Thursday, July 24, 2008
Strictly for My Ladies: Friends w/ Benefits – Can it REALLY work?
by Carah Herring
In January of this year, I sounded the battle cry for young ladies around the nation to "Snatch the Cat Back" (If you haven't read it yet, check out my very first piece, entitled "Strictly for My Ladies: Why He Probably Won't Commit" before continuing with this article).
"Women, listen closely: We have a lot more control with men than we think we do,” I shared fervently. “So make him WAIT. Make him WORK FOR IT. Make him EARN IT. Go OUT ON DATES (clarification: a 'date' is not watching DVDs at his crib every other night). Challenge him to get to know you as an individual outside the bedroom first – your likes, dislikes, hobbies, quirks, dreams and aspirations."
Well, fast-forward six months later. Summertime is here, ‘skin’ is ‘in’ and sexy muscles are being displayed on the regular. Yum. Let’s just cut the crap and face it: After agreeing so hard and devoting ourselves to snatching the cat back, that damn cat has more than likely been released. >sheepish laugh< I mean, some of us threw that thang with a vengeance! Lol.
This reality leads us to our next topic in the ever-eventful adventures in relationships – or rather, relations: Friends with benefits.
Let me tell you a little bedtime story. Maybe you can relate:
Once upon a time in a land far, far away, a twentysomething girl and guy met randomly. They immediately dug each other – looks, conversation, style, etc. They hung out a couple times and the chemistry was undoubtedly there . They had a ball, truly enjoying each other’s company… and they eventually got intimate. A few weeks later, you name it, they’d done it: on the kitchen table, in the shower, in the park, on/in the car, at work (that was a joke, but if this applies to you, your ass is bold!).
It was the perfect situation – they were having harmless fun. They could still chat and kick it with other friends of the opposite sex without feeling guilty or on 'lockdown' because they were friends with benefits .
But then, the inevitable happened (dun, dun, DUN): The woman caught feelings. HARD. However, the guy was not trying to hear any type of relationship talk because he said from the start that he wasn't interested in being tied down right now (which the woman had agreed to in the beginning).
They continued to hump, but things started changing. The woman started becoming too clingy. Indeed, since they had been intimate on the regular for so long, the woman began to desire a smooth transition from her current romping partner status into the wifey/girlfriend role. She found herself getting perturbed and downright pissed when he didn't call her every night. And sometimes, following a ‘sneaking suspicion,’ she even tried hacking into his voicemail, e-mail, Facebook or MySpace (and that was soooo not even her nature!). When they chilled at each other's homes, she would slip into the bathroom with his cell phone, looking for numbers or text messages from other women a.k.a. competition. (And Lawd knows, when you look for trouble, you find it…)
The woman was definitely acting more and more 'weird' with the guy now. It became obvious that she was not as carefree as when they first starting hooking up a couple weeks/months ago. So the guy slowly distanced himself from her – which made the woman even more frustrated.
In the meantime, the guy randomly met another girl, who was 20 times more fun to be around. He and the new girl started talking, and he regularly took the new girl out on dates . When the original girl (let's call her 'OG' to keep things simple) caught wind of this, she became absolutely FURIOUS. In OG's mind, this new girl didn't have shit on her in regards to looks, personality or freakiness. WTF was up with that ?!
OG was devastated, to say the least. After she had invested all this time in this guy, opening all the way up to him on so many levels, she got what in return? A broken heart. And nothing's worse than feeling unduly rejected and horny. Sheesh.
OG continued to hump the guy out of desperation, because she knew that at least when they had sex, she could spend quality time with him. And even if the QT was just 2 or 3 hours, it was 2 to 3 fabulous hours where she felt (or pretended) like they were actually in a relationship. OG knew she needed to let go, but she couldn't. He was like a drug. She loved his companionship (well, what little she got)... and hey, everyone wants someone to cuddle with from time to time, right?
The sex was becoming horrible because the guy wasn't really attracted to OG as much. He was attracted to the new girl waaaay more and even thought about the new girl while he had sex with OG.
Soon, the guy stopped picking up OG’s phone calls, and saying that he was always "busy." Those text messages she sent? He claimed he didn't receive them (and what's the likelihood of that shit?). Even when OG wanted to hang out, the guy always came up with excuses, because OG was such a grump now. The only time he called her was late at night, when he was fienin’ and his new girl wasn't available.
OG finally saw the writing on the wall, and got fed up. She swore never to talk to the guy again. Why should she? While she was his plaything, this new b*tch was getting all the girlfriend-esque benefits that the OG desired (but never articulated) -- dates, dinners, movies, concerts, weekends at the beach, etc. And what did OG get out of all of this? Some mediocre d*ck, some wine and a whole lot of SportsCenter .
But it wasn't really the end. OG was still horny and now she was slightly depressed. One day, she randomly met a new guy that she clicked with. She promised herself that she would hold out and not give it up so soon. She promised herself that she'd never do the ‘friends with benefits’ situation again, knowing firsthand the potential consequences. Yet one evening after a late night movie, she and the new guy had sex. He told her up front that he didn't want a relationship; he just wanted to ‘have fun.’ This was a big ‘no-no’ in OG’s book. But damn, he was hot, oh-so-sexy and irresistable. Sigh. .. so they became friends with benefits... and the cycle continued.
The end (for real this time).
Do you truly just want sex or are you trying to hump your way into a relationship?
Some of us think we can handle the ‘friends with benefits’ set up, throwing around phrases like ‘I’m just doing me,’ ‘I’m having fun – I’m single,’ or ‘we have an understanding.’ And there’s no doubt that it sometimes it feels wonderful to be laid up with somebody (he may not be Mr. Right, but he’s the TRUTH as Mr. Right Now). But a lot of times, we can’t handle a friend with benefits. The temporary fulfillment is almost always depleted over time by the gnawing emptiness of reality.
Why do we continue to do this to ourselves when we already know how the story ends? Scratch that: it doesn’t end. It just repeats itself with a different co-star.
So ladies, Snatch the Cat back... or release that little rascal and let it do what it do. Hell, you’re grown. Just remember OG and the bedtime story. Then ask yourself it it’s worth the time, energy and emotion. Maybe it is. Maybe it isn’t. The choice is yours.
P.S. When it comes to relationships and our dealings with men romantically, we pretty much know what to do, but the difficult part is actually doing it. I am by no means touting myself as Miss Perfect, Miss Know-It-All, Mother Love or Dr. Phil when it comes to relationships, because in some cases, I struggle to heed my own advice! But at least by dialoguing, if and when we are in the wrong, we will know better and not act like clueless victims.