My Ex Girlfriend Wants To Be Friends With Benefits But I Still Have Feelings For Her

Dear Evan,

I broke up with my girlfriend of 11 months three months ago. I pulled the trigger but I think that if I hadn’t she would have within a month, we were fighting so much. We are both young (20-21) and in college, and were both each others’ first real relationship.

My problem is that, after cutting all contact with her for two months, I have recently started having sex with her again. Her idea. I initially rejected her offer out of spite (and to keep myself from developing feelings again), but she was persistent and so my “other” head won out over my rational head, as often happens.

Predictably, I think I have developed feelings for her again. These are not rational feelings. Logically, I know I do not want to be with her because 1) it’s over and I want to meet someone new, and I am actively pursuing other women (I have a date tomorrow in fact), and 2) she said and did some things that really hurt me while we were dating and I don’t want to go through that again.

But it’s not just the sex I like… she’s wonderful to hang out with, we have great interpersonal chemistry, she lends me CDs, always offers to help me with stuff, etc. I am also pretty introverted, so my social life takes a big hit if I cut her out of it.

In a moment of weakness where I brought up the possibility of a relationship again, she made it quite clear she does not want to be with me, beyond friends with benefits. Her rationale is, “I’m attracted to you, we’re compatible in bed and I love hanging out with you, but I can’t see me spending the rest of my life with you. Our values are too different.”

Simply, the alternative of reinventing your life is a lot less appealing than keeping up your unpleasant status quo.

My concern is that she will find someone before I do, and thus I will be alone and devastated, feeling used as a filler. We have discussed this and she says she wouldn’t feel that way if I found someone first… a bit jealous maybe, but not devastated. I know the best decision is to just STOP seeing her. I have made repeated attempts to do this, but they all ultimately fail. I don’t call her and she doesn’t call me, but we run into each other, and end up in bed every time. This is all my own failing, because she has made clear to me EXACTLY what she wants, with no pretense. Nobody is leading anybody on. I can tell her no any time I want… yet I never do.

Should I just suck it up and enjoy what I have while it lasts, or actively avoid her if I run into her? I’m confused as hell and I don’t know what I want.


Thanks for the email reminder, R, that relationship questions know no gender boundaries. You’re the traditional woman in this scenario, and I’m pretty sure that any woman here could tell you EXACTLY what to do.

But since you asked me, and I’m a guy, I’m going to lay it out for you in guy terms.

You had a good thing going that went bad. And what you’ve now discovered, at 21, is that, often having something flawed is better than having nothing.

This would explain why we stay in dead-end jobs and dysfunctional relationships way past their expiration dates. Simply, the alternative of reinventing your life is a lot less appealing than keeping up your unpleasant status quo.

And who could blame you? Losing a girlfriend means losing your best friend. It means giving up your source of constant sex. It means scrapping the relationship you’ve been building for 11 months. It means you suddenly have a lot of time to fill that was previously occupied. In short, a break-up leaves a tremendous void that doesn’t just get magically filled. It takes work. And a lot of the work is going to be of the trial-and-error variety – going out to bars and not having the guts to ask for a number, emailing a few women online who relegate you to the friend zone, taking out a few first dates where there’s no chemistry, hooking up with a couple of women for whom you have no feelings.

So you say to yourself – “Was it really that bad? I mean, my life kind of sucks now. Maybe I should give her more of a shot. She knows me a lot better than anyone else out there, we do have great sex, and I don’t have to take her on expensive dates.” And that’s how you find yourself right back where you started.

I’ve been in your shoes, and I’m very sympathetic. A woman I loved dumped me primarily because she couldn’t handle who I was – a dating coach, a flirt, and unapologetic about both. A few weeks after she broke up with me, she came back to figure out how to make things work. After all, we had so much worth preserving; it would be a shame to let our chemistry just fizzle out like that. But as much as I was dazzled by her and wanted her back, I knew one thing for sure: she was the exact same person who dumped me three weeks before. Nothing had changed – except we were both a little scared and lonely on our own. That fear and loneliness was bringing us back together, and would have been the easiest thing to give into.

She doesn’t want you back. She wants to use you like a sex toy and not deal with you as a boyfriend.

Don’t do it.

For two reasons: 1) After 11 months, you know this girl well enough to know exactly what you’d be getting if you took her back. 2) She doesn’t want you back. She wants to use you like a sex toy and not deal with you as a boyfriend. I can’t think of a stronger endorsement as to why you should cut this woman out of your life.

“Friends with benefits” is great conceptually; but once someone develops feelings, it all falls apart. Don’t ignore your feelings, R. Use them to your advantage. Think about all the reasons you resent your ex and use them as a justification to cut her off cold-turkey.

Not only will she survive just fine without you, but you’ll have a chance to thrive on your own. More importantly, your freedom will help you find a girlfriend who may be a keeper. This one’s certainly not it.

Join our conversation (67 Comments).
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  1. 31

    Are FWB relationships by nature destined to be short-lived?

    Yes, because it is almost certain to turn into an FWOB relationship if one or the other enters into a real relationship.

    FWB is no substitute for a real relationship.

  2. 32

    Selena, my married sister, has two married girlfriends, that talk about having, FWB’s, one FWB went 8 years, the other 11 years.

  3. 33

    Interesting because the I know a man who said he had an FWB with a MARRIED woman for 18 years.

    Maybe FWB’s work better when one partner is married, opposed to both being single?

  4. 34

    Maybe, I have heard therapist tell women, find 2 men, one for his money, and the other for his sex. Can’t have one do both things.

  5. 35

    get this: my so-called bf leaves me for 6 to 8 months a year to spend time with his mommy to go partying at bars, shows, renfair, nam show, you name it.
    i am not welcome to go with them; in fact, there is a demonstration of histrionics on their part before every event to insure i am not included.
    my not being present–according to what bf has reported to me–makes it more convenient for him to hook up with other bitches.
    heh yeah. what’s funny is that he isn’t nearly hot enough to pull that shit off. i am, though.
    yet, i wouldn’t do that to another human being. for whatever reason i went through this nonsense with him, i know someone out there deserves the sensitivity i have, and the respect for humanity everyone deserves.
    it is over, most definitely. i deserve to be without bottom feeders dragging me down.

  6. 36
    advice to get my ex back

    Just stop playing that kind of messy game. Try to give her the respect she must have as a girl or teach her to respect her self.  Sorry but I always find relationships sacred.

  7. 37

    No doubt about it. Being 21 and in college is an awkward and scary point in life for some. College, living on your own, the real world, finding a job,  relationships, new friends, and the best and most important part – making decisions on your own. Life is all about living and learning from our positive and negative experiences. This is how we grow and become the wise man with gray hair. No matter what the outcome of this predicament you have yourself caught up in, you will have learned a valuable lesson in the end. Whether it be “never give up hope” because you look back 20 years from now married to this girl and were thankful you didn’t quit on her OR you learn that trying to piece together a broken puzzle with missing pieces is simply a lost cause and a huge waste of time and energy that could be spent meeting someone new and exciting. Whatever the path you take, you will have LIVED. This is what life is all about. Making mistakes is part of it. Don’t worry about things so much as life has a crazy way of always working itself out. Embrace the air you breath today for it could be your last at any minute and don’t worry! There will be a day you look back with great wisdom and laugh about it for it was an exciting and confusing time in your life. Don’t sweat it man, but do realize their may be emotional consequences that could possibly follow if the wrong path is taken. Yet, being human, this is what makes life worth living. Experiencing the good and the bad. For without it, what’s the purpose?  Good Luck.

  8. 38
    Bob teh Knob

    DON’T DO IT.

  9. 39
    Joe simo

    You are both very young and this being your first for each other makes it that much harder to let eachother go and move on I’m not saying that’s the best thing to do, but my theory in life is” if you are happy and the people you care about are too that’s all that matters” for instance you can have all the money in the world and anything you want but that counts for nothing if your un happy . Don’t hurt eachother and stay friends always you will regret it if u don’t all the best

  10. 40

    It may seem like a good idea to hang out with her, but you will continue to be introvert if you don’t spend time working on meeting new people. If you do not want a relationship, not does she, avoid continuing the sex. It will, as you described, make you feel worse in the end. Meet new people, cut her out…until there are zero feelings left.

  11. 41

    Having some sex, is better than having no sex.  Look at it this way you don’t have to work and pay for dates for either a few weeks or up until your married if you get one of those “old fashion” girls.  Just take what you can get and if she finds someone else before you do, just make sure to hide your emotions when you are around her.  Make it look like everything in your life is perfect and then if you are like me you will want to work as hard as you can to make her jealous. 

    But again the sex you can get is worth it. 

  12. 42

    well, i guess im one of the very few women that is actually perfectly content with having my ex as a fwb. we have tried the friends with benefits thing one other time in the past, but it wasnt working because we were both still angry at each other about the breakup. this time, its actually working, at least for me it is. i do not want to get back together with him, but im starting to sense that he is slowly regaining his feeling of love for me. i have talked to him and told him that i still care about him as a friend, but i just dont see a future with him. he says he is ok with that, but his actions say something different. maybe im wrong, idk. im just using him for sex  and he claims to be doing the same. i know alot of people are saying that its not a good idea to continue sleeping together because it always ends up with feelings getting hurt and hearts being broken for the other person. but what if the other person already knows this, yet still seems to get mad when you have to keep telling them youre just using them for sex and nothing more? in my case, i do not feel the slightest bit of guilt when we have sex. yeah, he may want to be more than just friends with benefits, but he already knows the deal and is choosing to continue to sleep with me so, again, why should i feel guilty? lol. i look at it as….if you cant handle the fact that i just want to remain fwb, then maybe you should stop sleeping with me. right? i am not going to stop sleeping with my ex until he doesnt want to anymore. hey, a girls gotta get her jollies off just as much as guys do. lol. my ex and i have been sleeping together for a year or so and i still havent developed feelings for him and i probably never will. its just sex for me. oh well, he will leave once he gets tired of fwb. so, in my opinion, i think fwb can work, even if its one sided. haha. what can i say? im selfish.

  13. 43

    Erin you sound EXACTLY like my ex (FWB). What your doing is evil, but it’s a fruit which can’t be left alone for us in love with our ex. If I could be strong enough to stay away from her and not have sex with her then I would. She’s doing the whole “I don’t want a realationship with anyone I just want to get to know myself better…” 2 months later “omg I actually can’t live without your dick” we were together for a couple of years and I love her more then life itself… so how do I say “No I need to stay away from you” when I’d choose being with her over anything. I’m a bit of a womaniser as well and I’ve been with a few since my ex which has done nothing for me, I’m going on dates with other women ect, (apparently ex is not, she’s getting to know herself better… if you believe that) lol I’m only having sex with her because 1) I love it. 2) Love her 3) It’s there for the taking… blah blah was gonna make a massive list 😛 but yeah another main reason is “Maybe she will decide to take me back on full time?” “Maybe if I find someone else and finish my FWB with my ex she’ll realise that she needs me ect” 

    I think we cling on to our ex’s who we still love simply because if we totally cut them off we’ll never know what “could of happened” but I know and im sure anyone else in this sort of situation knows, “I’m going to get hurt” but if the odds are 95% i’ll get hurt and 5% I’ll live happily ever after then I’m ready to roll the dice. Cause she’s worth the risk… but after going through this, I would NEVER EVER do it someone 

  14. 44

    I find that you are being outrageously sexiest when you start  your advice off with … “You’re the traditional woman in this scanario and I’m pretty sure that ANY woman here could tell you what to do.” What makes you think that you can paint every woman with such a broad stroke? To suggest every woman is the gonna be the WEAK one who cant get away from an ex due to ’emotional baggage’ and lovesick? yes, you didnt use those words, but THAT is what you’re impying. You claim to be such a guru on relationships and helping ‘women’ find love, and yet you use such disrespectful undertones. it’s a shame. I wont be surprised if this message dosent make it onto your website or isnt edited in some way. Hope you grow some and respect women as equals instead of generalising the entire species.

    1. 44.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Thanks for calling me the sexiest, Lexi. It’s nice to know that your ill feelings towards me haven’t clouded your judgment on my attractiveness.

      As for your very narrow reading of what I wrote? Take a deep breath. I didn’t say “EVERY” woman. You did. But if you look at this blog, do you think there are a LOT of women who stick with bad men? Yeah, I’d say so. So when I allude to women who are lovesick and carry emotional baggage, every other reader here seemed to know what I was talking about. YOU chose to take offense, although there was nothing inherently offensive about it.

      If you don’t like my advice, then leave. Thousands of women come here, knowing that they have my full respect, and they appreciate my desire to give clear, honest, helpful advice. If that is lost on you, I am not remotely upset.

  15. 45
    Sparkling Emerald

    Lexi 44
      Talk about taking things out of context.  You take issue with EMK saying ” You’re the traditional woman in this scenario, and I’m pretty sure that any woman here could tell you EXACTLY what to do.”  You conveniently ignore the sentence IMMEDIATELY proceeding this which changes the context.  What he actually said was . . .
    “Thanks for the email reminder, R, that relationship questions know no gender boundaries. You’re the traditional woman in this scenario, and I’m pretty sure that any woman here could tell you EXACTLY what to do.”
    But he’s very flattered to be considered “sexiest”, and I’m sure many women agree with your statement that he is “OUTRAGEOUSLY sexiest” 🙂

  16. 46

    I think life is simple in that respect.  You have doubts.  Listen to them.  Act on them.
    Find someone else.  She might give you great sex, but while you’re with her, you’re not with the one you really deserve.  And neither by the way, is she.

  17. 47

    i dont believe this article was written by a boy. usually boys ask girls to be friends with benefit partners. good luck being his chick . ! but i do believe boys can be for friends with benefits too.

  18. 48

    I was seeing this Canadian girl online and after 4 months she flew to Australia to be with me. We both kind feel in love but when a month after physically being together, she had cold feet. She said I wasn’t the 1… And them the next day she took it back because it was to shorter time to even test the water…..2 weeks later she did it again…..and then we mended a week later.
    The sex was great and I was the only partner the could make her orgasm….orally too.
    New years day she finally called it off, she was a women with itchy feet but also very indecisive.
    I was so in love with her and pushed the worlds weight to make her fulfilled but emotionally she was a head fck.
    She’s mentioned just stepping back because the bf and gf label was too to the same for me.
    She asked if fwb? I’m fine with that because I love the taste of her and all the other sex etc….
    Great person and I am actually hoping her feel g will come back.
    If not? I’m outta here.

  19. 49

    …yes, yes, this happens when you know your bedroom technique…..

  20. 50

    From my experience a lot of woman who are not naturally ‘whores’ won`t have sex with you unless they feel something for you on an emotional level.  Remember most woman see sex different to most men.  Sex to a woman is bonding on an emotional/spiritual level, not just physical, and you can actually get a relationship back together with an ex using this, as long as you are really passionate and really wow her between the sheets.   

    1. 50.1

      ….women no longer bond at 50…….

      1. 50.1.1

        Not true.

  21. 51

    I really needed to read the reply!!! You have really answered well you have really helped me answer my own question.  What u said is so true!!!

  22. 52

    Keep sleeping with her until you find a new girlfriend. Do every freaky, nasty, sex act permissible. Then drop her when you find someone better. Just make sure you beat her to the punch. 

    1. 52.1

      That’s precisely what he should do! Good advice!

    2. 52.2

      That is just nasty, horrible and not the way to treat another human being and says a lot about you.  Get some help about that attitude or you are going to have a hell of an empty life.

  23. 53

    I would like to say that I dated my bf for 1.5 yrs. I broke up with him and took his virginity. He moved on quickly but not before wanted FWB. We were hooking up off and on for a year. He dated other girls while I wanted him back until I was sick of it and had no contact and dated someone else for 8 months only to go back to my ex of 1 5 years as a FWB again not wanting a relationship after just getting out of one only a few weeks. I liked FWB to get over new break up but understand not letting go of a friend who is one of my best friends ive ever had to go into yet another serious relationship.  

  24. 54

    Read this with interest as I have just decided to get into a FWB thing with my recent ex.  I absolutely love it, I love his company, I love the sex and I love it being just once a week, go to his or he comes to mine, bottle of wine, a few hours of great conversation, often heated but fun and then great sex.  We both are very solitary people, love our own company, hate our phones, have only a few very close friends and prefer a Saturday night alone with a good book or a pizza and a movie, rather than out with friends and we both love who we are and are happy with that.  He admits openly, he never wants a relationship, he is 45 and has some pretty serious issues that come to play when he gets involved too heavily, he opened up on our first FWB experience and told me why it all went wobbly and it all made sense and nope, I don’t want to risk my life happiness with that, but he does make me happy, I feel great for days after I spend a night with him, neither of us are looking elsewhere, we actually like being single, he just isn’t a people person at all,  but we really like spending time with each other too.  He has been clear, he doesn’t ever want a relationship with anyone, that he cannot, he cannot even connect with his children and although he likes animals, it’s why he doesn’t own a pet….he admits, relationship is never going to be his thing, he is upfront he doesn’t have feelings and he likes spending time alone, that we are not friends (although he does open up a lot when I am around and one night when he ranted about how much I had disrespected him and hurt him, I got a bit teary and he lept across the sofa and flung his arms around me), said if 5 perfect women messaged him and asked to come around he would rather spend the night alone (my friends laugh as he spends time with me and always asks at the end of the night when I leave if I fancy coming over a on xday).   He also made it clear I deserved a good man, that I should let him go and find the right man, which I explained I had been smiling at a guy at work a few floors down, which you saw his face flinch and he barked ‘why are you here with me now, doing this when you are trying to attract someone else’.  I said ‘hey he hasn’t even spoken to me yet, let alone asked me out’.  He then said ‘I don’t need to know your personal life.  So although it was him who suggested it being just FWB, not sure if he really meant it, or if he is just adjusting but the thing is, regardless, if you have a healthy respect for each other, you work it out, you talk, if someone has feelings down the track again and the other doesn’t then you talk about it, like decent human beings and if it has to stop, at least for a while, then it does.  However, lets also not forget, it can be also a great reset on occasion, go back to the beginning with all expectation off and possibly, all the turbulence that often happens at the beginning through insecurity, fear, not knowing……..that can be taken away.  After all our drama of our break up, the things we did wrong, I trust him more and as a person I know things about him now, about his values, his strength I wish I had known when we were seeing each other.  I would never have freaked out how I did or let the fear in…….however, now, I can just totally trust him, hang out, have great sex and great company once a week and the rest of the time I have my peace and quiet, he has his.

    So I believe yes, friends with benefits with an ex can work great.  For me it isn’t about not having feelings, it is about getting rid of anything other than enjoying the moment and not thinking about the future, which being honest, any relationship should be like that.

    Noone knows what tomorrow brings, no one knows the future……………two exes may fall in love again tomorrow who said they never would, one may fall in love with someone else or you never know, two people might end up friends with benefits for years, even a lifetime…… one knows what will happen, you can only enjoy things for right now.

    1. 54.1

      Thank you. That’s what I needed to read right now.

  25. 55

    Wow! I’m 49, divorced dad of three (ages 7-14) and at no point in time ever ran into these sort of situations early in life until after divorce. I spent much of my life in committed relationships which evidently for whatever reason did not work. Blows my mind that after 5 years of being on my own and dating for 5 years after divorce I’m riding this similar situation and feeling just as confused as our friend R. Met a gal last year (41, very attractive) thought she was my all, dated for 6 months, it was magical, like no other.. I decided to go a step further and get engaged..As it turns out it did not work, she was far from my all! We were apart for a couple of months and then she reached out to me asking about a car issue..Nonetheless it went from helping out to back to her place for cocktails and then yes.. you guessed it.. sex. The next day she tells me she likes hanging out with me and she doesn’t want to be in a relationship of any kind. Needs to work on finding work &  That we could hang out here and there & have sex with each other and no one else(though she always used the F word.. I hated that). Worse yet is that I still like her and I shouldn’t as she did a financial number on me. Though at the end of the day I believe I could turn those feelings off.. Though I’m starting to doubt myself.  I’m  aware there is nothing really here to build into anything.. Just occasional sex until she lands something/one very lucrative. I’m finding it hard to focus on dating at all as she calls a lot (3x a week)at night after work (food/bar industry) & I have to be up early. I tell her but she sort of ignores it. Not booty call, just to talk about new job.. sometimes for an hour. I know what I have to do but I couldn’t agree more with what was said on this blog.. Clearly someone doesn’t want you, better to deal with the void & move forward.. Just really sucks, even at this age with lots of experiences.

  26. 56


    You are a sweet man.  This woman is a user. Follow your gut and go no contact. I have been there. Trust me. This will be a good idea in the long run.

  27. 57

    AJ it sounds like he’s telling you exactly what he means – sex and hang out but he can’t be more. It sounds like you are sticking around not just for the sex but settling for what he gives. Only go into it for exactly what you want. If that’s sex then it fills a need. Don’t be stunted by what someone else wants if it’s not what you want

  28. 58

    1 Don’t pick up the phone, you know she’s only calling ’cause she’s drunk and alone.
    2 Don’t let her in, you’ll have to kick her out again.
    3 Don’t be her friend, you know you’re gonna wake up in her bed in the morning.
    And if you’re under her, then there’s no getting over her.

    I’ve got my rules I count ’em

  29. 59
    Advice giver

    I love how a quick Google search suggests FWB turn into a serious relationship 44% of the time, yet almost all the comments say it never works. Lol go for what you want and be a man. That’s what men do, she wants you too by the way. I think she just wants you to man up a bit more. Show her she’s a choice not what you’re settling for (take other girls out). Use the Facebook fun method and post pics of you having fun with other women, be confident and respectful in these pics but show that other women are attracted to you too. (Put your arm around them and smile in the pics or strike fun poses doing fun stuff) Facebook is honestly a great tool to rekindle your ex’s feelings. Most important, every now and then tell her no you have plans tonight if that doesn’t work cut her off totally for a week of no contact, then she’ll probably come running back to you wanting a relationship again.

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