Dating or friends with benefits quiz
Marilyn, a 57-year-old single colleague of mine, recently reconnected with someone she had worked with many years ago. "No," Marilyn said with a laugh, "it's better than that: I'm in like with him — and that's exactly where I want to be." She further confided that they planned to make their reunions "a regular thing — if four times a year can be called 'regular.' But I think that's about all I really want." Marilyn's casual approach to maintaining a friendship with benefits typifies the mindset of older folks who have reconciled themselves to having "great fun" even if it's "just one of those things." And episodic pleasure-seeking may be more common than you think: In The Normal Bar, a book I wrote last year with Chrisanna Northrup and James Witte, we reported that 61 percent of female survey respondents who had partners fantasized about someone they had met.A few weeks later, she joined him for "a wonderful weekend" in his home state. (For men, the figure was 90 percent.) And should they be propositioned by someone they found attractive, 48 percent of the women (and 69 percent of the men) said they would be tempted to have sex outside the relationship.But then it gets you thinking: You're single, too — what could be so bad about a casual night in bed with someone you like but don't love?For 50-plus types unwilling to walk — possibly rewalk — the path that leads to romance, rings and relocation, the prospect of a "friend with benefits" is looking less and less like a millennial indulgence.The same study revealed 11 percent of survey respondents were in a sexual relationship that did not involve cohabitation.Can a casual sexual relationship exact an emotional toll?After all, it gets awfully lonely waiting around for "the one." Perhaps you've decided that what you need at this point in your life is someone to talk to and laugh with — someone with whom you can share the sheets, but not the tax refund.Many older divorced or widowed men and women are in the same boat. You're probably not desperate enough to stalk your neighbors, or to go looking for friends with benefits in all the wrong places (bars come to mind).
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For sure, people who associate intimacy with commitment are ill-suited to sex that's as meaningful as a summer breeze; for them, the FWB arrangement would be a bad idea.
That doesn't mean all casual lovers feel emotionally bereft in the wake of a purely physical rendezvous, mind you.
And to change it would come across as manipulative. And he’s comfortable in this arrangement, so there’s no reason for him to choose anything different. It doesn’t mean that he doesn’t want you to be happy.
The way out of this would be to simply treat the relationship as it actually is now instead of acting as if it’s more. But there is no reason he would do anything different than he has been doing since what he’s been doing so far has worked well. Look to your life to fill you up, make you happy, and make you fulfilled. but when we’re in the situation ourselves, somehow we forget what it looks like from the outside.I told him that I didn’t want to be just a “booty call” and he said he’s not like that, but he won’t make it more.