Why Friends With Benefits Doesn’t Really Workby Jonathan Alpert on July 11, 2012
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I am a very busy man with a successful career and am on the brink of rising to the next level, which requires a lot of time. For those reasons I don’t wish to be in a serious relationship. However I have needs, and I occasionally get together with a woman whom I dated for a few months. I’ve been very open and honest with her that I don’t want a serious relationship and it’s just sex and she acts like she’s fine with that. Problem is though; she starts making emotional demands and gets angry that I can’t spend more time with her. She ends up leaving me, only to contact me again down the road. What should I do?
Unless you truly want a relationship or can tolerate the drama, you should stop seeing her. A friend with benefits situation rarely works out as inevitably one person develops emotions for the other. It might not be right away, or even a few months in, but emotions will arise. So, if all you want is to satisfy your needs, then hire someone for sex or begin what I imagine will be a difficult search for a woman who shares the same needs as you and is capable of compartmentalizing her emotions. Frankly there’s a better chance of gas prices dipping below a dollar than finding such a woman.
While there’s something exciting about the push-pull of the on again, off again relationship, for the woman there’s also something completely demoralizing about it. Most women, deep down, want a guy who says “You are the one I want, and I’m willing to do anything to make that happen.” So while your woman might temporarily get off on the hot make-up sex, eventually she’ll stop respecting you and she’ll either demand a full commitment or leave you, once-and-for-all.
Men and women handle and react to sex differently, and no matter how much she says she only wants sex — and she may, indeed, only want that — the reality is she is going to react emotionally to it, become attached to you, whether she wants to or not. The release of pheromones and the hormone oxytocin play a role in attraction and the bonding experience that is undeniably strong. That said though, I don’t think you’d be hooking up with the same woman over and over again unless you felt something for her — no matter how much you say it “is just sex”. So, some introspection on your part and trying to find balance between your career and dating life might serve you well.
Jonathan Alpert is a Manhattan psychotherapist and author. He appears on national TV commenting on sex and relationship issues as well as lifestyle, mental health, and hot-button issues. Get more of Jonathan’s great advice in his new book, Be Fearless: Change Your Life in 28 Days. And you can follow Jonathan on Twitter at @JonathanAlpert