Friends With Benefits - Shouldn't You at Least Be Friends First?
By: Julia Yarbough
September 28, 2012
We’re all adults here, right? So let’s cut to the chase with this latest update.
Sex. Who DOESN’T like being able to indulge in carnal pleasures on a regular basis? If you are fortunate enough to be in a relationship, or have a solid partner then more power to you for "getting some" on a regular basis. For the single folk (present company included) things can be a bit more complicated.
Dating. Relationships. Sex. Do they always go hand-in-hand in our society? No, of course not. Let’s face it, men and women are perhaps more open and honest about their sexuality, needs, desires and wants than ever before. Identifying a partner for SEX doesn’t always equate to identifying a partner who is going to stick around for more than... well.. maybe a few hours. I accept this fact but that doesn’t mean I choose to partake in that sexual merry-go-round.
Which brings me to a recent incident that I MUST share. SIGH. Is there ANY romance left in our world? Any at all??
I recently met a very nice gentleman during one of my many outdoor/adventure excursions. We’re about the same age. He’s in great shape; handsome by my standards. Well educated. Well traveled. Career-minded. Seems like he has a good heart; kind. Like many men and women in my age demo, he’s divorced with children. He is now maneuvering in a brave new world of being a single father. Overall; he’s a nice guy with a lot going for himself.
After a number of conversations, I decided I could become friends with this guy. Could there eventually be some kind of spark? Perhaps. But again; he’s recently divorced, so may not be ready for a relationship. Is he ready to have SEX with new women? Of course. But SEX and RELATIONSHIPS are two different things.
Anyhow, we hit it off as acquaintances. He was fun. He lives about three hours away. A few weeks after meeting, and a few e-mails and text messages back and forth, I finally clued in...this guy is flirting with me! When I mentioned it to Silva, she quickly replied, “Julia, really? You JUST realized that? I picked up on that the minute you two met!” Then she rolled her eyes and shook her head as if to say, “My friend is a dutz.”
So one Saturday morning this man contacts me, out of the blue. “Hey, I feel like a road trip. What are you doing this weekend?”
“Nothing. No plans. Just hitting the gym and hanging out.” I went on. “Road trips are great. I should know after ten months in my car!”
I’m still not making the connection that he was hinting of actually MAKING a road trip. DUH!
“How about I head down, pick you up and we can go to the Keys?”
Well, you know me. I’m an adventurous spirit and take trips at the drop of a hat. So of course I said, “Sure. I’m game!” After all, I've spent six months evolving and still healing after my last relationship; I figured I owed it to myself to at least venture out into the waters again.
Perhaps this is where the signals crossed. Perhaps even now, after years of interacting with men, I still don’t get it. Perhaps my saying yes to a road trip was perceived as my saying “YES” to much more.
Off we go to the Florida Keys. It was a fun drive. Chatting, laughing, telling stories about who we are and our lives. We had no plan; no destination (not like I’ve never done THAT before!). We sat by waters edge watching the sunset. He told me about his kids, his work, some of the new challenges he’s facing as a single dad. I told him about the incredible road-trip and the life-journey unfolding for Silva and myself; my personal challenges that choice has created. We found a great place to grab a seafood dinner and laughed some more over fresh Grouper and Margaritas. Lighthearted fun.
It was late, so the plan was to find a hotel to crash for the night. (A room with TWO separate beds, mind you. This was simply a road-trip slumber party. Oh Gosh, I am such an idiot!!
We checked in and I made it absolutely clear there would be no funny business (something tells me had I been plotting shenanigans he would have been game).
Tucked into our respective beds, we talked openly and honestly until the wee hours of the morning about work, politics, real estate, finance, food, traveling; life in general. He told me his fears about life solo. I told him my desire to have a life partner, but not wanting to play games or connect with a man simply to have sex. I felt like I was building a quirky new friendship with this man. It was nice. Sigh... I guess he was listening to what I was saying, but didn’t hear a word I said.
Next morning, we hung out by water’s edge for a few hours then had a fun, talkative drive back to South Florida’s mainland. We said our goodbyes with a simple hug and peck on the cheek. Off he went.
A few hours later, I received a text message:
HIM: “Totally enjoyed your company. Looking forward to seeing u again.”
ME: “Yes, I enjoyed it also. Will be fun to hang and visit again.”
HIM: “Need a friend w/benefits. You’re hot. And of course, I am too. Think about it...”
WTF!!!! Really?? Did this man not hear ONE SINGLE WORD I shared with him during our visit? Did the parts about wanting something real, and honest and true and meaningful go in one ear and out the other?? Okay, I get that sometimes single adults have to do what they have to do and identifying a “friend with benefits” might be the only option. But seriously... wouldn’t that require you to at least be REAL FRIENDS first?? You know... at least KNOW each other a few years? Months? Weeks? Not just hours, dammit!! WTF!
To his credit, he did apologize once realizing I found his offer somewhat off-putting. But dammit... SOME attempt at courting, romance and making an effort to get to know a person before wanting to screw around with them would be appreciated.
Folks...was he out of line? Was I out of line? How would you have handled this situation?