Who isn’t just a little bit fucked up when it comes to dating? Unless you’re brand new at it, you’ve gone through your share of heartache. In fact, it’s often the pain of past relationships that urges us to seek out more casual hookup arrangements.
But is it really fair to expect that we will always be the perfect friend with benefits (FWB)? Taking away the weight of commitment doesn’t magically free us of the baggage that’s attached itself to our hearts, and maintaining any relationship, NSA or otherwise is hard!
We need to have patience with our fuck buddies when the struggle makes them lean too hard into things. Isn’t that how a friend should treat a friend?
How to Help Your FWB through a Clingy Rough Patch
Be Clear about Your Boundaries
If you’re looking for something casual, be really clear about that. Don’t be afraid to reiterate your intentions if you feel your FWB has lost sight of them. If she’s getting closer than you’d like or making too many demands on your time, the best thing you can do is tell her.
Be gentle about it and give her the chance to get her shit together. If you’re really her friend and if you’re really enjoying your arrangement, it’s worth having patience. She’s probably used to guys pulling the plug on things when she gets a little insecure. That in itself has created much of the problem. She thinks you’re going to bolt, so she hangs on tighter.
Try not to flip-flop about how much time and attention you’re willing to give her. This will only set up a sort of Intermittent Reinforcement dynamic that will make the situation worse. For example, if you don’t want her to expect more of the relationship, don’t spend the night—not even if you’re relaxed and starting to fall asleep.
If you stay over sometimes but leave most other times, she might start to expect more. What seems really simple and practical to you, could be really confusing to her, especially if sex tends to leave her feeling vulnerable.
Not everyone is skilled at maintaining a casual sex dynamic, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t suited for one. It takes practice! If she really wants it, give her the chance to figure it out. Sometimes people are fooling themselves about what they really want, but that’s a whole other topic. Trust her when she says she wants an NSA arrangement and do your part to make it work.
Be Specific about Offending Behaviours
Point out when she’s doing or saying something that deviates from the rules of your casual arrangement. Try not to be mean or blunt about it, just bring it to her attention. You could say something like, “I don’t really want to meet your family. I feel like maybe you’re expecting a bit more from me than we agreed upon” or “I don’t feel that I owe you a phone call before bed. I enjoy talking to you, but that would feel too much like we’re dating.”
If she keeps being clingy despite her best efforts to rein it in, she might not be in the right place to have an NSA arrangement. The two of you might want to check in about it after a while, just to reassess. There’s no shame in admitting that it’s not what you both need right now.