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I told Malcolm about my previous relationships, my fantasies, my heartbreak.Once, he told me this long, complicated story about an affair he had with his cousin, adding, “That’s not something I tell most people.” Probably wise on his part, but I loved that story, as problematic as it may be, because I loved knowing something about him that no one else did.“When you’re in a friends with benefits situation, you don’t have go to the other person’s awful friend’s birthday party. But if you change that dynamic into being a real relationship, then those games might not seem so sexy anymore.”In other words, your fuck buddy gets all the good stuff about being in a relationship—the wild sex, the cuddles, the juicy dark secrets—minus all of the boring, would-rather-die activities that go hand in hand with commitment, like having to help assemble your boyfriend’s IKEA bed, or having to watch your girlfriend stab at the ingrown hairs on her bikini line while she watches the Kardashians.But if you behave like that within a conventional relationship, it causes problems. (That’s me—I’m the girlfriend who does that.)Essentially, you’re taking a relationship and removing the creepy ownership of another human being, which leaves more room for hedonism and sexual exploration.But sometimes, romantic friendships can offer a type of intimacy that committed relationships can’t.I was curious to know if Malcolm felt the same way I did about all of this, so last week (for strictly journalistic purposes), I paid him a visit.
And while I can’t imagine being with my Cuba date “for real”—I mean, he’s a low-key homeless anarchist who once took me on date to his Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous meeting; there are red flags—I still value our relationship immensely.
My anxiety will decrease if I know you want to marry me in six years from now! But my longer romantic friendships have been a safe space.
They’ve helped me figure out how to relate to someone romantically without the immediate trigger of, ” In other words, having a fuck buddy is a great exercise in non-possessiveness.“The thought of my boyfriend fucking someone else makes me want to wear his skin like a goddamned wetsuit,” she said, eyes bulging.
When I met him, he was 45 and charmingly grumpy, and he would always tell me: “Sex is so perfect. ” I’d go over to his apartment for a couple hours in the afternoons, we’d have sex (soberly, which meant I could actually cum), and then afterward we’d drink tea and complain about stuff. There were times when we saw each other frequently, and other times when things dropped off for a while, usually because one of us had a partner. It felt like we had entered this secretive bubble of transparency—we were emotionally intimate, yet free of the burden of jealousy and ownership.
And sure, when he would get a girlfriend I would be a little bummed out—I’m (unfortunately) not a sociopath—but it didn’t cause me to spiral into an emotional cyclone the way I would have if I’d been cheated on by a boyfriend. We could spill our guts to each other because we didn’t have anything to lose.