Are You His Side Chick Or His Girlfriend? As Told By A Nice Guy And A F*ckboy

by Adam Shadows
Kylah Benes-Trapp

Hi Nice Guy and Fuckboy,

My name is Marian. I'm 30, going on 31, and still single as ever.

I've been hooking up on and off with this guy for the last three years. We met in November 2013 and immediately had a connection. We hang out, and he stays the night on weekends, but we never go on dates.

We send each other sweet texts, and I talk to him every day.

One night, this guy and I went out with a group of friends. Then, he met this girl, or as he told me, a girl he "knows from a while back." I didn't think anything of it, though, because he came home with me. And the next morning, he bought us breakfast while I was still sleeping.

After that, things changed. He started talking to me less and started seeing more of this new girl. Come to find out, they started dating. He didn't tell me, but it was obvious on social media.

He came over one day, telling me she had cancer. He said he wanted to be there for her, and they dated, so I let it be.

Six months later, he knocked on my door at 3 am. I thought something might have been wrong, but he just came over because he missed me. Long story short, I was drunk, he was drunk and we hooked up.

This continued to happen all summer long. I think I might have been an escape for him from what he was going through with his girlfriend. I felt bad for what I was doing, but at the same time, I was OK with it because I'm attracted to him.

But finally, I had to cut it off.

I moved out of town, and I didn't hear much from him. However, one night, he sent me a series of texts telling me how much he misses me and wants to come visit.

I asked him if he was still with his girlfriend. He said yes, and that he would just tell her he was going away for work. Obviously, I was annoyed with him and said, "If you loved her, you wouldn't be wanting to see me."

That boiled his blood, and he went on this huge rant about how he does love her and I don't know him like that, but he's attracted me and still wants to see me.

He never came to visit. We didn't talk again for at least a few months.

Around New Year's this year, he texted me. I asked him about her and he told me they had broken up. OK, diff scenario. You can come visit now.

He never came to visit, but I ended up moving back. He was the first person who came to visit when I got back, and of course, we hooked up. His touch just gets me.

I saw him every weekend from the time I got back home, but now it's drifted off again. I've been back almost three months.

I look at her social media and I see pics of things he's doing at the same time she's there, but they aren't in pictures together. She uses their hashtag they made for themselves, but he does not.

He still sends sweet (and dirty) texts, but I'm too afraid to ask if he's back with that girl.

Have I just been the side chick for the last three years? I know I do this to myself, but I'm just too afraid to straight-up ask what's going on. It makes me annoyed to see those posts, but my heart flutters when he texts me.

Kylah Benes-Trapp

Hello Marian,

I know I say this a lot, but I have a good friend “Stacey” who was in a very similar situation.

I bring this up because she's one of the strongest, most independent people I know, yet she still found herself in this same sophomoric position you have.

The guy in this Stacey situation is also a very good friend of mine — one of my groomsmen, actually. So when they both came to speak to me about this lover's quarrel, it was pretty awkward.

After hearing both sides, here's what happened.

These two had been flirting/hooking up occasionally for YEARS. (I'd say five to seven at least.) Last year, their relationship finally became something tangible, as they hung out every week to drink wine, watch movies, cuddle and, of course, have sex.

This went on for a year, but he never told any of us (his closest friends) about it. The only reason I knew of this discourse was because of Stacey, who'd spared no details on their fledgling romance.

(I'd also found out that, like you, he'd cheated on past girlfriends with Stacey, who remained his consistent lay.)

He had, essentially, kept an entire year's relationship a secret from his closest buddies, telling her he “wasn't ready to be official just yet.”

At the end of that year, us boys took a trip to Cuba... where he met somebody. Somebody he insisted he loved.

Unbeknownst to Stacey, he began dating this girl when we returned, cutting all ties with Stacey until I apprehensively had to tell her he'd met somebody else when she asked me about this girl point blank.

She was LIVID, and understandably so. But just recently, he and this girl broke up. And guess what? He and Stacey started talking again!

Thankfully, Stacey had enough respect for herself (after seeing him again, but just once) that she realized she doesn't deserve to be anyone's fallback girl.

I bring all this up because I feel like you've been put in this same position. Three years is a lonnnggg time. If nothing has progressed in terms of officiality, and he's dating (and cheating on) other women while this “relationship” you two have keeps chugging on, you should know damn well that this guy's a top-tier fuckboy.

You should know damn well that this guy's a top-tier fuckboy.

You mention his social media a lot in your message. That being the case, I wanted to ask: Does his account ever feature photos of you two together?

I mean, if he's posting pictures with this on-again, off-again girlfriend and has never once posted one of you in the three years, then you have your answer: You're his dirty little secret, a secret he fucks from time to time because he's horny and you're available.

He'll say whatever he needs to say to get into your pants. A measly “I miss you” followed by some other bullshit rhetoric, and you're putty in his hands.

You didn't hear much from him when you moved because, by moving, you effectively removed the physicality of this relationship, which is all he's ever wanted.

I know this sounds harsh, but I'm actually kind of pissed on your behalf. It's dudes like this who give most of us nice guys a bad name.

So, to answer your question, Marian: Yes, I do think you're his side chick.

No matter his status, you are his trustworthy and loyal fallback plan. A fallback plan that he doesn't need to spend money on, or take out to dinner. This isn't low investment, Marian; it's no investment.

You're his side chick. No matter his status, you are his trustworthy and loyal fallback plan.

He's taking advantage of your feelings to get what he wants. And what he wants is sex, nothing more. You have to put an end to this. By not giving him what he wants, you're telling him this isn't OK. And, frankly, it isn't.

Maybe he'll finally consider you as something more official once you put your foot down, but I seriously doubt it. This guy's a cheater, and he's been taking advantage of you for years.

You don't want that for yourself, do you? Be done with him. You're better than that.

Best of luck!


Kylah Benes-Trapp

Dear Marian,

Part of the reason I'm a fuckboy now is because I used to fall hard back when I wasn't.

I was a really romantic kid — really stupid, really self-centered — and every now and then, I would just choose somebody to love, throw myself recklessly toward them and expect them to throw themselves right back.

It never really worked, in the traditional sense. And eventually, I stopped trying and caring and telling people I tried or cared. That started working.

I quickly realized that not only was I better at this strategy, but it was also just, at its core, a much more effective tactic.

But back in the day, I found myself in quite a few situations similar to the one you seem to be in now. Nowadays, I'm likely on the other side, and to fully empathize with you, I'm going to need to travel back in time a bit.

Things may get messy, so bear with me.

There is this girl, Mare. I've written about her before. We've been in each other lives since we were children, and we've tried to be together and failed countless times. We try and fail and try and fail, date other people and move on. But we always circle back into each other's lives due to this theoretic loyalty we've built up for one another.

We can like these other people, even love them. But we'll always make time for one another, even if its just a minute, an hour, a day.

We do this for one simple reason: No matter who she's dating, I came first. No matter what I'm doing, she was there from the beginning.

She knew me before I was even me, and vice versa. We might not know where we're going, but we always know where the other is coming from, where we've been.

You're technically the other woman in this whole thing, but you're also the original woman. You were the first (relatively speaking).

You're technically the other woman in this whole thing, but you're also the original woman.

That is important, and that carries weight. You were there before she was. You're the one with the historical edge. He liked you first, and he's never really gotten over it.

This is why he keeps dipping back into your life; his life needs a shot of you sprinkled in every now and then.

My fear is, you're misinterpreting this as a position of weakness. It's a position of strength, and it's yours. He'll keep coming back to you because you have a history, and you'll keep doing the same.

It's not right or wrong of either of you. Use this ambiguity to your advantage.

We tend to jump to villainize the men who hop-scotch in and out of women's lives, like they have some end game for it all and aren't clearly so helpless and lost.

But it doesn't sound like he's doing this to hurt you, and he may not even be aware that he is.

It's funny how we can vacillate between being blinded by what's in front of us and the idea of what's so far away. Those are so often the two most tantalizing options. He's likely struggling to balance this, and you just happen to be the one with some distance on your side.

He doesn't know what he wants. This isn't a character flaw; this is reality. It's understandable.

Who does know what they want? And why do we always use that phrase with this accompanying assumption that it's static and evergreen?

What we want changes as we age, as we learn. For some of us, it changes with the sun. Surely you can sympathize with this. Sometimes you want him, sometimes you want to move miles away or feel empowered by rejecting him.

We're human. I don't think there is anything necessarily wrong with that, except that it sucks. These things have a tendency not to get any better or any worse, but to just kind of exist in a half-fulfilling limbo.

Mare and I were never more than a real thing for more than a snapshot in time. But we've always been this overall thing, this everlasting inconsistency, bobbing back and forth between other people and each other. It's been like this since we were 14. We're 24 now.

Neither of us is doing anything wrong. This is just who we are. And while we know it's not the best thing to keep orbiting back into one another, something tells me we need to.

Because even after all this time, we're all we know. We're the only things we can stomach about home. We know we're not good for one another except in small doses, and we act accordingly.

It's heartbreaking every damn time. But it's life, and life hurts. And sometimes it's better when, every now and then, you sprinkle in some things that might make you sick.

It sounds like you love this guy, so that's certainly something. Don't listen to the people who tell you he's not worth loving unless he'll love you back. We love who we have to love because we can't help it, and aversion therapy tends not to connect with hearts unwilling to hear it.

At the root of it all, I'm a time-filler for Mare. A once-a-year vacation too toxic to take more of.

If you're a time-filler for him, make him a time-filler for you. You can lose your reliance on him without shedding your loyalty to him. It's the only way to not hate him. And then you have to see other people.

Some people might tell you having this guy in your life at all is bad for you. Personally, I think it's healthy to have someone who provides you the occasional sadness. It almost makes all the other people worth living for.

I think it's healthy to have someone who provides you the occasional sadness.

It depends on how you look at it. Some might consider you a side chick. Not me. I think you're doing what you have to do.

But I'm in a mushy, old-school kind of mood.

Unfaithfully yours,