I’ve fallen in love with my FWB. Any advice?

needhelpthrowaway6 asks:

Almost a year ago I met a girl while I was out one night. We talked for a while and I asked for her phone number. She gave it to me and we kept in touch. I asked her to come over and we hung out a few times at my place and a few times went out to dinner. At that point nothing happened, but I was intensely attracted to her. Over the Fall she went through some very severe depression and became listless and didn’t want to see me, or anyone, but I kept in touch with her on the phone, kept encouraging her, telling her how great she is, how she has a bright future, etc.

A few months went by and I hadn’t heard from her so I sent her a text message. She replied back and told me that she had started a new anti-depressant and was feeling better. I told her I was so happy for her, that her new start was like a new start for me too! I told her we should celebrate her new happiness and do something fun. We talked about going to the beach and a few other things but ended up settling on her coming to spend the night with me. Before she came over we talked about what might happen when she slept over (sex) and discussed some of our shared interests around BDSM. She was concerned that I might want a relationship with her and I told her that I’d had Friends With Benefits before and not to worry, I didn’t get attached before and I wouldn’t now.

She finally comes over to spend the night and we started passionately kissing, touching each other and finally made love. It was the best I’d ever experienced–connection with her on so many levels sexual and non-sexual. Since then we have had sex a dozen more times and shared a bunch of wonderful experiences: falling asleep in each other’s arms, playing music together, doing photography, and so much more. She makes me feel alive and happy! As the weeks went on I realized that I had totally fallen in love with her, not just a crush or infatuation, but like wow, I could see myself spending a long time with this girl (maybe even the rest of my life).

I finally got up the courage to tell her how I felt, that I loved her more than anything and didn’t want to be without her, because I couldn’t take it anymore. I poured my heart out to her and we both cried a little bit. She didn’t know how to respond. It was an especially beautiful moment for us, as most of our time together is. She still doesn’t want to be in a relationship, she tells me she’s confused and doesn’t know what she wants in her life, and can’t give me what I need right now. I assured her that I’d do anything for her, be here for whatever she needed, would never hurt her, wanted to protected her. I’m beyond confused as to what to do next.

Should I stick around and see what happens? I have never loved anyone like I love her and am terrified of losing her, but on the other hand I feel sick just waiting around for her and I feel like I’m not a high priority in her life. Sometimes I can’t reach her for days at a time and get scared.

Any advice?

Demetrius says:

Alright, this is a long one so I promise I’ll try to address all of your issues/questions. Let’s lay them out and feel free to let me know if I’ve missed anything:

  • She doesn’t want to be in a relationship with you and you’re wondering if you should you stick around and see what happens
  • You’ve never loved someone like her and are afraid of losing her
  • It upsets you that you’re not a high-priority and when you’re unable to reach her, it makes you afraid

It sounds like the major issues are around her desire to avoid a traditional relationship, your desire for one, and your concerns about her depression. All valid concerns to be sure, though I’ll admit that I can’t really give you the answers you might be looking for when it comes to your concerns about her mental health because I’m not a mental health professional and because it’s an issue of hers, not yours. It’s possible that she feels great and simply ignores you because you’re not her boyfriend and doesn’t feel the need to reach out to you all the time. Either way, not much I can do there. What I can do is  talk about your issues regarding the FWB relationship. I’m happy that you both had the relationship talk and decided on what worked best for you, at the time, and it’s even better that you had a relationship talk after your situation changed. You both have done everything right, step by step, but that doesn’t make what comes next any easier.

You have two choices when it comes to your current situation:

  1. End your Friends with Benefits arrangement and go back to being friends
  2. Stick it out with your FWB

There really isn’t a right answer, so you’ll have to decide what to do for yourself. Don’t worry, I’ll give you my own recommendation a bit later, so let’s just discuss your options here. If she feels as though she wants to remain casual and it pains you to do so, you can leave your FWB situation and work on meeting someone you can connect with who wants a relationship. Staying with someone who regards you fondly, but doesn’t love or want to be with you in a relationship can be torturous and the best way to move on from that person is to force yourself to move on. Luckily, you were friends before being friends with benefits, so it’s entirely possible and likely that you will remain friends after things end. You started seeing her and your feelings changed and there’s nothing wrong with that, but that doesn’t mean that you need to stay with her. Things change, people change, and people move on. You can move on guilt-free and work on meeting someone who is open for a relationship with you.

Or…

You can always stick with her and wait it out if you like. For all intents and purposes you are in a relationship with her, though not your ideal version of it. If that’s enough to keep you around, by all means, stick around. What you shouldn’t do is stick around with the hopes that she’ll change her mind OR that you can change her mind for her. If you commit yourself to staying with her as a friend with benefits, you need to be that and only that. If you stick around you have to know that trying to coerce her into a relationship is a bad move. She clearly needs to figure things out for herself and she was upfront about that, so try to respect that she isn’t ready for a relationship.

When it comes to love, I think I might be in the minority when I say that I don’t believe in true love, or soul mates, or any other idealized version of love. When you say that you have never loved like this before, I believe you and that’s cool and all, but there’s no reason to believe that you can’t find that feeling again with someone who wants to be with you. If you’re stuck on deciding, try to consider that this love you feel was an accident, and accidents happen, so maybe, just maybe, you’ll find that feeling somewhere else with someone else who is a better match for you.

When it comes to her issues with depression, above all else I would encourage you to support her, whether you remain friends with benefits or just friends. If she’s seeking help, then just encourage it. It sounds like she needs a friend now and your encouragement probably helped a lot during her period of avoiding human contact. No matter what you decide to do, continue to support her. She may occasionally ignore you, or not make you a priority, but if she’s dealing with severe depression, the best you can do is be a friend.

Whatever you decide just know that because their isn’t one right answer, you’ll still have doubts and will probably play out a dozen “What if” scenarios. If you’re wondering what I would do, I would end things and just focus on being this woman’s friend. It sounds like you’re ready for a committed relationship and she’s not. It’s possible that she will be at some point, but now isn’t the right time and it’s entirely possible that there will never be a right time for you both to be together. If you stick around I’d support that decision too. There never is a great way to figure out when or if you should end a friends with benefits arrangement so whatever you do decide to do, just assume it’s the right decision and go with it.

Good Luck Out There.

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