I’m a 25 year old woman. I’m not “Victoria’s Secret model hot” but I’m also aware I’m good looking. I’m told I’m “unique” (eye roll), and I have diverse interests so I usually don’t have any problems getting along with people unless I find them absolutely boring. But anyway…
I have a weird problem: People only wanting to get into a relationship with me. It’s absolutely not what I’m looking for. Although I’m incredibly sexual, I don’t have “romantic feelings”.
I literally can’t catch feels and I’m too busy and interested with my own life right now to attend to a serious relationship. I even go so far as to tell them I won’t be their girlfriend but I’ll help them find one, then we’ll just nix the sex part of the relationship and stay friends. If it ends with the new GF, well… they know where I am *finger pistols and awkward wink*
The first couple of dates tend to go like average dates. I’m told, however, that I throw people off. A lot of, “You’re not like most people I date,” “Wow no one’s understood me like this before,” “I’m so used to people playing games and I’m glad you’re not like that,” “This is the most fun I’ve had on a date in forever,” type of statements.
But after they relax there’s great rapport, we have chemistry and dates last hours with talking and flirting. I don’t hide that I’m still “dating” other people, I also don’t get jealous if they see other people either; my only concern is that they use protection.
Well fast forward a month or less… we’re good friends, the sex is great or getting better, cuddling is on point, we’re having fun and then out of nowhere I get the “What are we?” question or worse, a profession of love.
Which is confusing to me because I thought we discussed this? Which leads to a weird ultimatum of “Date me or GTFO.” Which, whoa dude, I mean if they were getting too attached and wanted to fall back to just being friends, sure. I mean it would suck for me but I value them as a friend more than getting off so after a minor mourning period of losing a fuck buddy I’d adjust and be a friend.
So what really sucks for me is that instead of doing that, they just axe me out of their lives all together. That’s what really hurts, I mean I thought I had a friend but apparently all guys see in me is wifey material and when I decline their visions of romance and a relationship they throw everything we had away.
Everyone else I know seems to be having the opposite problem and I don’t know what I’m doing wrong? Or what I’m doing to attract guys like that even with my many warnings. The guys that are more willing to just hook up are usually pretty gross, and not my type at all if I’m being completely honest here. I’ve even tried guys that are single dads or super busy with work in the hopes that they’d be to busy to get on my case, but that’s a no go.
I’m getting really frustrated. I can make acquaintance friends really easily but finding someone that can handle my personality is really rare. I know it’s nobody’s responsibility to make sure I’m not lonely, I’m happy with my life and hobbies, and my friends have people. But it still sucks and I don’t know what solution there is.
I’ve been debating getting into a relationship for the sake of sex and intimacy and just trying to dodge any concrete future planning, and when it gets too serious maybe make them dump me so they don’t have to feel any version of heartache? Then maybe we could just be friends that occasionally have sex, like I wanted all along.
If I’m upfront about my not wanting something serious and my inability to fall in love, is it then their problem if they continue to harbour delusions of being “the one” that can change me? I get it, I thought I was in love many times before, before I realised it was the constant sex and offerings of food that kept me. So I know feelings can be confusing, but I also really want to get laid consistently with someone I can trust. Thanks, Friends With Benefits
You’ve come to the right place, because back in the bad old days… I was exactly one of those guys who frustrate you. No, for real. This is like someone from my past writing to me in the future.
Part of the Secret Origin of Dr NerdLove was my falling for someone who was incredibly upfront about the fact that she was not open to dating anyone. While she would totally enjoy the time we had together, we weren’t going to be in a romantic relationship.
I didn’t believe her. As far as I was concerned, she was damn near perfect and by God I was going to change her mind about this shit. And why not? At the time, I had the perfect job and now the perfect relationship. All I had to do was just hang in there long enough and I’d prove that I was so wonderful that she couldn’t help but fall for me.
Fast-forward six months and first I lost the perfect job, and then the perfect girl dumped me. Why? Because I didn’t believe her when she told me that she wasn’t going to fall in love and didn’t want to be anyone’s girlfriend.
So, what’s going on here?
Well, part of it is cultural. Even in this day and age, guys still don’t believe that women might just want to bang like men do. It’s taken as holy writ that women catch feelings like we catch colds and that regular banging will eventually lead to commitment because a woman who just likes to fuck? Well, there has to be something wrong with her. And let’s be honest: Some dudes see a woman who says, “No, I just want no-strings sex,” and hear, “IT’S A TRAP!”
But another part is the people you’re dating. From the sounds of it, you’re dating younger guys, occasionally guys who don’t have much relationship experience. Odds are, these are guys who aren’t necessarily used to a woman sharing their interests and who aren’t used to dating someone as confident or up front as you. And this is no slight to those other women: Being up front and secure in what you want then just putting it out there can be scary for everyone.
But then here you are: You’re brassy, you’re straightforward and you get them. You are, in all likelihood, the easiest and least stressful relationship they have ever had. To that kind of guy, you are basically a unicorn. Unfortunately, instead of embracing the situation as it is… they feel like they need to lock this down. They want to round that unicorn up, tame it, ride it until its heart meter fills and they can put it in their stable.
Some of this is due to inexperience. A lot of people (myself included, way back when) will find a situation like this and feel like they have to grab it with both hands. They believe that this is a once-in-a-lifetime situation. They think they will never find someone this awesome that will make them feel this good and if they miss out, then they will go to their graves believing they missed their One True Love.
There’s also a fair amount of social programming involved. A lot of people feel like every relationship needs to have the potential to be their last, and have a hard time dealing with the idea that some relationships are temporary and just for fun. As much as we like to talk about guys just wanting sex, a lot of dudes also start a friends-with-benefits relationship and catch feels.
Some of this comes down to the difference between a fuckbuddy and a friend with benefits. In a fuckbuddy relationship, the relationship is about the sex. In a friends with benefits arrangement, you’re friends… who just happen to have sex. Some guys can handle that. For others, the combination closeness and emotional intimacy and occasional bed-rocking sex means that they can’t keep maintain the necessary emotional distance.
So what can you do about all of this?
One thing is to make sure you’re not setting up a dating frame. Part of what’s confusing these guys is that you’re acting like a traditional relationship: The long dates, the longer talks, the flirting, the post-coital cuddles… to a lot of people, that’s going to feel like y’all are headed toward a fairly standard relationship. You’re saying one thing, but the way you’re acting says another, so it’s pretty understandable that wires are getting crossed. If you say you’re not a couple but go play house in IKEA, people might understandably get confused.
So it may help if you make more of an effort to keep things casual if you’re not sure about the guy. I know you want that closeness that comes with a friendship, as well as the occasional fun naked time. But if you want to break this particular cycle, that closeness may have to be something they earn over time if they show that they can handle it.
The other thing you can do is focus on dudes who’re your type but who also have a bit more experience under their belt. They may be older. They might be more emotionally mature. But someone with a little more life experience may be more compatible with what you’re looking for right now.
You may also just have to ruthlessly compartmentalise — some friendships for the closeness and intimacy, some for the sex, and never the twain to cross. It isn’t easy or efficient, but it may be one of the ways you can meet your needs. Unfortunately, there’s no real way to guarantee that somebody won’t catch a case of the feels and repeat the cycle. You can only do so much; your potential partners are going to have to do their share as well.
There’ll always be guys who swear they can keep things casual… right up until they can’t. There’s a certain amount of trial and error that you just can’t get around, unfortunately. But there are guys like that out there.
Harris O’Malley is a writer and dating coach who provides geek dating advice at his blog Paging Dr NerdLove.
This story has been updated since its original publication.