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  • We’re Friends, But…

    You guys hang out often, you go out to dinner, the movies, concerts, and even hold hands, as the moment moves you. You often play the role of “Couple”, at least to anyone who sees you out and about. In this friendship relationship you hook up from time to time, hang out at each other’s place and go about as if you are in a romantic relationship. However, there is a big “But”, you two are not actually a couple, in fact you are “just friends”. For many women who are in these types of relationships, many would rather ditch this “friendship”, in hopes of a real relationship with their so-called friend.

    As you engage in your own inner dialogue and self-talk from time to time, you know this to be true. So what happens when one person in this situation wants more than the other person is willing to give? One thing I know for certain, and that is someone definitely gets hurt, and unfortunately it’s usually the woman. Studies indicate that more than half of women who find themselves in this type of “situationship”, are usually the ones that “want more”. This can often take a toll on her self esteem, and can leave her with feeling a sense of shame and disappointment.

    One client has described her situation to me in this way, “I’m with him because we get along great, he is a total gentleman when we go out. He is everything that I want in a man, but he doesn’t want to date me. I want more and he knows this, but he doesn’t want to change our friend status. Every time I sleep with him, I lose a little part of myself, I want to stop, but I don’t know how”. This is often followed up by the statement “what’s wrong with me?” I am not describing a woman who is insecure and does not have anything going for herself. This particular woman is beautiful, accomplished, successful, totally independent and yes, very Single. What’s even more frustrating for this particular client according to her, is that when she asked her “friend”, very openly why he wouldn’t date her, but he wouldn’t give her a real answer.

    A woman at this juncture in her life, needs to make a serious decision. Does she stay in this situationship with her friend or leave the friendship all together? There is no other choice. She needs to be aware that if she stays, she will continue to dwell in her frustration. She may at times feel used for intimacy and may harbor feelings of anger and resentfulness towards him, as she continues to not get her needs met by him, for a true relationship. If she leaves the “friendship” all together, she will have to come to terms with leaving a relationship that was formed on years in the making. Since most individuals who later become “friends with benefits”, often have known each other for sometime and really were true friends. This is a very difficult place for a woman, who finds herself in such a predicament. Either choice made, will bring about some level of pain.

    I have seen this phenomenon unfold over and over again in my practice, with women from all walks of life and backgrounds. The difficult question here usually is, how do I let go and move forward? Which again does not come with an easy answer. It’s really the individual’s choice, however, if a woman is aiming for a healthy relationship with herself and others, then only one decision can truly be made. Friends with benefits can be toxic, unhealthy and unrewarding, when there are emotional feelings involved with one of the parties. By the way, the above client made the decision to leave the friendship all together, but admits that it was a very hard decision to make, and there are times that she wants to reach out and restart what she ended.

    This is just one of the many situations that some Singles may find themselves in from time to time, and one of the many issues that are worked through in Singles Therapy. Most Singles often suffer in silence, as they do not want to be judged by friends and family members, if they were to talk about this openly. The phrase “you just need to get over him” is easily told by loved ones in an attempt to help, but the truth of the matter is so much deeper than what meets the eye.  If you are dealing with a “situationship” similar to this, just know that you do not have to go through it alone. Your happiness is worth it and your future starts now. Reach out if you need help, I’m here for you.