I had just walked out of a bad relationship and was not ready for commitment.
He wasn't the relationship type and we initially bonded over how much we both liked being single. We had been friends for a while, but we weren't very close. It was clear from the beginning that we didn't want anything more than benefits from each other.
Falling in love was not on at all on the agenda. We came from two different communities in Sri Lanka where marrying someone outside of your town wasn't common. The two communities have been in a civil war for three decades; a serious relationship would have been taboo.
At first I enjoyed the freedom our arrangement gave me. I never received the dreaded "where are you?" text message from him that I used to get several times a day from my ex. I never had to explain anything to him.
We could go for days without communicating and pick up right where we left off. I could simply say no to meeting up when I was busy with work and I could spend time with family, go out with my friends or take a solo trip without feeling obligated to make him a part of my plan.
He was not possessive or overprotective of me the way most Sri Lankan men are. He didn't at all mind me in short skirts or plunging necklines. He was far from the jealous boyfriends I have had. I could make eye contact with a sexy stranger across a restaurant and even discuss someone I found hot.
When we weren't flirting over texts, we actually discussed interesting things, since we didn't have to be romantic or send each other kissing emoticons. He never called me the embarrassing nicknames my exes used to call me. When I did something nice for him on the rare occasion that I did, like baking for him or getting him a little something when I traveled, I did it purely because I wanted to, not because I felt like I had to.
What I liked the most about our arrangement was how I could just be myself without having to apologize for it. We had very different political views and religious beliefs, but unlike in a relationship, he was never threatened by it. We could have healthy arguments. There were no surprises. I didn't know his friends and he didn't know mine and there was no pressure to hang out with his friends or to even like them.
I did not have to worry about him judging me, so I could be more experimental in bed. I not only voiced my fantasies -- which I had not dared to share with my boyfriends -- I also acted them out.
There was no pressure of dating. There was no need to dress up and go on traditional dates to nice restaurants. We could do whatever we felt like, whether it was eating from a roadside café or simply driving around the city, and eventually, of course, I fell for him.
Looking back, I'm not surprised I fell for him because he was everything I had been looking for and everything I didn't get from previous boyfriends. Did it work out? No, of course it didn't. There was a reason why it was a friends with benefits arrangement in the first place. Do I regret it? Hell no.
Despite the heartbreak, I learned what I really wanted out of a relationship and why I wasn't getting it before. It was worth it, and I'd do it all over again if I had the chance.
Photo credit: We Heart It