Episode 111: Friends Without Benefits

A friends with benefits situation that seems like it might go into something more because your FWB complains about their partner may seem ideal but it’s actually not.

A friends with benefits situation that seems like it might go into something more because your FWB complains about their partner may seem ideal but it’s actually not.

That’s what’s on this week’s episode of Non-Monogamy Help.

Discussion Topic:

How do you talk to your friends about your partner?

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Thank you to Chris Albery-Jones at albery-jones.com for the theme music and a big thanks for the podcast art to Dom Duong at domduong.com.

Podcast transcript

So... I have a friend with benefits. We did genuinely start out friends, and we had sex. I feel it has been the healthiest transition I have ever had in my life. I have been diagnosed with BPD in the past year, and have become very aware of my behaviors. I had time to process my feeling, and we are very open with each other. Nothing really escapes us and we have great communication.

The the big issue. I'm in love with my FWB. I do not see this as the issue, but the issue is he is in a relationship. This relationship always was open sexually, but never polyamorous. I think I am starting to feel jealous, and resentful of my metamour.

There is such obvious incompatibility between them, and my FWB confides in me about everything. I think the reason why I feel this way us because my FWB seems stuck in an unfulfilling relationship. It is so hard watching him settle. It's hard hearing him say "I think my bf is giving up, so I'm going to give up too". I finally had a talk with my FWB and set up boundaries. He was very helpful in this matter, and he stated that their relationship is not my issue and he would look out for me. I think this brought me some sort of relief because I was very involved, and very concerned with them getting a long. So I just decided I needed to remove myself from things I can't control.

Now, the resentful and jealous feelings. I just am trying to tell myself "I am not manipulating my FWB. I am being supportive, and speaking my mind". I have been very direct, and often my FWB agrees when we talk about the incompatibility. I am trying to not be resentful, but these feelings are starting to catch up with me. I often have intrusive thoughts like "I am a better fit. I am a better match. Why does he stay with someone he isn't happy with? How can he not love me back?".

I know these are normal human feelings, but I'm starting to feel helpless. I'm such a romantic, and I am not one to give up easily. But I feel like he will probably never have feelings for me even if him and his bf consented to polyamorous relationships.

For now I feel like I am in limbo. Should I even keep going with this? Is this really worth all of my grief? I keep telling myself to be patient, but I think my patience is running out. I have almost broke down once and told him I couldn't see him anymore, and that we couldn't have sex anymore. But I just ended up falling back into things again.

Any kind of advice is welcomed, and thank you for your time.


I think you're kind of lying to yourself about multiple things here. So from your perspective, let's be real this person is not a friends with benefits no matter how much you call them a friends with benefits. You're not mentally thinking of this person as a friend with benefit.

You're not thinking of that person as an FWB at all. If you're telling yourself to have patience like that is the biggest sign that you are not seeing yourself as just a friend whatever you want to call that or however you want to define that and I realise that some people you know for them lovers and friends are all the same but whatever it clearly this person that you are with has a clear distinction between someone who is quote unquote just a friend and someone that they are with and you are not the person that they are with.

But you are mentally seeing yourself as potentially the person that he could be with. Like you're having patients you're holding out for something you're not being real with yourself about that you see yourself as eventually replacing his partner and being part or being part of his life in a way that he is kind of made clear to you in some ways in other ways not so much but he is from the get said this is not going to happen. And he's not really doing you justice by allowing you to continue to pine because he must know that even though you have defined your relationship as a friend with benefit relationship, but that's clearly not how you feel.

And the second thing that you're kind of lying to yourself about is that this person isn't your metamour and I think this is… this is kind of why you're having this issue, right? You're defining this person as your metamour as if you're in a polyamorous relationship. You're not in a polyamorous relationship. You are a friend with benefits. That is it.

And I think that you telling yourself like “okay, like” — we can be all like splitting hairs and whatever and— maybe people who are in open relationships do call that but I think that that, in this case, describing this person as your metamour is another way to kind of lie to yourself a little bit. That person is his partner, you are not his partner, and he is actively choosing to be with that person regardless of how much he wants to whinge and bitch and piss and moan about this person. He is choosing to be with that person he is choosing to not be with you.

And I think that you need to see that. You need to see that it's not just him being the sad little victim of being in this relationship that doesn't work. This isn't about compatibility.

This is about the fact that he is choosing this person and not choosing you and I think it would help you to actually see this rather, instead of him just kind of why isn't he giving up this as him actively not choosing to be with you. And the other thing is, it's hard to kind of tell from your letter what the timeline is because clearly you do realise you're too involved from your letter, but it doesn't really sound like you're upholding your boundaries. And to be honest with you, even if you were in a polyamorous relationship, if he was complaining to you about your actual metamours, like if you were actual metamours, I would actually still say that this is too much to put on your shoulders and that it's a not fair thing to put on your shoulders, and that you need to tell them to stop.

Like even if you have to say, I don't want to hear anything about your partner. I mean, it's not a Don't Ask, Don't Tell situation. But this is where it's gotten.

It's kind of gotten to the point where he's complaining to you about his other partner, and that's causing feelings and he doesn't have to complain to you about that. There are tonnes of other things that he could talk to you about. So I'm not sure if like you put down that boundary and it's in he's been holding to that since then.

Or you tried to put that boundary down and it wasn't really held down. But I feel like it sounds like it wasn't really held down. It's hard to say like I said from the timeline of the letter.

But you know, maybe you could continue to be actual friends with benefits while realising you hold feelings or hopes like because sometimes that happens and that is very human and your resentfulness is very human, but you can also do that and hear and be supportive of all of the trauma that's going on in— that's a little dramatic — of all of the other problems that's going on in his other relationships, like you can't do both, and you need to be clear about not being able to do both.

And as I said, even if you were in a polyamorous relationship, I would actually say that you shouldn't do both, even in that case it needs to stop it's just not fair. Like it's just not fair within a polyamorous context, within an open relationship context for someone to like vent their frustrations about their other relationship to you.

He has other friends surely he can go see a therapist. You do not need to be his therapist and the other thing and the last thing that I really, really want you to think about is that it's not the metamour. That's the problem.

And this is something that I see happening a lot with people, when you're with somebody, and there's an issue with their other relationship and it's affecting your relationship. It's very, very easy to blame the metamour. And it's very, very easy to not focus on what the actual problem is.

And the actual problem tends to be the person that you're dating. And I need you to really put this into context. This this person that you're that you're you know, “friends with benefits” with. Really put this into context.

This is someone who fully realises that you have feelings for him and chooses to put you in the middle of him and his other partner. He chooses to make this something that he shares with you and ask yourself if that's really compatibility Are you truly compatible with a person who does this to you? If your positions were switched, and you were the person he was a partner with, would you want someone who complains about you in this way and stays with you and complains about you?

Would you want that? I think that you're not realising that you're not actually that compatible, because actually, maybe you deserve someone who doesn't do this to you. You deserve someone who you don't have to be patient for and who doesn't turn you into their therapist and doesn't put you in the middle of their problem relationship and put that stress on your shoulders.

There are literally billions of people on this planet and will not treat you like this. You say that you're friends with benefits, but where's the benefit and where's the friendship? Where's the friendship in this?

It's it's it doesn't seem fair or okay. That you have this person that knows who knows how you feel, knows that you are interested in them in more than just a friends with benefits sort of way and decides actively decides you're kind of painting him in this kind of victim position. It's easy for you to see him as that because you care about him and you want you know this dream romantic thing to happen where you both you know he finally breaks it off and you get together and about whatever but look at the situation.

He knows that you are interested in him he knows that he doesn't. For whatever reason why this other relationship isn't working for him. He knows it. And he actively chooses he's an adult. He's not a child. He is capable of making decisions and deciding what he wants to do with his life and his time and what he chooses to do with his life in His time is to complain to you whilst going back to his other his partner. That's what he chooses to do. You're compatible with that?

Ask yourself am I compatible with someone who does that to me? Really ask yourself that? Because I genuinely hope that the answer is no, you're not compatible with someone who knows It'd be one thing if he didn't know it'd be one thing if you hid it from him, and you were kind of secretly pining away.

And you know, but I don't think that's the situation here. I really don't. And honestly, even if, even if you kept it a secret from him, even if he didn't know that you were interested in him in more than just a friends with benefits sort of way.

I still feel like Yeah, someone who would— I want someone who's with me to not want to be with me and not tell me. Like really think about that. Is that really what you want?

Someone who would who would date you and be with you but not tell you that they're not that compatible with you? Is that Is that really what you want? I remember this one time that my mom and I were listening to the song and the song said something like if you don't love me lie to me.

And I think she said like, “Oh, I hope that—“ basically she hopes that that if someone was with her and they were in love and but they didn't actually love her that they would lie to her and I remember thinking yikes wazowski. I would never want that. I would never that's not romantic in any way, shape or form. I don't care if I'm 85 I would much rather someone be fully and completely honest with me and say I'm not interested in you anymore and break up with me and be alone than to have someone be with me.

And not only not want to be with me but complain about me to somebody else. Complain about me. Like think about put yourself in the position of that other person.

Stop thinking of this as like a like you want to take that slot. You want to take that spot of the person that he can complete, who's to say that that same exact thing won't necessarily happen to you. And I'm not saying being paranoid is the way to go about this.

But I'm just saying like is this really what you want to be compatible with? Is this really what you want in your life is somebody who have fully has the potential and I know like your romantic brain is like a little bit different with me because we're perfect. I imagine I very much doubt that the relationship that started in between them was any less romantic.

But the kind of person who stays with someone who they don't want to be with and admits that to other people, but doesn't break it off. Ask yourself if you're really compatible with that. person.

So yeah, to sum up, I do think there are lots of things that you're kind of lying to yourself about here. I think that you're kind of imagining yourself as a polyamorous partner, even if you're not defining yourself as that and I think he's kind of letting you do that in a way. I think that you are way too involved.

Even if you were put in a polyamorous relationship, you're way too involved. And the boundaries there should be clear, but at the same time, I'm kind of hoping that you understand the problem with this entire situation. I'm not saying that you necessarily have to end it but I do think that you need to ask yourself a few questions about is this somebody that I want to be compatible with?

Is this really a situation is this person even my friend, because what kind of friend you know, especially then, and this is you know, if he knows that you really care in a more than friend way, then even more so then if he doesn't know that then I'll try and like you know, fair dues to him.

Maybe he doesn't know when he's just trying to like offload on to you as he would a friend because that is quite normal. But even then, some of us have had friends who come to you I mean, for me personally, I can't other people, maybe they can, I can't stand it.

When I have someone who comes to me and constantly winches to me about the same damn problem, but won't do a goddamn thing to fix it. I can't stand that that's not a friend to me. That's not even a friend.

Now. If you want to complain, we can complain. But if you keep coming at me, and complaining about the same damn thing over and over again, I have no patience for that. That's just me. Maybe that's not you. Maybe all your friends are like that.

But honestly, if you're the person that everybody comes to to cry on your on your shoulder, like you're the you're the therapy friend, you need to maybe think about that. I hope you're not the therapy friend. I hope this is just in this situation.

But being the therapy friend is not always a good thing. And sometimes you got to put a little bit of your foot down and be like, Look, I can't talk to you about this. anymore, because I'm starting to get frustrated because clearly you're in a situation that you don't like and I'm tired of like trying to convince you to see your own worth and whatever, you know, in this case, I don't know.

But I'm saying like, even friendship wise, somebody who comes to you and is like complaining again and again about the same thing. Ask yourself if that's really your friend. So yeah, take a look at the situation and really think about is this what you want out of a relationship out of a friendship out of anything?

And just think about it for a little bit because I think you deserve someone who doesn't leave you hanging. You deserve someone who doesn't treat you like a therapist. You deserve someone who respects your time and you deserve not to be hanging on the hook and you are choosing to hang on the hook and you can choose to not hang on the hook anymore.

So I'm not saying you need to stop being FWBs, but I do think that you really need to look at this situation and see if there are benefits actually with this friendship. Because okay, maybe you have nice sex and whatever blah blah blah but there are billions of people on the planet..

There are billions of people on the planet. I'm sure you will find somebody else. So just think about think about those things. I hope that helps and good luck.

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