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.
“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.
Sometimes it feels like we are more honest with our friends with benefits than we are with our partners.
This paradox always makes me think of that episode when Betty seduced Don at their kid’s summer camp, well after they had both remarried.
We are taught that all relationships that don’t end up in marriage are failures (because, ya know, hetero-normativity and patriarchal narratives or whatever).
But subscribing to that belief ignores the fact that romantic friendships can be extremely fulfilling, enlightening, and straight-up fun.
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.In a few days, I’m going to Cuba on vacation with a guy I’ve been sleeping with for eight years, but whom I've never once called my boyfriend.We live on different continents, but inevitably, a few times a year, we find each other somewhere in the world, have a few days of romance, and then go our separate ways.It’s like my morals were thrown out the window, and I felt this gross egotistical sense that I should come first, because I’ve been around longer, like, ‘Girlfriends come and go, but I’m .’” Sometimes it’s hard to accept that these dynamics usually have an expiration date, which tends to be when one person gets into a committed relationship.And, unfortunately, not only do you lose the benefits, but you sometimes lose the friend, too.Or at least, without getting super-jealous and –esque?