Straight Talk Advice

Jan 13, 2010

“Friends with benefits” at corner of Heartbreak and Pain

DEAR STRAIGHT TALK: A boy I like asked if I wanted to be “friends with benefits” instead of boyfriend and girlfriend. We’re both 18, seniors in high school, and I use birth control and condoms. What I’m wondering is, is he just too lazy to have a girlfriend, or does he plan on having friends-with-benefits relationships with other girls, too? He says he’s not the type to do that—but he totally is! I know these relationships usually lead to heartbreak, but I really like this guy and want so badly to believe him. What should I do?—Roseville, Calif.

Hannah 18, Auburn, Calif. Ask me a question

I had a friends-with-benefits relationship and my stress skyrocketed. I was constantly thinking about the guy, worrying if he didn’t answer his phone or text me back that he was having sex with other girls. Even my schoolwork suffered. I didn’t realize how badly I needed out for a long time. I wish someone had warned me. So here’s your warning: STAY AWAY!

Emily 17, Sacramento, Calif. Ask me a question

“He says he’s not the type to do that—but he totally is!” Listen to yourself! I hope you don’t have to learn the hard way. Have you asked your friends about him? Every guy my friends have steered me away from has turned out exactly as they predicted.

Vanessa 21, Galt, Calif. Ask me a question

You are at the corner of Heartbreak and Rumors near the Shop of Unbearable Pain. The problem is the benefits girls hope for and the ones guys receive are different. Also, even though it shouldn’t matter what others think, are you prepared to be called a slut while walking down the halls for fooling around with a guy you’re not dating?

Liz 17, Sacramento, Calif. Ask me a question

I’ve been there—and it’s nearly impossible to separate emotions from sex. This kind of relationship doesn’t mean he doesn’t care about you, but it DOES mean he doesn’t want something serious.

Graham 16, Fair Oaks, Calif. Ask me a question

Why would he ask to be friends with benefits if he was going to be exclusive? Yes. He will be doing this with other girls.

Brianna 18, Auburn, Calif. Ask me a question

I’ve been friends with benefits and yes, these relationships usually lead to heartbreak—usually the girl’s heart. Get out now. Keep your mind off him by staying busy with close friends.

Rose 22, Flagstaff, Ariz. Ask me a question

Everyone I’ve known who had friends with benefits wished they hadn’t. Either their friendship was destroyed or someone was heartbroken. Plus you can still get pregnant on birth control—and contract STIs with condoms. This is a time to listen to your head instead of your heart.

Katelyn 15, Huntington Beach, Calif. Ask me a question

Keep your pants on, girlfriend. Or you’ll regret it—especially if you get pregnant.

Rachel 18, Fair Oaks, Calif. Ask me a question

I’ve been in your shoes. Even knowing it’s fair game to see other people, you’ll always be thinking about him with other girls and comparing yourself. These things never end well.

Jessie 17, Ashland, Ore. Ask me a question

I was friends with benefits and it destroyed our friendship because the uncertainty ate at me and he wouldn’t commit to something more serious. Go with your gut. He’s just looking for a little fun, minus the commitment.

Molly 17, Fair Oaks, Calif. Ask me a question

Friends with benefits will not work if one of the people would rather be in a relationship—and even then, things can get sticky. If a guy is into you he’ll do what it takes to get you.

Nicole 20, Arcata, Calif. Ask me a question

Friends with benefits is the worst excuse for a man to sleep with multiple partners—while making them all think he’ll be their boyfriend eventually. If he wanted to be your boyfriend, he would be.

DEAR ROSEVILLE: Need more convincing? The rant continues in the comment section below.

Editor’s Web Note: “Friends with benefits” is the new term for what used to be called a “relationship of convenience.” Though these “friendly” and “convenient” relationships have occurred throughout history, never have they been more mainstream or more lacking in shame. Nonetheless, today’s girls are no better at separating love from sex than their female predecessors. These relationships continue to involve heartache in the girls and lack of attachment in the boys. Love is, apparently, still what people are looking for. —Lauren

  1. By Catherine, 22, Panelist, age , from Amherst, Mass. on 01/13/2010

    It sounds to me like you want different things. He is unwilling to commit, and since it is clear that your feelings are really tied up in this…it could be very messy. Set up some boundaries, stand up for yourself! Let him know that you want more and deserve better. If he does not feel the same way then it is not worth it for either of you. This kind of relationship is not okay if it is not mutual and consensual. You should be able to trust the person you are with, and if that means exclusivity then it is important to make that clear no matter how much you like him. We have to draw the line somewhere. If you are having a very hard time with these boundaries, try giving yourself some time and space away from him.

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  2. By Katrina, 17, Panelist, age , from Sand Springs, Okla. on 01/13/2010

    Get out now! He is not worth your time.

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  3. By Vicky, age , from Auburn CA on 01/13/2010

    “friends with benefits” is just another way of saying “sex without caring”. Please hold yourself in higher esteem than that. Don’t let a boy’s sexual desires outweigh respect for yourself.

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  4. By SJ, age , from Northern California on 01/13/2010

    As one who has been there, I can just about guarantee you that he is going to want lots of “benefits” (i.e. sex) and very little friendship. I thought that I was in love with this guy.  When he said that he wanted to be “friends with benefits”  I thought that I could get the friendship to evolve into something more.  To impress him, I very stupidly had my brother take some nude photos of me and gave them to him.  We never even had a friendship.  All he was ever interested in was sex, so I broke it off with him and asked for the pictures back.  He just laughed at me and said that “a gift is a gift.”  He said that he’d keep them to himself, but won’t give them back. However, I’m scared to death that he’ll show them to other guys and I would die if he did.  He’s really tight with his brother and the way his brother looks at me and smirks when he sees me at school, I’m almost sure he’s seen them. This may have worked with Jerry and Elaine on Seinfeld, but I don’t think “friends with benefits” can ever work in reality.

    (Please only print my initials for obvious reasons)

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  5. By Jennifer , age , from Fair Oaks, CA on 01/14/2010

    Hey, S.J,  You have your BROTHER take nude pictures of you, give them to a GUY, and now you complain and appear to want people to feel sorry for you?! Give me a break.  What did you expect? You asked for it and you got it, and I don’t feel the least bit sorry for you.


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  6. By Gabriel, 18, Panelist, age , from Ashland, OR, United States on 01/15/2010

    Coming from a man’s perspective, I have to say that he is NOT too lazy to have a girlfriend, but he wants to have other friends with benefits as well, not just you. I believe he wants to have you as a rebound girl, so if another friend stops fooling around with him, he will return to you since you are still here. An intimate relationship will only be good as long as both of you know it is exclusive, so don’t get with him, unless he TRULY wants only you.

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  7. By tom, age , from rossmoor ca usa on 01/20/2010

    The #1 point that wasn’t made in the paper FwB only works when both partners have the same lack of commitment to a “relationship”.  For that reason it should be left until both partners have more life experience and both understand their union is solely for companionship.  And girls, remember!  What was true for my parents in the 50s and me in the 80s is true today.  Only lose your virginity in a strongly commited relationship in High School or be prepared for the wrath of “children”.

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