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Parallax - Advice

January 13, 2003

Bed buddies?

Dear Conversely,

Ask us a Question!I have to tell you about the most important person in my life—my best friend. We are co-workers and have been very close for a little over a year. Early on in our friendship, we both decided we didn't want a 'relationship,' but would be friends with 'benefits.' Since that time, we've only been with each other, and this man has become very special to me—I could say I love him! However, he's had some bad relationships (divorced for three years) and is now in the process of battling for visitation with his children. This has left him with a very sour taste in his mouth and he says he doesn't want to remarry or even have a girlfriend! I've tried to let him know that I want to be more than just friends, but he tells me to 'just be my friend.' I'm very supportive and would do anything for him. To top it all off, he will soon be moving in with me as my 'roommate.' Is there a chance of ever being a girlfriend to this man? Or shall we always remain the best of friends...with 'benefits?' Email to a Friend

Her view:

Dear Benefactor,

I think you are destined for friendship. You can decide how long you'd like to provide benefits, but do not expect a real relationship. This sounds very hard on you. Are you sure you want to move in with someone you want, but cannot have? It may be difficult, and you should consider potential torment. What happens when he starts bringing home other women? And he will—the two of you are just friends, you realize.

Having said that, you may start bringing home men as well, and perhaps this will spur an instinct in him. But I don't believe that will happen. I believe it is you who shall suffer in this situation. You certainly should not try to move him into boyfriend mode. He's said no—plain and simple. He could hate all women, or just not be interested in you. My guess is that it's the latter; it usually is. So go find someone who is interested in you.

Put the benefits behind you and move on to a more giving relationship.

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His view:

Dear Benefactor,

Bad experiences in relationships are, as you say, ubiquitous. Your man certainly doesn't have the monopoly on broken hearts or sour aftertastes. Yet, he seems to be taking it harder than most others. I don't buy this. To claim that he never, ever wants to have another relationship is both immature to say, and difficult to believe.

He's already using you for sex and moral support. Now he's going to ease his financial burdens by splitting home expenses with you. And still no relationship. That sounds like a pretty bad deal for you, but you're too 'in love' with him to see this.

Shall you always remain friends with 'benefits?' No, don't worry. Eventually he's going to fall in love with some woman who's not going to let him get away with this 'never another relationship' bull.

And then he'll leave you.

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