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Jul 25

Can friends with benefits work?

Posted on Monday, July 25, 2011 in dating, Divorce, Happiness, Honesty, hookups, Kat, Relationships, Sex/sexuality

Mia, Sara and I walked out of “Friends With Benefits” and headed straight to the nearest bar. A movie like that will do that to a gal.

Not that there was anything earth-shattering in the movie with Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis; it’s just that the concept — can you have casual sex with someone you know and like as a friend? — is one that most women like to dissect.

“I’ll have a cosmo,” Mia said to the bartender as we sidled up to the bar.

“Same,” Sara said.

“Grey Goose. Rocks. Twist,” I said.       

“You always have  to be different,” Sara huffed.

“Not always.”

“Well, even your FWB — why did it work for you and not us?” Sara said, taking a long sip of her cosmo.

Honestly, I don’t know. But, first let me back up.

When we each got divorced, Sara, Mia and I were, like most newly divorced people — total messes. We’d each lost about 10 pounds — that wasn’t so bad, actually — from lack of sleep and food; we cried a lot; we couldn’t concentrate; we looked like crap. But we tried our best to keep it together for our kids and jobs.

Then at some point things started to normalize and something weird happened — we started feeling better about ourselves and less uncertain each day, and men started to notice us. And that was a good thing because by that time, we were months into the split and horny! But dating seemed daunting and besides, we really weren’t ready for that; who is right after a split?

And so we each found a way to have casual sex without picking up random guys in bars for one-nighters (although Sara did that, too); we looked at the men we already knew and had some sort of a relationship with. That’s how each of found ourselves in bed with a “friend.”

Why do I think mine worked well? I think because I know myself well enough to know that I can separate sex from emotions (although, I genuinely like him). Our life situations were very different so a relationship couldn’t work even if we wanted. And, it only lasted a few months. I guess that’s why my FWB parted without drama and, yes, we’re still friends (although we’re thousand of miles apart at this point).

Can a friends with benefits relationship work? A FWB  arrangement is a delicate thing; I’m not sure most of us can do it well — if at all. Someone always seems to want more and someone always seems to get hurt. That’s not what FWBs are supposed to be about.

Of course, they’re not supposed to end like Timberlake and Kunis do, either (spoiler) — they actually do fall in love. Hmm, but it they really didn’t want a relationship, why is that considered a good thing?

  • Can friends with benefits work?
  • Have you had one (or more)?

 

 

 

Photo © Ramon Cami – Fotolia.com

 

Feb 28

Should you be friends with the ex?

Posted on Monday, February 28, 2011 in dating, Happiness, Honesty, Relationships

Sean and I went out to dinner at D’Angelo’s on Friday night and as we walked in, I saw Sara sitting with a guy at the bar. I thought she was maybe giving Yoga Man another try, but when we walked up to her and he turned around, I recognized his face right away — it was Gabe, a guy she had a hot an heavy thing with a few years ago before they parted ways.

After some small talk and a round of drinks, we headed to our table and they headed to the movies. But as soon as Sean left the my house the next morning, I called her.

“What in the world are you doing with Gabe? You guys seeing each other again?”

“No, we’re just friends, why?”

“I thought that whole thing ended badly.”

“Not really. We weren’t great lovers but we were always really good friends. So, we get together every now and then. Aren’t you friends with your exes?”   

Actually, no. I’m not friends with most of my ex-boyfriends. Oh, I tried. Most of us have had the “We can still be friends” talk, although whoever says that is usually trying to make the person he or she’s dumping feel better. Sorry, it doesn’t work!

There have been a handful of exes I kept in contact with for a while because I enjoyed them as people and a few as lust objects. But all good intentions to remains friends eventually disappeared when it seemed clear that:

  • they still had feelings
  • I still had feelings
  • a new love was getting tweaked about them
  • we had nothing in common anymore except the fact that we once exchanged bodily fluids

And sometimes we lost the connection because I have just X-amount of free time available, and given my priorities — The Kid, Sean, my girlfriends, my family – and the realities of work and single parenting, I just didn’t have a lot of time and energy to keep those relationships going.

Which can seem kind of weird, especially if you were seeing each other for a while and had a deep connection. And then one day — poof — just like that, you no longer communicate. Still, breakups are rarely happy, pretty things — there’s almost always a lot of crying and Ben & Jerry’s and booze involved.

But for those who do maintain friendships with exes, you have to be pretty clear about why you’re remaining friends. It’s totally OK if you genuinely like each other as people and no longer feel the spark, but if it’s not that, well, what is it?

You better have that figured out, too, because when a new love comes along, you’ll have some ‘splain’ to do. And you’re unsure why you still are friends, then you may find yourself maintaining the friendship on the sly. I’m not sure we have to tell our partner everything, but if you’re not it’s a good idea to understand why you’re not. Even if you do invite an ex to join you and a new love, it can be awkward — you’ve seen each other naked, after all!

So, am I friends with my exes? Not really. The only ex I keep in contact with is Rob, The Kid’s dad — because I have to. But we are hardly friends; we’re just friendly. And I imagine that once The Kid moves out, marries and has kids, Rob and I will only communicate with each other at family celebrations — and nothing like in the movie “It’s Complicated,” either (whose message is, ex-hubby is unhappy with present wife and cheats on her to be with wife he cheated on. Hmmm …).

  • Are you friends with your exes?
  • Why/why not?
  • If so, how have your new loves felt about that?
Oct 1

You’ve got a friend … maybe

Posted on Friday, October 1, 2010 in Happiness, Kat, Relationships

Anyone who’s followed this silly blog for any length of time (whom I didn’t have to beg and bargain with to do so, that is) knows that I have been AWOL recently.

It’s not like me, because I am never at a loss for words … except, apparently, for now.

A friend I’ve come to know recently has died, the wonderful Jim Everson, aka Depot Dad, a single dad of two adorable children who lived in Novato. And his death happened when I was in the midst of a journey (literally and figuratively) in which I was deeply questioning this whole social networking thing, which I alternately love and hate.

I had been meditating and exploring the self-absorbed artifice of it all — blogs, Facebook, Twitter, yada, yada, yada — and yet I most likely would never have met Jim if it weren’t for our blogs.

And that has made me pause. Well, actually, it stumped me.

Could it be that the Internet actually can connect people in a genuine way?

As much as I often spinned it to appear that way, I actually felt deep in my heart that, nah, not really.

But I may have been wrong.

A few months ago, I was approached by someone researching real world vs. Internet friendships. Could you actually be friends if you’ve never met, the person wondered.

And I blabbed on about some of the great people I’m come to know because of my blog and/or theirs.

Are we real friends, I was asked.

Well, we’re friendly …

And then I met Jim, and watched the amazing community that gathered around him to support him through his long struggle with cancer. People who wrote and called to tell him they were thinking of him; people who sent cards and gifts and books to cheer him up; people who, like me, brought food and drinks and cleaned his dishes and made him laugh.

And, if that isn’t a definition of friendship, I don’t know what is.

True, Jim and I were just flirting around with the dance known as “getting to know each other.” We had no where near the depth of connection I have with the people I’ve known for a long time, and that he had with his long-time friends. But I saw a lot there that I knew I wanted to know more about; I think he did, too. Besides mourning for him and his children, I mourn the loss of what I saw as the “beginning of a beautiful friendship.”

As the “Social Network” movie is opening, it seems a good time to look at what we’re all doing here, on our blogs, on Twitter, on Facebook. There’s no doubt that the Internet has forvever changed the way we interact, the way we live.

But, the question remains … can the Internet actually create genuine friendships and connections; will it replace what we consider “friends,” or just be another way to connect?

My love/hate with the Internet continues, but I throw myself into it with a slightly new perception of it, unless what I experienced was a blip, a rarity, something that’s unlikely to be duplicated.

What do you think?