Q. My male best friend of 20 years recently ended his relationship. Since that happened, we talk everyday, hang out more, and started having sex. I was hesitant because I value our friendship and did not want to ruin it. It feels natural, and we openly talk about our sexual needs.
But I am not sure if this is a friends-with-benefits situation or could be something more. He says he is not ready for another relationship now. I am not sure how I feel. I care deeply about him and could see a future for us. I value our friendship and do not want to lose that.
— Confused in Friendship
A. Try asking him what he does want right now. If he’s not interested in jumping into another committed relationship (assuming that’s what he left), what is he asking for? How does he frame what you’re doing together right now?
He might give you a big “I don’t know,” and that’s OK. Maybe he’s figuring it out as he goes. As long as he’s being honest.
Please know, though, that if his answer doesn’t match any of your own hopes for the relationship, you should take space from the romance to preserve what you have. You really like the new emotional (and sexual) experiences you’re having with this person. It could continue as is, but it’s going to become less pleasant if you’re thinking about the future when you know he isn’t. That’s when the friendship will become even more vulnerable, especially if there’s resentment.
You probably won’t love this advice. “Maybe you should stop having sex with your best friend who turns out to be great at sex” is not what anyone wants to hear. But be honest with yourself about why you wrote this letter. Ask him what he wants and then decide whether you need to reset.
Holy When Harry Met Sally! I’m confused. “We openly talk about our sexual needs.” (How convenient.) BUT, you cannot openly talk about the change in status and the future? (How convenient — for him.) AUNTTIGGYWINK
I don’t see how he would want to convert this fun and easy arrangement into a committed sexual relationship. He’s going to explore all options, and rightfully so, having been off the market. ... I don’t think he’s going to leap directly back into a serious relationship, and that’s what this would be with the letter writer.HIKERGALNH128
You might just be his rebound girl/person? So keep on communicating. OUTOFORDER
You should tell him of your feelings for him, and stop sleeping with him. Because right now you are the rebound. THENURSE
^This rebound [stuff] you people are spouting is bull. I’m guessing all your dating experiences comes [from watching] sitcoms. HARRYCHAPIN
Exactly. It perpetuates the myth of “I’m so weakened from my breakup that only [sleeping with] whomever is available (and quickly abandoning them) will make me whole.” ALLUSERNAMESARETAKEN
Apparently the universe had dubbed me “rebound guy” for a few years after my divorce. To recently single women I was like a stray puppy; they wanted to take me home and play with me for a while... once satiated, they re-homed me. BIGAIRBOY
This letter implies that you want more, so my advice is to stop having sex and keep the friendship copacetic until/unless you both talk about making it more. PENSEUSE
Believe him. Don’t hold out for possible future scenarios. NANOSECO