The Devils Doorbell asks:
I’m not used to having casual relationships. However, I am going through a divorce and I’m not yet ready to be in a serious relationship. I met someone through Tinder and we hit it off and have decided to be Friends with Benefits since neither of us is looking for anything serious.
I guess I am not sure what to expect and what is okay. I usually only contact him to make plans with him and once I texted him to say that I was hoping he was having a good day because he had vented to me the day before that he was having a horrible day. He never responded to that message, but he’s not a big texter so I didn’t think much of the fact that he didn’t respond. However, I feel like I am the one that is typically initiates contact and we will sometimes go a couple of days without talking if I do not contact him first. Is this normal?
I guess I am just paranoid that I’m going to come off clingy or that I’m trying to force a relationship on him when that is not my intention.
You guys are probably getting tired of seeing me say “It’s relative!” or “talk to them” but sadly, that advice is applicable to most situations in life, and especially so in your case. Generally speaking, how often you communicate with your friend with benefits (FWB) is relative to how close you actually are as friends. As for determining how much contact you should have, talk to your partner. It really is that simple, but I guess that will make this post a bit short, so I’ll explain why.
Here’s why the amount of contact you have with a FWB is relative. Consider the term “Friend with Benefits”. This implies, on some level, that you’re actually friends. What I’ve seen more often than not is that most FWB situations are less “Friends who have sex with each other” and more “I just met them and we’ve decided to just have sex occasionally instead of actually date”. For the most part, these people aren’t friends, in that they know and care for each other, they’re two (or more, you do you) people who decided to take the dating aspect out of casual dating and just make the relationship a casual sex thing. In your case, I feel like your FWB is less of a friend and more of a “Guy I bone while going through a divorce”.
The reason I’m making the differentiation is because if this was your friend who you just happen to sleep with, instead of a relative stranger who you occasionally go to pound-town with, you wouldn’t be worried about the frequency of contact. If it’s your actual, honest to god friend, you can reach out whenever. With a stranger who you sleep with, the doubts an fears of “coming on too strong” are always going to be there. So again, it’s relative based on your level of friendship. Or, and this might seem completely bonkers here, you could just talk to your FWB about contact frequency.
I wont get into all the details, but I’ve been in a FWB arrangement (or two, or a few, whatever man you’re not my Mom) in my life and I’ve found that being direct about boundaries and expectations is the best route. If you’re planning on letting someone near your genitals, you should be able to ask them questions as simple as “How much can I text you without making you uncomfortable?”. If you can’t be candid with someone who has seen your naughty bits, you’re really missing out on one of the main Benefits in a Friends with Benefits arrangement. The FWB is about getting all of the good physical parts of dating, without having to deal with the more complicated parts, like feelings and such. If you’re worried that you might come on too strong, remember, you are sleeping with this guy. If he can’t handle answering a simple question like “Cool if I text you to ask about your day?” why would you even want to sleep with him. I’m not saying your FWB has to agree to the amount of texting you want, but having that conversation, or any other conversation about boundaries is something that has to happen.
As for whether or not his initiation of contact, or lack thereof, is normal: Yes, also No. There is no normal. Is it typical in a FWB situation where you know that one party is going through a divorce so you more than likely have other FWBs going on and don’t prioritize the almost-divorcee? Yes, very normal. He probably doesn’t consider you a “friend” so for him, I’m sure you’re a person who he doesn’t have to prioritize. I’m not trying to imply that you aren’t worthy of being someone’s priority, just saying that if I’m a single guy, and a married woman who I just met and am sleeping with is texting me about my day, I don’t know how eager I’d be to respond. If the texting was for meeting up, I’d be a bit more responsive.
The only way to get rid of the paranoia about whether or not you’re being too clingy is just to ask. You don’t have to frame it as “I don’t want to be clingy” you can say something along the lines of “I just want to respect your time and level of comfort with contact. Is it okay to text you for small talk or should we just save texting for arranging meet ups?”. Not the most romantic thing to say, but hey, you’re both not looking for romance.
Good Luck Out There.