiration date, as I planned on relocating out of state following graduation. Keeping this in mind, I tried to be careful of catching feelings for this guy and focused on enjoying our casual relationship for what it was. Summer came and I made the move across country for my new job. I was a little surprised at my sadness that things with my fwb had come to a close, but he gave no indication of wanting anything more. I knew in my head it was best for me to move on to new, more commitment-minded prospects in my new locale.
In my attempt to meet someone new, I joined an online dating site. This fall I met a very nice, albeit somewhat shy, (total opposite of typical alpha asshat) boy through the site. Online Boy has been forthcoming that he is pretty inexperienced with relationships, but has told me he would be ready to start one with me. After my FWB experience, I thought the things Online Boy is offering were what I was looking for…
HOWEVER, my problem lies with the original FWB. Much to my surprise, since my move this summer we have remained in contact. He texts me daily and sometimes we talk on the phone. Our talking/texting is occasionally overtly sexual, but more often mundane day-to-day musings about our respective lives. This near constant communication with him has made moving on more difficult and I think I’ve developed even stronger feelings for him. I’ve tried to limit my respones to his texts/calls, but he is persistent…and I feel like I’d really miss him if I were to cut him off completely.
I’m trying not to be deceitful with Online Boy and have told him that I want to take things slow…hoping this would buy me time to figure out what exactly I want. I don’t understand why, when Online Boy is suddenly offering me the things I thought were missing with my FWB, I still feel so unsure. Am I destined to have feelings for the emotionally unavailable, commitment-phobic FWB?
Thank you so much for your kind praise! Seriously, it’s feedback like this that gets me moving in the morning (Confession: I’m in PJs under the covers, but my mind is moving). OK, the first thing I need to do here is confess that I am not sure whether I can offer you objective advice, because I have already lost my heart to Online Boy. However, I want you to figure out your feelings so that you can be happy, and make someone else happy, so I’ll give it a shot.
I have to say, it sounds like you did a great job of keeping your head on straight while having the FWB. Of course, we can’t entirely control whether or not we catch feelings, and women are particularly vulnerable to this. So I’m not surprised that after all that great sex, and all the raging hormones, you would feel sad to leave him behind.
This question of an expiration date is the bane of modern day relationships. You go to college at 18, eager for romance, and with your whole future ahead of you. However, that future is one that must include academic achievement, meaningful internships, perhaps a semester abroad, an impressive job offer upon graduation, and possibly graduate school. You don’t know where you will be living for any of these crucial experiences, or indeed afterwards. Young people today are essentially nomads until they reach their mid-20s. That’s six or seven years of becoming involved and separating, repeating the cycle. It takes a lot out of a person. Guarding oneself against becoming attached, when attachment is what we crave as human beings, is emotionally taxing, to say the least.
I give you a lot of credit for giving online dating a shot, for trying to meet new people. You lucked out; Online Boy sounds like a really good guy. I fear he runs the risk of revealing too much too soon–he would do well to hold back a bit. (Would you please ask him to give me a call, so that I can set him straight? He needs a one-hour session in Catherine Psych 101.) Seriously, though, I don’t think it is fair for you to be comparing these two guys. It’s apples and oranges.
- Online Boy has demonstrated qualities that make him an excellent relationship prospect. He’s earnest and honest. He is up front about wanting a relationship with you. Assuming that you are physically attracted to him, he sounds like the whole package.
With Online boy, you have established a compatible friendship with relationship potential. The sexual connection has not been fully explored.
- FWB is hot. The sex was good. And now he’s texting, calling and generally acting like he misses you. Could it be that he felt more for you all along? Or that your absence has made him realize you are the one?
With FWB, you have a sexual history with relationship potential. The friendship compatibility has not been fully explored.
Before going any further with Online Boy, you need to ”man up” and have a frank conversation with FWB. You are spending time and emotional energy wondering what it is he wants, and you owe it to yourself to get that out there. I’m a big believer in saying what you need to say, but you can bring it up without initiating THE TALK. For example, you could tell him that you are surprised the two of you are still in touch, months after you graduated. Then be silent until he responds. Never underestimate the power of silence. Make the other person fill it.
Or you might tell him that you miss him, and see if he reciprocates. His persistence shows that he genuinely enjoys your company and values the connection between you, but here you are dating someone else, and he may be FWB’ing it with someone new as well. You need to know what the deal is there, and because the two of you have avoided becoming emotionally entangled, it’s likely that you will have to initiate that dialogue.
The other thing you need to be prepared to discuss is where the relationship could potentially go if you were both interested in pursuing it. Now that you’ve completed your education, you may be in a position to settle in one place. Is it possible that he could wind up in the same place? You might decide to schedule a weekend visit, and see how things go.
I don’t think it will be possible to pursue something real with FWB and date Online Boy at the same time. It’s too confusing, and not really fair to Online Boy. After you speak with FWB, you should have a clear idea of what is possible there. If you decide to pursue that, you need to cut Online Boy loose so that he doesn’t waste his time. You may sincerely like him, but if your heart is preoccupied with someone else, then the timing isn’t right.
If FWB remains commitment-phobic, I would ask for some time and space. You may be able to have a friendship, but you are going to need some distance to transition to that. Ask him to stop contacting you, and tell him that you’ll be in touch when you feel ready. In that case, you can continue to see Online Boy and evaluate whether you could have feelings for him.
You know that I’m all about the nice guys, the Dads instead of the Cads. But you can’t force sexual attraction. If Online Boy doesn’t do it for you, there are certainly many men out there who are looking for more than a FWB by their mid-20s.
But honestly? A hot, shy boy who is wearing his heart on his sleeve? I recommend taking that boy to bed for a whole weekend. You just might find that FWB is a distant memory.