“It is necessary, and even vital, to set standards for your life and the people you allow in it.”
~ Mandy Hale
If you are reading this, chances are you are one of those women who want to have a relationship, while the man you are interested in just wants to be friends with benefits.
What I have to say on this subject is not very popular these days, but as a woman and as a clinician I have the obligation to speak truth to people who want guidance, so here it goes.
The mere fact that you want a relationship speaks to the values you hold as a person, and as a woman. Human beings are wired to desire genuine connection to others, especially to a specific someone they find attractive.
Here are some tips for you:
- If you want a relationship and that special person just wants something casual, be clear about your values, and make sure you communicate your desires and expectations in this regard.
- Do not abandon your principles for the sake of a sexual exchange that, more than likely, will leave you empty and disappointed with yourself.
- Consider the fact that during sex your brain releases attachment hormones that will cause you to develop deeper feelings for your partner. Women in particular tend to get more attached once sexual intercourse occurs.
- Ask yourself if it’s worth investing in something that you know from the outset that has no potential for fulfilling your desire for a real relationship.
- Ask yourself if casual sex will make you feel used by your partner.
- Ask yourself if you want to take a chance with your health. Many sexually transmitted diseases are disseminated through casual sex. Some of those diseases, even when treated, will cause infertility later on. Others will last a lifetime, compromise your wellbeing, can be transmitted to any other sexual partners, and to an infant during childbirth.
- Take care of yourself and go after what you truly want. Don’t settle for less. You’ll be glad you did.
Nelly Venturini, LMHC, NCC, CIRT – www.nellyventurini.com
He wants to keep it casual and you would like to progress to a committed relationship. You wonder how his attitude can be possible and assumed that you were on the same page. After all, you had already spent the night and shared intimate details with each other. He says you are progressing at different levels and that he is not there yet. What??
In the world of dating there are certain things that need to be clarified early on in order to avoid unwanted surprises.
The main difference between dating and relationship is the commitment to each other.
Dating means there is no serious attachment. There may be uncertainty and instability during this process. For this reason alone, it may be wise to take it slowly.
Make a conscious decision when you are truly ready to be physically intimate.
Although we tend to make free spirited decisions in moments of lust, if you are looking for a serious relationship, it may be wise to clarify terms.
It is not uncommon for women to assume that they are in a committed relationship or headed toward one because they have already been physically intimate.
Hurt feelings and confusion are often a result of this misunderstanding.
What does “casual” mean to him? Will he be seeing other people and having sex with others? Perhaps that has already been the case. You must clarify. What does “commitment” mean to you? What is acceptable to you regarding frequency of contact and exclusivity?
Know what you want and what you will tolerate in a relationship.
If your goal is to have a committed relationship perhaps with the potential for marriage, you will want to date someone who has the same goal in mind. In the beginning of a relationship, you can’t guarantee that this is your person. It takes time to get to know each other and you must allow for that time.
If two people know what they want and start dating from a conscious and considerate state, you will be able to more successfully navigate the dating experience.
Determine your goals for a relationship and what qualities you want in a partner and want to experience in your relationship.
If you decide to wait it out to see if the person you are dating will come around, keep in mind that things may not progress in your favor.
Time is precious and you must choose how much time you are willing to invest. Don’t settle. You deserve to be happy and to have what you truly desire.
Lisa Angelini, MAPC, LPC, ACCHT – www.lisaangelini.com
If you are very early on in a relationship, this may be an appropriate arrangement.
Most people are not ready to proclaim commitment as soon as they meet someone. However, if you have known him for a while and he continues to say that he only wants to be friends with benefits and does not want a relationship, this means that he clearly wants to see other people and is not committed to you.
There are people who want open relationships or who may be polyamorous.
Everyone is entitled to choose the type of relationship that they want to have.
If your partner is clearly unable or unwilling to commit, then you need to decide whether or not this will work for you.
If you know that you want a committed and monogamous relationship, this may not be the person for you.
You may need to set your sights elsewhere in order to create the relationship and the life that you want. If you feel more flexible, it is perfectly acceptable to have an open relationship if both people are comfortable with it.
One of the risks of having an open relationship is if emotional attachment develops more on one side than the other.
If you find yourself becoming more intensely emotionally attached because of physical involvement, then you will need to decide whether this really works for you. There are also physical risks involved with having multiple sexual partners, and you and your partner need to have some clear boundaries around safety and staying healthy.
If you know that you and your partner want different things, and you are not going to get what you want, don’t waste your time waiting around and trying to change him.
People cannot generally be changed by other people, but only by themselves. It is good self-care to walk away from something that has no future and no longer serves you.
It is your responsibility to make wise choices, to assess situations and their future potential, and to evaluate the positive or negative impacts in your life. Choose someone who shares your values and who truly wants and values you!
Anita Gadhia-Smith, PsyD, LCSW-C, LICSW – www.drgadhiasmith.com
If you’re reading this article because you find yourself wanting a relationship when he just wants to be friends with benefits, the solution is simple – don’t move forward with him. End things now before you end up heartbroken. It isn’t going to work.
I hate to be so blunt. Most of the time I am a big fan of people giving someone a chance and being patient, but that doesn’t apply in this situation.
The two of you are wanting vastly different things and you are on different paths when it comes to love. This means there is no future for the two of you. All that’s going on right now is him getting what he wants (sex), while you’re not getting what you want (an emotional connection and commitment – in addition to sex!).
And though I say this is simple, it is far from easy to walk away.
It might be even harder when you hear stories of others who had a relationship evolve from a friends-with-benefits situation. You might be thinking that he will see the light and come around.
While that’s not impossible, think about the foundation you want to build when it comes to love.
- Would you rather build that foundation on sex or emotional intimacy?
- Would you rather build it with a guy who also wants a relationship or with a guy who you’re trying to convince to want a relationship with you?
- How long are you willing to wait, hoping that he will eventually want more?
If you want a relationship, it’s time to create space for that in your life.
In order to do that – however messy it is – it’s time for you to end things with him here sooner rather than later. A great love could be waiting for you out there with someone else who wants it just as much as you do.
Michelle Henderson, MA, LMHC – www.nextchapter-counseling.com
If you stay involved with a man who has a completely different goal than you do, then you are gambling.
You are taking a chance that he will change his mind and want more or “fall for you”.
Why not just wait until you find someone who wants the same thing that you want?
I know what you’re thinking:
I’ll just hang out with this guy and enjoy the sex until I find someone who wants a relationship…
The reason I know this, is that I’ve worked with dozens of women who thought the same thing.
But 90% of them ended up regretting it.
Because, despite telling themselves that they were not going to get attached, they did. And when he broke things off, they were really heartbroken.
If you are in denial that he will break things off, think about this: there’s a reason he doesn’t want a relationship with you.
Maybe he says he’s just not ready for a relationship.
This will go one of three different ways.
- He will be ready for a relationship someday and it won’t be with you
- He will be ready for a relationship someday and it will be you
- He will never be ready
One out of three does not feel like good odds to me.
What I want you to do is to be strong. Believe in yourself. Believe that you deserve to be with a man who wants a relationship. Let this one go. Free up your energy for something better. More aligned with what you want.
Ellen Hartson, LISW, Life Coach – www.ellenhartson.com
Common goals are foundational to a relationship.
You already know that he doesn’t share your goals.
This is getting off to a bad start. Perhaps you are harboring the belief that he will want more at some point. It could happen, but it’s a big risk. At least he was honest with you. That’s a big plus in deciding how to proceed.
When someone tells you what they want, believe them.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking you know what he really wants or will eventually want. He is telling you that he isn’t interested in the kind of relationship you’re looking for.
When you feel a strong friendship with someone it’s disappointing that they don’t want to take it to the next level. I can almost hear you thinking, “But it would be so great! We’re so compatible. We’re already friends”. This man is being a good friend in that he’s telling you his truth so you don’t put your energy and hopes into something that you want, but he doesn’t.
I think the only question is whether you can be comfortable and satisfied in a friendship with or without benefits when you really want something more.
It can be torturous being with someone who doesn’t feel about you the way you feel about them. It might be wiser to just part ways and let each of you pursue the kind of relationships that you actually want.
Sally LeBoy, MFT – www.sallyleboymft.com
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