Ask a Dude: Can You Go from Friends with Benefits to Just Friends?

Dear Dude,

With summer quickly approaching I started to think about what has happened in my love life over the past year and realized something major… I keep hooking up with my guy friends. I’ve always been the “single” girl in my group of friends and have no issues with that. Also, I’ve always been a “guy’s girl,” I just get along better with boys. But last summer (after graduating high school) I ended up hooking up (ranging anywhere from just making out to the full monty) with seven guys. SEVEN. Some of these boys I have known since elementary school! I though that this pattern would end after the summer, but it didn’t. I have seen them on breaks and even visited some of them at their own schools, and every single time, even if I am not planning on it, we end up fooling around!

What I want to know is why. Why did they suddenly start wanting to make out with me instead of just hanging out? Is it because they trust me?

I’m so confused about this and need to know why. I love my boys, I really do, but I really am looking for a man who is willing to commit to me. I don’t really want a romantic relationship with any of them, I want to find someone new, outside of our group of friends who I connect with. But how can I do that while they still want to be my friend with benefits?

— Can We Just Be Friends?

Dear Can We Just Be Friends?

Are all seven guys shorter than you? Do they room together in a cabin in the forest? And do they sing as they go to work in the morning in a single file line? (Do we all get the joke? Good! Moving on!)

Yes, you can just be friends. Unfortunately, you may end up losing some friends in the process.

Look, FWB isn’t a stable arrangement. It sure as heck rarely ever satisfies both of you for very long and it’s got a half life shorter than a FunnyOrDie clip. It’s like watching Chuck: easy to start, tough to stop. Can you ever go back to the old status quo? Yes and no.

First of all, you’ve got to realize one thing: all SEVEN of these friends probably wanted to hook up with you before you did the deed. A lot of guys don’t start out looking for admittance to the Friend Zone. They get relegated there when they feel rejected. Or they think it’s a temporary halt on the Big O momentum train. Sleazy? Maybe. Disappointing? Depends on how much fun you’re having.  Typical? Definitely. Sorry ladies, but he wouldn’t do anything he hadn’t already thought about. Hooking up with a friend isn’t always, or often, about just trust, but it’s always got to do with horniness.

Now you’re knee deep in thigh high activities and you wish to go no further. Tell them. One of you has to say, “YOU SHALL NOT PASS” or this cycle’s going to keep revolving on its axis with a full turn at every spring break, winter break, October break, prison break, and break up.  Will you lose some of them as friends? Possibly. It’s definitely a changing of the dynamic, like, when you all started hooking up.

Some of them will get the message and all’s well that’ll end well. Others are going to feel rejected and “take some time” or cut you out. Screw those a**holes. Makes their intentions pretty clear (unless it’s because they DO want something serious with you and you’re rejecting them, in which case, they’re just SOL and don’t give in to pity f*cking).

Honesty is your only way out. Well, honesty and restraint (and no, not the kind of restraints you might have been employing during your…cycles…). Once you set the boundary, you’ve got to hold the line. Otherwise, this becomes the song that never ends, it’ll just go on and on my- you get me.

One of the big boundaries you have to put up for awhile might be a “no talking about other people we’re hooking up with” rule. This may not be about your comfort but theirs. If you want to stay friends then during the initial withdrawal you’ll be picking at their scab of rejection by telling them how hot and heavy you’re getting with someone else. Don’t. It complicates things that you’re trying to simplify.

Also, best not to let them meet the new guy too soon. We don’t need a Mr. Darcy and Daniel Cleaver brawl. On that note, avoid passing Greek restaurants on your dates.

They can’t just be your friends if they still want to be FWB. And it sounds like you don’t think you can enter into a committed relationship with someone new with your sensational seven pulling at you from all angles. Be honest. Tell them the facts of you. You can try to be gentle or you can be brutal. Some guys will respond to one and some might respond better to the other. Maybe you’ll go undefeated in keeping them as your friends, but if you pull a best of seven series then pat yourself on the back.

Time to unstuck yourself from the seven dwarves and find your prince charming.

Beware accepting fruit from strangers,
Dude Lebowski

[He’s good, right? Sigh, we know. Too bad he’s taken. Check out The Dude’s other insights into the male mind right here.]

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