I’ve been in a friends-with-benefits situation for about 3 months. I’ve continued to date other people as I don’t know what I really want right now. The problem is he is starting to get jealous of the other dates. We’ve agreed to be exclusive sexually only. He says he doesn’t know what he wants either but seems to be mad at me all the time. I think it may hurt him that I’m dating but he doesn’t ask to be exclusive. I wouldn’t mind giving a relationship a chance but I don’t want to stop dating if he can’t open up to me about it bothering him. He just won’t talk to me for a few days. Should I initiate the conversation or just walk away? I’m very confused by his actions.
It would be easy for me to give advice to your guy. Unfortunately, your guy isn’t the one who wrote me this letter. So I’m going to give you some advice on how you can see yourself a little more clearly.
The thing is that you’re only seeing what he’s doing wrong, but you have no idea what you’re doing wrong.
Now, to be fair, it’s extremely easy to see flaws in other people when you have them yourself. It’s why I’m a dating coach for smart, strong, successful women and I can speak, as a peer, to women who are often as equally busy, opinionated, critical and difficult as I am.
You and your FWB have a lot in common, Jen. The thing is that you’re only seeing what he’s doing wrong, but you have no idea what you’re doing wrong. To wit:
You point out that he’s getting jealous of your other dates. This is in clear violation of the 1982 Friends With Benefits Charter and is usually considered grounds for breaking things off.
Then again, in Paragraph IV of said charter, it is agreed that FWB relationships should be considered “don’t ask, don’t tell”. Meaning, it’s easy to blame your guy for getting jealous of your other dates, but why should he have to hear about your other dates? As long as you’re not a couple, you both have the right to do whatever you want. The problem is that…
You’re exclusive sexually but you both claim to “not know what you want.”
Being exclusive sexually doesn’t mean very much if you’re still actively looking for other men. And since this guy wants to be your boyfriend (the jealousy part gave him away), your proactive attempts to meet a guy you like better bothers him. Somehow, you don’t seem to understand this. I presume that this is why you actively tell him about the other guys you’re seeing, even though you say…
You are open to pursuing a relationship.
It’s like you’re a woman who wants to buy a lawnmower and he’s a man who wants to sell a lawnmower, and you’re both still wondering why the deal hasn’t gone down yet.
It’s because neither of you seem to have the ability to…
Act like an adult. Speak your needs. Stop playing guessing games that lead to more guessing games.
In your own words, “I wouldn’t mind giving a relationship a chance but I don’t want to stop dating if he can’t open up to me about it bothering him.” And I can guarantee that he’s thinking, “I wouldn’t mind giving a relationship a chance but I don’t want to let her know in case she pulls away from me.”
Basically, you want him to communicate better but you’re not doing a great job yourself. So what do you do? Simple. Act like an adult. Speak your needs. Stop playing guessing games that lead to more guessing games.
- a. Figure out if you want a boyfriend.
b. Figure out if you want HIM as a boyfriend.
c. Tell him you want him to be your boyfriend.
d. Continue to communicate this way for the rest of your life, otherwise, you will have a hard time no matter who your boyfriend might be.