Desire and sex and the death of ‘just friends’.

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She said, “for me, sex tends to make my relationships stronger.”
 
And I couldn’t disagree because at that point I’d never explored sex in any kind of relationship.
 
I was worried that if we’d started dating and hooking up that it’d damage and destroy our potential friendship.
 
That I thought she was awesome and I’d love to hang out with her and get to know her and be friends with her.
 
But I worried that if we’d started fucking it’d be over.
 
We started dating anyway.
 
We fell in love.
 
We spent an inordinate amount of time and energy together,
 
And I shared more personal things about myself and who I was than I’d ever shared with anyone before.
 
My weird, twisted sexual fantasies.
 
My anxieties.
 
My insecurities.
 
Everything.
 
Because, most of the time, I felt safe with her.
 
And now I couldn’t argue that sex didn’t make friendships stronger.
 
Because we were having sex and I felt more interconnected with her than I’d ever felt with anyone in a long, long time.
 
Especially when we were having sex.
 
 
At some point, our relationship began to sour and the sex and attraction started to go, too.
 
“This feels cold,” I remarked, as we drove to the airport.
 
She was heading to one of the coasts to visit another partner of hers who she’d been seeing for far longer than me.
(Interjection: it was an open/polyamorous relationship, this was normal.)
 
I felt sad that we weren’t as connected and thrilled to see each other as we used to be.
 
And the relationship began to dissolve, too.
 
We both agreed, at some point, that it wasn’t working out and that it was never destined to work out.
 
But we agreed to be friends.
 
And then that friendship became complicated.
 
And then that dissolved, too.
 
Looking back on it, we were both right.
Sex made the relationship stronger but it also made the cracks in it that much harder to ignore, too.

“I thought we were friends.”

I texted her something like, “I’m not your boy-toy, and I feel like you’re treating me like one.”
 
We were just freshmen in college at the time and I’d known her for approximately 4-5 months. And I was not-so-secretly in love with her and I’d become a codependent, insecure mess.
 
I knew she was seeing and dating and hooking up with other people but I’d convinced her and everyone else that I was okay with beingjust friends.”
 
And that was complete and utter bullshit.
 
The last thing I wanted to be was “just friends”.
 
I wanted to kiss her and hold her and be with her all the time but she was a complicated person and I never had enough self-worth to tell her to fuck off.
 
I didn’t want to lose a friendship that wasn’t ever fulfilling my needs, to begin with.
 
I always felt like I was in the wrong and like I had to earn her affection every minute of every fucking day.
 
I went to her dorm room to apologize afterward.
 
(In hindsight, I was right in setting my boundaries.)
 
She felt hurt but in hindsight, like the rest of us in these complicated situations, she never knew how to feel.
 
She didn’t know whether to continue to maintain a friendship that was one-sided or to break it off.
 
After I apologized, I went over to hug her and part ways and she gave me the cold-shoulder.
 
That hurt me more than any of the stupid fucking texts ever would.
 
And it wasn’t until far after we’d both graduated and moved on with our lives that I actually had an opportunity to admit to her how I felt about her.
 
And how those emotions and feelings had fucked with me that entire time.
 
That I was torturing myself.

“We just want to fuck each other.”

He told me that “men and women can’t be ‘just friends’ with each other,” with a smug, shit-eating grin covering his dumb fucking face.
 
“We want to fuck each other. Friendships between men and women don’t exist,” he said.
 
And the ironic thing was that his social network was about as abundant as reason was in a mental ward.
 
“No, you, can’t maintain friendships with women,” I told him.
 
“That doesn’t work for you,” I said and I felt like I had the mental edge.

Side-note: this article is part of a 5-day series on dealing with heartbreak, jealousy and suffering in relationships. Click here to get immediate access to that series.

Because I was thinking about the amazing women and the friendships that I’d developed in my life.
 
All brilliant women who I can, more-or-less, turn to for advice on life and relationships and fucking and anything else I want.
 
But I let his point germinate for a bit.
 
And I thought about some of my recent “friendships” over the years.
 
The woman who I’d become close friends with, who I explored parts of Colorado I’d never even considered checking out?
 
We hooked up in her apartment one time and our friendship hasn’t ever been the same ever since.
 
The tall, European-looking girl from New York who I felt like I could share everything with and connect with on a deeply emotional level?
 
We used to hang out in my kitchen with our arms wrapped around each other. And the only that ever stopped us from hooking up with each other was the fact that I was too chicken-shit to ever make a move at the time.
 
The brunette from Westchester. She had a penchant for pulling out all the shit inside of me that I wasn’t willing to admit and accept.
 
We’ve hooked up in my basement more times than I can ever recall.
 
The more that I reflected upon my relationships with women of the opposite sex, the more I realized that he was kinda right.
 
That if I’m even remotely attracted to a woman who I’ve grown friendly with, a tension begins to form.
 
A mote in our relationship, so to speak.
 
That a lot of the time, I view women in my life as objects of my affection rather than as actual female relationships.
 
I’ll tell them, “let’s be friends!” But the reality is that if there’s some level of attraction there, I’ve fantasized about fucking them.
 
(Which has become a significant point of reflection for me, recently.)
 
And that’s there’s often one of those inflection points: it might be that I want to fuck you.
 
Sometimes that’s immediate.
 
Sometimes it takes months.
 
But more often than not, that inflection point occurs.
 
And that the relationship that I keep in my life are all with women who I generally deemed attractive on some level.
 
And those rare flings haven’t always strengthened our relationships, either.

But there is some hope.

We were becoming more and more intoxicated and our stools drew closer and closer to each other.
 
Our inhibitions were dropping to zero and the truth is I’d always wanted to hook up with her.
 
To take her clothes off in my room and duck under the covers and play with each other in ways that ‘just friends’ don’t.
 
And so, this moment felt inevitable, rather than a one-off exception.
 
We started making out at the bar, which led back to my place and then under the covers.
 
We laughed about it the next day.
 
It was meaningless fun between two grown adults.
 
Slightly more than ‘just friends’.
 
And if anything, it’s helped us grow our relationship that much more.
 
We feel more inclined to share our feelings towards one another. And to talk about relationships.
 
Because we’ve developed a level of safety that’s rare in typical ‘just friends’ relationships.
Because I’ve already told her I have a crush on her.
 
There’s no curtain to hide behind.
 
Deep down, I love her. Totally.
 
As a friend, she’s amazing.
 
And I feel like I can share all of my dirty little secrets with her without feeling judged.
 
She was one of the first friends who I called after my most recent break-up.
 
(Call me a sociopath for feeling comfortable sharing those things with somebody who I’ve passed some barrier of intimacy with.)
 
But friendships are supposed to be confusing and fluid and difficult sometimes.
 
Sometimes they have to collapse to rubble and then get built from the ground-up to make you realize why you were ever friends, to begin with.
 
Maybe we’ll remain ‘just friends’ for forever. Nothing more.
 
Maybe we’ll get married one day.
 
Maybe we’ll laugh about that, too.