Why Ending Things With A Friend With Benefits Is Worse Than A Real Breakup

by Arielle Lana LeJarde

I think it all starts off with not knowing what you really want. Sure, you think you know what you want: no-strings-attached sex. While it sure is a nice idea, it's practically impossible to pull off.

Having a friend with benefits, as per its f*cking name, is supposed to benefit all parties. It's supposed to be fun. It's not supposed to hurt. But it ends up hurting more than an actual "relationship" breakup when it's over because you're supposed to be friends. You're supposed to care about each other beyond sex.

It happens little by little, and by the time you realize it, you're all the way in. You don't know when it happens, but it does. You're in each other's arms in sweaty silence wondering what it would be like to be in the same position, with clothes on, all the time.

The small kisses between the thrusting begin to have meaning, and your lips linger longer than usual. You crave more of it.

You start to feel warmth deep in the pit of your stomach when they laugh at the TV shows you always watch together. But instead of looking at the TV, you lose concentration and instead focus on all the small things they do. Their subtle caress of your arm sends your body into paralysis. You want to be there forever.

There was no planning before, just spur-of-the-moment meet-ups. But now, thinking about the next time you'll see each other gives you anxiety.

"Was that time the last?" "Did they meet someone else?" "Are they with someone right now?" "Why didn't they text me all day?" "Do they even think of me?" "Do they even care?"

You know you shouldn't be thinking like this because that's the whole point of being FWBs. You're placeholders until you move onto someone better.

But you don't want someone better. You want to be with them. You realize you're breaking the number-one rule of being FWBs, and you hate yourself for it. You think it's OK, and you can continue seeing them as long as you suppress those feelings. Because being with them in this way is better than not being with them at all, right?

The bottled-up feelings start to spill out, but you can't help it. Whenever they talk about someone else in front of you, you get angry. And it amuses them. You wonder why your jealousy would even matter to them.

Then, it begins — hope. You see them start to get jealous, too. You see them trying a little bit harder and making a little more effort to see you. They start canceling plans for you. They start telling you how much you mean to them. You think maybe, just maybe, they're starting to feel the same things you do.

But you don't say anything. Not yet. You don't want to lose what you have over something that might not be. You think to yourself, "Is it worth the risk if they don't feel the same way?" You're scared, but you decide they're worth the wait.

When they start to act weird and distant, you make excuses for them even when they don't make excuses for themselves. But all of a sudden, they're too busy to hang out and they're too tired to talk. All of that hope is diminishing, and all the hurt and confusion is too much to hide.

There's no going back after you make the decision to tell them how you feel. You debate it long and hard and ask everyone around you what to do. Some say that telling them makes you vulnerable and you lose the upper hand. Others say if you don't tell them now, you'll just get more hurt later.

You're already hurting, though. You already have all these doubts that they don't find you worthy of anything more than a f*ck buddy. But that little glimmer of hope you have, and all the nice things they did for you, make you take that leap.

You nervously sit in the same bed in which you've spent countless nights and tell them everything. It's a make it or break it type of conversation. You lose more and more hope every time they can't look you in the eye.

"We're too young," and, "I'm just not looking for a relationship," are all things you've heard before. They were the things you talked about before you started this "situationship." You can't even be mad at them for not reciprocating those feelings. After all, you knew what you were getting yourself into.

But that doesn't stop you from blaming yourself for ignoring all the signs. The signs that all pointed to this very moment, but you ignored them. And you ignored everyone who told you it would end up this way. So, you start getting mad.

"Why did they tell me they cared when they didn't?" "Why did they send me mixed signals of wanting more?"

But you realize nice errands are just nice errands, and words are just words.

If someone wanted to be with you, they would. You wouldn't have to think twice about it. But you did, and now you're left with no one. You wonder if it was even worth it at all.