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?



What did you think of this article?

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  • 9/28/2012 8:18 AM MsMinKC wrote:
    With more and more technology being used, yes, romance is dying. No courting, this is old fashioned. What, you want to wait until marriage to have sex? What's wrong with you? That's old fashioned. This is why there are no relationships. Too many want happines now all of the time, but don't want everything that relationship actually entails. Also, too many have gotten caught up in the marketing of love, the eros in stead of the agape, phileo and storge. Eros is all too many seek and that is only fleeting; based upon a momentary feeling.

    Reply to this
    1. 9/29/2012 11:45 AM Julia wrote:
      It's all very complicated these days... I think it may have been easier when there were set rules of conduct and guidelines
      Reply to this
  • 9/28/2012 1:09 PM Liz wrote:
    Hi Julia,

    No, he wasn't out of line - a bit of a coward maybe for asking such a question via text, but not out of line. The final destination for most men is SEX!, whether stated or not. I applaud him for being upfront and asking the question (even though he clearly undertstood your position on this issue). I see no harm in that.

    Honestly, I would have *assumed* he was looking for a bed wench when you two shared a hotel room on your first outing. Even though you said you told him that no panties would be dropping that night, he may have been confused by your willingness to sleep in the same room together.

    I don't know...your actions and words left room for I can see why he would ask anyway. Just my two cents.
    Reply to this
    1. 9/29/2012 11:49 AM Julia wrote:
      You are right -I give him kudos for being honest and yes... I can see how agreeing to an impromptu excursion could give the impression I was up for "whatever".  I'm just so used to travel and adventure that I tend to only process the "excursion" part not thinking about what the underlying nuances may be. My bad...
      I think this is why I'm better relating to men on strictly a business level - I do so much better in that arena...
      Thanks for the input

      Reply to this
  • 9/28/2012 3:41 PM carylee wrote:
    buy a vibrator and go from there. love ya!
    Reply to this
    1. 9/29/2012 11:50 AM Julia wrote:
      @Carylee -
      Have I told you lately how much we love you????
      You Rock!

      Reply to this
  • 9/29/2012 11:18 AM Dwane T. wrote:
    Interesting that this post comes after the chivalry one. Like with chivalry, there are definitely issues of definitions and "new" social norms at work here. This guy saw potential from the start, just like you did. You just had different time frames and preconceived destinations for where a friendship would go and how to get there.

    You met, exchanged information, and afterward exchanged texts and emails. In a traditional sense, you were being cordial and getting to know each other. In the cyber-dating age, you two were going on mini dates. Seriously, there are folks who get engaged from cyber-dates without ever being in each other's physical presence. They just text, email and call until they are "sure". More often than not, those mini dates lead up to sex. So while you were thinking traditionally, he was thinking modern (probably on the advice of some of his already dating friends).

    If you think about it, if you two were already dating in your mind, that excursion would have been rather romantic. He probably thought of it that way, while you just saw it as hanging out. Based on what you individually wanted out of it, you were both right. It had to be insulting for him to come out with that request, but for his purposes he wouldn't have known if he didn't ask. You definitely weren't out of line, because you laid down your ground rules and stuck to them. It may have been better to establish that when you accepted the trip, but if that's not where his mind was at it would have been just as insulting to him. In the end, I think it had to go down like it did. He wanted something you said you didn't, he tried to get it anyway. He was listening to you, he just chose to be honest with himself and with you. It wasn't flattering, but it's better than him disappearing to look for the next prospect and you not knowing why (I know that sounds a little jaded for me... but I'm having one of those days)
    Reply to this
    1. 9/29/2012 11:58 AM Julia wrote:
      Your review of the situation actually makes perfect sense - ESPECIALLY from the male point of view.

      For as "modern" as I like to think I am, I suppose I just would like to have experiences in which "potentials" actually show SOME level of old-fashioned courting. Anyone can have dinner, look across the table and have the hots for each other; doesn't mean you know ANYTHING about the other person or what makes them tick and if you truly have anything more than a physical attraction for one another.
      I suppose for both of us... we were honest about where we are at and what we wanted; so I guess - no harm, no foul.

      Lesson learned here: have a deeper understanding of what you want, what you expect and don't take these incidents personally. Everyone is walking their own path and we all have to choose the path that's right for us.

      And... you are allowed to "have one of those days" as I've been having "one of those days" for weeks now.
      Hang tough!

      Reply to this
      1. 10/8/2012 3:19 PM Doug wrote:
        Hey J! Its a double headed sword with that situation. I've work in television and have met lots of women. I grew up in the south and courting is the way to groom a relationship with a lady. But on the other side there is so many 'down low" brothers around some ladies actually feel offended if some kind of moves are not put on them. I'm single, in my early 50's and can pick up where a relationship is headed in about 2 or 3 one hour conversations (likes, dislikes, games, sincerity, if i want this person around my 15 year old daughter). Everything starts and ends with spirituality. If you follow and focus on that, it may take a while, but it works out, you can't go wrong. Peace!!
        Reply to this
        1. 10/9/2012 7:34 AM Julia wrote:
          Tnx for the input; it's sooooooooo exhausting!!
          And yes; I agree that finding a spiritual center is helpful... not RELIGIOUS mind you... but spiritual; to be in-tune with a The Universe & The Source; sigh... I keep plugging along

          Reply to this
  • 10/4/2012 1:37 AM Sam smith wrote:
    Sign of the times Julia. It is rough for single dads these days. Granted he should have been more direct instead of beating around the bush. He is in a downward spiral in his 40's with regards to sex & he is thirsty. I know about that spiral where your sex life is non-existent & the alternatives are porn, prostitution, the rosy palm or loneliness here in America. He thought he could get some quick tremm as Eddie Murphy would say lol. There are thousands of men in his situation in their 40's& 50's. Going overseas is their best option for FWB.
    Reply to this
  • 10/24/2012 3:36 PM Mark wrote:
    Well, yes Julia, you were very slow on the uptake but so was he... you were very forgiving and he did not seem to take offense from the way that this read.

    Tying into the most recent entry... if you have your minimum expectations, try to stick to them. Equivocation will come, no need to start off with saying "I am down for this BUT..." when you are not comfortable.

    FWB does not seem to suit you, Julia. I am the same way. Maybe next year, or the year after that, but you don't want to fall into that quicksand just yet. Love offers more and is still out there to be had. Hang in there..!
    Reply to this
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