Curvy Conversations: Friends With Benefits?


Looks like “Curvy Conversations” could be a regular Friday thing… keep your emails coming, I love it!

Here’s today’s question:

Hey CeCe,

I was wondering how you feel about Friends with Benefits? I recently went through a rough breakup and ended up fooling around with a male friend. We agreed we only wanted to remain friends but have continued a physical relationship.

We’ve been doing this for a few months and have been keeping it from our friends (who are mostly mutual). I’m enjoying myself, but I worry that this perpetuates the stereotype of guys only wanting to see big girls in secret rather than publicly. I’m also slightly worried about one-sided feelings developing and the other not reciprocating.

What do you think? Do you think Friends with benefits ever really works?

- Diane

Hi Diane,

Friends With Benefits, wow, this is a tough one… but I’m going to give your question my best shot….

I am always leery of “Placeholders”. Placeholders = Guys who make me feel like I have a boyfriend when I really don’t.

When I have a Placeholder taking me to movies, dinners, being my +1 for events etc., he is filling the relationship voids in my life which feels good because… I don’t feel single! On the other hand, it makes it harder for me to open myself up to 100% committed relationships with other people. Placeholders can be anyone; a male best friend, a close gay friend… but when your Placeholder includes a physical relationship, (in my opinion) you’re playing with fire.

The part of your letter that stuck out to me was when you said, “I worry that this perpetuates the stereotype of guys only wanting to see big girls in secret rather than publicly. I’m also slightly worried about one-sided feelings developing and the other not reciprocating.”

As PSP’s we’re often put into the “friend zone” by guys that we actually have (or could have)feelings for. So when a long time friend turns into a friend with benefits, I’m sure its easy to wonder why he’s not asking for more. Yes, he could be respecting your recent breakup. And yes, you’ve told him you don’t want him to be your boyfriend. But I’m sure in the back of your mind you’ve wondered whats going on in his mind….

Honestly, I don’t think that he’s embarrassed to be with you. I would imagine that if you were open to dating him and telling your friends about it that he’d be more than happy to jump on board (having a long time friend express interest in me gives me hope for this type of happy ending)

But until you’re ready to explore a full blown dating situation I would caution you to really think about what an FWB relationship, especially with a close friend, means for you. As PSP’s– scratch that– as women in general, we have to be careful about the situations we put ourselves in. Our physical needs are always there, but the reality is that while men can do the “wham, bam, thank you ma’am” thing quite well… we’re just not wired that way!

When a woman is physical with a man her heart will get involved at some point.


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  • Erin

    Cece, I have been reading this blog for awhile and I just wanted to say that this is really great advice. I definitely have a few "placeholders" but never thought about how they might be keeping me from opening myself to a real relationship. You've definitely given me something to think about!

  • Blossom

    I agree….when I broke up with my ex, we decided to be FWB. It was fine for him, but I wanted more (not necessarily with him)…but it makes it really hard to move on and find what you want. I had to end it, and I feel better for it!

  • heather

    I respectfully disagree with you, Cece, when you say that men can do it but women can't. I think its important for everyone to not make broad generalizations (example, as a PS I wouldn't want someone to say ALL PS's are unathletic, since I am very athletic). I'm sure there are some women who view sex as JUST a physical thing, just as there are men for whom sex with love is the only way, and I think its unfair to say that one gender is just "wired that way" (either way) about anything, especially when it comes to sex/love/relationships.

  • Vannessa

    Great advice Cece! I am in a similar situation with a guy and we're actually transitioning from just friends to something more which is really cool. I definitely questioned the same thing, however I am a firm believer that as women we have that crazy intuition whether something is right or not. Sometimes it is easy to ignore but if you truly and whole heartedly tune in you'll know what to do. We deserve the world, so we should never settle for "close enough".

  • Fat Girl vs. World

    I've been celibate for over 1300 days now… for almost the precise reason. It's easy to find someone to screw around with. But i want someone who will be there on my good AND bad days, not just when it's convenient to them.

    I think lots of people are in FWB/NSA relationships (or so they call them) becuase they don't know how to have an actual relationship with another person when sex isn't part of the equation.

    I'm celibate because i'm taking myself (and my relationship with my body) seriously and I want other people to take me do the same.

    The celibacy bit isn't for everyone, but I think all women should value their needs and desires.

    If a man sees value you in you (and himself), he'll wait, he'll call, he'll commit.

    and as a footnote — with 1/4 of women and 1/5 of men in the US having HSV-2, I'd rather err on the side of caution than not.

  • Anonymous

    I love this blog BUT… I don't think Cece is one to give anybody advice. You are not qualified to be answering reader questions.. I think you are playing with fire Cece and getting a little to big for your britches.

  • Fat Girl vs. World

    Hey Anonymous — perhaps that's something better said via email?

  • Punky

    I disagree with "Anonymous." Is having a degree make someone "qualified" to give advice? I don't think so.

    I think this is great advice and well put together. Thanks Cece.

    And it really bugs me when people post negative comments and remain anonymous. Seems so pointless. If you stand behind it, put your name on it.

  • Louisa

    Hey anonymous,

    You're welcome to your opinion, as are we all, but put your name to it. If CeCe, or any of us, is asked a question she's 100% qualified to give the answer because someone ASKED for her opinion.

    Personally, I think this post was really well written hun (as always!)


  • Anonymous

    I simply didnt sign in… my name is Marchesa. And YES a degree does qualify you to give advice.

    End of story…

    PS… waiting to see whatelse all you lovely ladies are going to write back in defense of Cece.

  • Fat Girl vs. World

    Marchesa — then how do you explain some of the more famous advice givers not having degrees in the psychology/sociology field — such as Dear Abby (Pauline Phillips, Jeanne Phillips) and Ann Landers (Ruth Crowley, Eppie Lederer).

    In other words, why should someone's personal advice/opinion be discounted just because they don't have a degree in that field?

  • Anonymous

    @Fat Girl

    I love this blog…

    I am not going back and forth with you on this subject.

    I don't think Cece should be handing out advice.

    Everyone has their own opinion.

  • Fat Girl vs. World

    Everyone has the own opinion, but you seem to just attack Cece instead of what she's saying.

  • Punky

    Ok you're right having a degree does make you qualified to give advice.

    BUT it doesn't disqualify the rest of us from giving advice.

    Personally I rely solely on my friends and family for advice, none of which have an actual degree in any sort of advice giving field.

    With that said, In my opinion I didn't see anything wrong with Cece giving her advice to a reader/friend who went out of their way to specifically ask her.

    I'm not trying to be combative. But when I read your comment it sounded so condescending and negative, and that response just didn't seem fair when the intention of her blog post was actually pretty helpful.

    I should have been more clear in my first comment. i apologize.

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  • Michael Smith

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