So you have a f*ckbuddy.
During the past year of a global pandemic the safest course of action might be to stick with what you know. If you’ve been dating, (having sex with) the same person over the course of lockdown it’s not unusual to start to develop romantic feelings. Now you’ve decided that you want something more. If you can relate then this post is for you.
Relationships are intimidating.
When you meet a potential love interest it’s exciting and scary at the same time. Your intentions might be to have fun but somewhere along the way you start to catch feelings. You are interested in a committed relationship but so many questions remain. What if they don’t want something serious? What if this was just a convenient relationship? What if they are already involved in someone else?
How can you determine that a relationship is even what the other person wants. Sex with no strings attached comes with it’s own set of benefits. Hence the name, friends with benefits. A committed relationship might not be what the other person wants. Maybe they have expressed no interest in dating seriously or maybe you just don’t know.
After a few weeks, months, or maybe even a year of physical closeness, you decide that this person has qualities that you appreciate in a partner. Now you’re ready to take the relationship to the ‘next level’ but how?
Asses The Situation
You may not know what the other person wants. If they are in a relationship with someone else then having a relationship with you might be the furthest thing from their mind. Supposing they are single, they might want to stay that way. Could you be involved in a pandemic spawned relationship?
Not having all the answers doesn’t mean that a relationship is off the table, it just means you shouldn’t take their actions alone as an indication of interest. Often it’s easier to stick to what you know. Just because you have developed feelings and are ready to express them, doesn’t mean your romantic partner has too. For this reason it’s best to assess the situation.
First, get clear on what you want from the other person. Relationships are a higher level of investment than sex. What is taking the relationship to the next level going to require of them? Will they need to spend more time with you, or is it as simple as having a title conversation. It’s important to consider what investment you’re asking of the other person before you make the ask.
If they are in a relationship with someone else, and you require them to break up with the other person, that is a much bigger ask than just calling you their significant other.
There are stages to a relationship and the first stage is exclusivity. Whether you are sexually exclusive, or only dating each other due to the pandemic, establishing a mutual level of exclusivity is the first step to becoming a couple. Once you have decided that you will only engage romantically with each other, you are creating an opportunity to bond.
Eliminating other options is good for the body, the brain, and the relationship. When you’re distracted by options, the brain is in a constant state of stimulation. Once you become exclusive the brain can settle down. Once the brain and body are regulated there are typically two outcomes. Either you become comfortable and secure with one person or you will become bored and anxious.
Once you have established exclusivity with the person that you’re sleeping with, give the brain and body time to acclimate. This doesn’t mean that your partner isn’t swiping on dating apps, or engaging in other conversations with potential partners. So once you’ve established an exclusive sexual relationship, you can move the conversation further.
Getting The Title
Having a title in a relationship is only the beginning. It might make you feel more secure but the work doesn’t end there. Before asking the infamous, ‘What are we?’ question, prime yourself for all possible outcomes.
If your partner doesn’t want an exclusive relationship, what happens next?
There are many reasons why your f*ckbuddy, or friend with benefits, doesn’t want a relationship, so it’s smart to have a backup plan. The best way to overcome objections is to know what they are beforehand.
Sometimes people just aren’t ready to commit.
Don’t take lack of commitment personal. It’s possible that romantic feelings have caught them by surprise as well but they aren’t as willing to act on them just yet. In that case, if they ask you to be patient – that could be a good thing.
Some people are just having fun.
Unfortunately, relationships take work and some people aren’t willing to put in the investment of time and energy. Again, that doesn’t mean that you’re not worthy, or wonderful, it just means that this person has different priorities.
They are committed to someone else.
In the case that your partner is already in a relationship it should be expected that they would be unwilling to commit to you. In this case be honest with yourself about your reasons for getting involved in the first place. Oftentimes people want what they can’t have. Your partner might appear to be forbidden fruit and become more enticing because of their limitations.
Transitioning from sex to a relationship isn’t impossible but it does take open communication and patience. Don’t be discouraged just because someone doesn’t want what you want. If the bond is strong enough it’s likely they’ll be feeling the same way you are.