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This arrangement would generally be called a friend with benefits, or a fuck buddy, or a romantic friendship, or perhaps even a relationship—with “no strings attached.” But let’s be real: There are always strings, aren’t there?It was while planning this vacation that it hit me: The two longest relationships of my life have both been with men who I was never officially dating.I told Malcolm about my previous relationships, my fantasies, my heartbreak.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.Or at least, without getting super-jealous and –esque?Some assume that one of the “buddies” is always being strung along, secretly hoping that the fucking leads to something more serious.When I met him, he was 45 and charmingly grumpy, and he would always tell me: “Sex is so perfect. ” I’d go over to his apartment for a couple hours in the afternoons, we’d have sex (soberly, which meant I could actually cum), and then afterward we’d drink tea and complain about stuff. There were times when we saw each other frequently, and other times when things dropped off for a while, usually because one of us had a partner. It felt like we had entered this secretive bubble of transparency—we were emotionally intimate, yet free of the burden of jealousy and ownership.
episode when Betty seduced Don at their kid’s summer camp, well after they had both remarried.
Boyfriends and girlfriends have come and gone, but my friends with benefits have stood the test of time. That’s longer than I predict my first marriage will last.
And while I can’t imagine being with my Cuba date “for real”—I mean, he’s a low-key homeless anarchist who once took me on date to his Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous meeting; there are red flags—I still value our relationship immensely.
But I have to admit, from time to time, I get an email that makes me roll my eyes.
The most recent one was as mercifully short as it was inane.
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• Another text a few days later to say he’s thinking of you, but he’s been busy. Hell, he’s not even talking about dinner and a movie! He hasn’t done anything after sleeping with you that indicates that he’s serious about you. And at the end of the day, I know it is me to blame.