Tuesday, January 04, 2011

He Has Her Right Where He Wants Her

Ain't liberation great? LOVES MY NEIGHBOR wrote in to Dear Abby:

My neighbor "Marlon" and I have been "friends with benefits" for almost two years. We hang out every day and our kids are friends. We talk about everything. Really, we are best friends. We have attempted to hide our affair from our children (8 years old and under) and from our exes. Many of our friends know, but it is never discussed.
Chances are, your kids have heard or have figured it out.

My problem is, Marlon recently mentioned that he wants to find a "good woman." It upset me because I'm in love with him.
Whose fault is that? Why would he marry you, since he already gets what he wants from you?

At the same time, he makes no effort to meet anyone.
That you know about. That’s his business. But you’re taking it as a sign of hope. He may even be telling you that because it keeps you where he wants you.

He is always with me -- when you'd think he'd be out trying to meet women.
Guys can meet women 24/7 these days. Does he have a job? He could be having sex there.

Although we agreed to be "FWBs," I don't want to be Marlon's security blanket.
Your choices are to 1) Keep things as they are (although he may change things; 2) Drop him from your life; 3) Drop the benefits and see if he still wants to be "friends". Most likely, he won’t.

How do I let him know I want more?
You're not going to get it. But you can come right out and tell him that you want more. He will either 1) Tell you whatever he needs to in order to keep the "benefits" going, or 2) Drop you, fearing you'll try to get pregnant or are becoming TMW (too much work). He's not going to say, "Okay, since that is what you want, I will agree to it." He no doubt enjoys sex with you, but you do not have the one and only magic vagina.

It comes down to this, since morality doesn't seem to be a concern to you. Do you prefer things as they are now, or would you rather not have the "benefits" and quite possibly the "friendship"? Those are the real choices under your control, as long as he is willing to keep the current arrangement. If he isn't, then you won't have a choice.

I know this from personal experience. In my wayward days, women with whom I had friendships would make themselves available to me for sex and I would fornicate with them with no intention of it going beyond what was essentially a FWB situation. I never lied to them or made false promises. I didn't need to. Many women aren't down with that, but enough are. And I was not going to ever let the relationship become more serious than that, because I knew I couldn't marry those women and have a good, lasting marriage - some of that time I thought I might want to remain unmarried anyway - and so there was no point to increasing the social commitment. It wasn't a  matter of "I can't marry them because they're willing to have casual sex" - it was the age differences or other realities that precluded marriage. But they were willing to have sex, and so was I.

Relationships can certainly go from more commitment to less, such as when people break up but still hook up from time to time, but other than the initial "uphill" arc (dates, steady, couple, engagement, marriage) it can almost never go from something like a booty call or FWB to a sustained girlfriend/boyfriend or marital situation. Permit me a crude, crass analogy. If you're getting access to a recreational facility for $40 to $0 a session for months or years, and then suddenly the cost skyrockets to half of your earnings, are you going to pay that higher charge, or are you going to go to another recreational facility that is charging $40 or less? But if you were paying half of your salary for daily access, and that ends... but every once in a while you are invited back for a night at $40 or less, you might take that offer.

Dear Abby responded:

Revisit the subject with Marlon and ask him how many "good women" he thinks he can handle, because he already has one.
Doesn't that depend entirely on someone's definition of good? My guess is Marlon's definition is quite different than Dear Abby's. I would also say Marlon isn't beinga good man, just like I wasn't being a good man.

It couldn't hurt to mention that you are in love with him and have taken your relationship seriously.
Yes, it could, if she likes his company. If he wanted it to be more, he would tell her.

If one woman isn't enough for him, you will have to start looking for a good man -- one who won't monopolize your time and take you for granted.
BINGO!

Please understand that if Marlon is serious about looking elsewhere for someone to settle down with, you cannot invest any more time or emotion in him.
Maybe she shouldn’t anyway.

I would tell Marlon if all he wants is sex, he shouldn't be having sex with a mother of minor children. Also, I would tell him not to take away time he should be spending with his kids, who have a broken home already, and risk making half-siblings they'll have to deal with. I would say the same thing to the letter-writer about her seeing men.

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