Patrice, a single woman in her 60s, set up a time to talk with me after a relationship had ended. For eight months, she’d been trying to figure out why a man she’d been with for a year and a half had suddenly dumped her for another woman.
Their relationship had started out as a friends-with-benefits union. Over time, she found herself falling in love with him and thought the feeling was mutual. Andrea loved his attention. He texted her numerous times during the day, and at night, when he wasn’t coming over, they’d talk on the phone for hours.
On weekends, they spent a lot of time at her home watching movies, TV, and even some sporting events. She really wasn’t a sports fan, but she figured he loved spending time with her this way and thought it could only deepen their relationship.
One of the things she loved about him was how open he was about sharing his life with her. And the chemistry between them was hot. She thought it might have been the best sexual relationship she’d ever had.
She began thinking maybe he was the one and started dreaming of the day the relationship turned from friends-with-benefits to a long-term, committed relationship.
Then out of the blue, both the texts and phone calls stopped. He told her he was now busy on the weekends, so he couldn’t make it over to watch TV anymore. Andrea was beside herself because she had no idea what happened. She tried texting to figure this out, but he never replied.
A couple of months later, one of Andrea’s friends told her she’d seen this guy on Facebook with another woman, and it looked like they’d gotten engaged.
Andrea was devastated. Her heart was breaking because she’d fallen in love with this man, and she had thought he’d come back since they’d had such a great relationship on every level.
What happened to Andrea is common in a friends-with-benefits situation. As a woman, your heart bonds with a man once you’ve been intimate.
Thanks to the release of the bonding chemical, Oxytocin, you can stay connected to a man for up to three weeks, whereas a man might stay connected with you for about two hours.
A man does NOT need a heart connection to have a physical relationship with you, and this is what makes it so easy for him to walk away when he’s done. To him, it’s a fun and casual relationship that has lots of benefits while he’s into it!
Being a friend-with-benefits seems like a good idea. No strings. Lots of fun. But if you find yourself bonding, you need to have a conversation to see if both of you are still on the same relationship page. Otherwise, you’re falling in love thinking he is too, when it’s possible he’s not.
Always listen to what a man says. Unless he expresses a desire to be in a long-term relationship with you, he does not consider you to be “The One” for him. He’ll leave without guilt when he’s found the right woman because he thinks he’s been upfront with you about his intentions.
He figures you knew the game since you freely participated in this type of relationship with him, which is another reason for talking about the relationship page you’re both on.
Women are usually the biggest losers in a friends-with-benefits relationship because of the bonding that happens every time you physically connect. And, like Andrea, are usually devastated when a man moves on.
Question your needs and desires before entering a friends-with-benefits relationship with a buddy. Is your long-term goal to find love, connection, and to be in a committed relationship? You may be setting yourself up for heartache if you lower your standards too much.
Some women accept this type of agreement because they feel lonely and this is better than nothing they tell themselves. Some women may actually enjoy the non-committal aspect of having sex with a friend without having to give up too much of their time and life.
Remember, friends-with-benefits typically doesn’t include monogamy so protecting yourself is important. Even if he is the only friend you are having sex with it doesn’t mean that you are his only one. Recent studies have shown a dramatic increase in STIs (or STDs) in older adults.
Make regular check-ins with yourself and with your partner and don’t assume that if you are getting feelings he is too. Communication and honesty are important to keep things real and to make sure that you are on the same page.
So, go in with your eyes wide open and keep checking to see if you are both feeling the same way about the type of relationship you’ve created together.
What do you think about friends-with-benefits relationships after 60? Have you tried them? What’s your experience? Do you have any advice you’d like to share? Let’s have a conversation in the comments below!
Tags Senior Dating Advice