About three weeks ago, I went to a party and one of my best male friends confessed his feelings for me and kissed me. I had developed a bit of a crush on him by this point too, but was in no means interested in beginning a full-on relationship, having broken up with my ex a couple of months earlier. I explained this to him, and suggested we try a casual, no-strings-attatched thing over the summer (I would call it 'friends with benefits' but that implies sex, which we haven't done - more on that later). We're off to different universities in september, and neither of us want to be tied down in a relationship when that happens.
So as far as I'm concerned it's just innocent fun - a great friend who you can depend on, play video games with AND make out with afterwards! Awesome! The problem is, I think he's starting to kid himself into thinking it's a lot more than I do. He insists that we're on the same page, but I think he sees this as a romantic summer relationship rather than just a casual fling. He always wants to cuddle when we watch a movie, and hold hands when we're out, and is becoming really, really clingy. Which annoys me - I'm the kind of person who enjoys their space. And don't get me started on the awkwardness of the physical side of things - the reason I don't like calling this 'friends with benefits'? He's a virgin, while I lost mine at 17 and have been sexually active in all relationships since. It makes things awkward. My ex was very experienced and I enjoyed that, and while I'd never put my guy friend down for not knowing how to do certain things, or pressure him into doing anything he's not ready for, it does make me realise that I'm not as excited by this as I thought I'd be.
Honestly, it's not fun anymore! The worst thing is that I feel like a total bitch. I feel like, in his eyes, I've promised him this amazing, fun-filled summer, and he goes on and on about how happy I make him, etc, but I'm starting to get cold feet, and I feel like I'm stringing him along, and I know I'm going to crush him if I just suddenly say it's not working. Though at the same time, I totally get that leading him on would be just as bad, if not worse. Not cool.
I just don't know how to deal with him. Where do I start? What should I do? How can I let him down gently without putting a massive dent in a great friendship?
-------------------- The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts. Posts: 12 | From: UK | Registered: Jun 2012
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Well, it sounds like the place to start is by talking about all of this and asking for the kinds of boundaries you want.
If you two have been very close, you probably already have practice with deeper conversations and sensitive conversations, so I'd bring those skills to this table.
Of course, you also need to see how he is really feeling, not just what you're thinking. For instance, affection like kissing and hand-holding can be something people in sexual relationships want without there being romance, too. So, I'd be sure and check in with him instead of making assumptions. Sure, you might be right in those assumptions, but you also might not be.
-------------------- Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen About Me • Get our book! Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead Posts: 63418 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000
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