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5 Signs It's Time To End Your Friends With Benefits Relationship

Love & Relationships

Maybe it started off as just a friendship and, from there, sex got involved. Perhaps sex was the starting point and a friendship was built. There may have not even been sex involved at all. Maybe there was a friendship with sexual or emotional tension so thick that it could cut through ice.

Friends with benefit situations are extremely hard to escape from with both parties being completely unscathed. At some point or another, one of those two people are going to get their feelings hurt. If your friends with benefits situation has been holding on by a thread, it may just be time to cut him and yourself loose before things become even more complicated.

Here are 5 of the most common signs that it's time let the comforts of your Netflix and chill FWB go.

1.The Respect Is Gone

No relationship can be successful without respect. If you find yourself constantly trying to leverage with him to give you the bare minimum amount of respect you deserve, you no longer feel fulfilled in your friendship, or your closest girlfriends have pointed out on a number of occasions of how disrespectful he is towards you, the respect is definitely gone.

There is no point in sticking around trying to convince him why he should respect you. You know how you deserve to be treated and it's probably how you have continued to treat him regardless of his recent disrespectful streak.

The best way to gain your respect back is by showing him how much you respect yourself and gracefully bowing out. Perhaps in the future, a friendship can continue, but staying to try to convince someone you are worth respect is counterproductive to gaining the respect you deserve.

2.He's Moved On

Eventually, you both knew one or both of you would meet someone and eventually get into serious relationships. Maybe deep down inside, you hoped that special someone would be you, but things didn't exactly go that way. He might have sprung it on you out of nowhere or your investigation skills may have come into play and you figured it out on your own. Regardless of how you found out, you know now that you are no longer his number one.

I remember a situationship I was in, where I told the guy I was seeing, the moment I was no longer the one he wanted to share his memories with was the moment I would no longer be interested in carrying on the type of friendship I had with him. I knew my limits. I knew what I was comfortable with and I have never been comfortable not being the only one. As a woman, as hard as it can be to see the person you've been sharing your time, emotions, and possibly even body with has chosen someone else other than you, trying to convince him to stay, or worse, competing with another woman always ends badly.

If he wanted to be with you, he would have made that clear, and choosing to be with another woman says the exact opposite. Remember the beautiful memories you created together but don't stay in that place of regret or trying to fight for something that was never yours to begin with.

3.It's No Longer Fun

When you first became friends, things were fun! You saw each other when you wanted to, every moment with him was intense. It didn't matter what you were doing together, you knew you were going to have an amazing time. If you find yourself questioning why are you even still dealing with him, if he's not treating you how he did in the beginning or even middle, or if he seems uninterested in carrying on the friendship - why stress yourself out trying to make it work?

As a friend, it's always a good idea to find out if everything in his life is going okay. It could be stress or a slew of other problems bothering him, but if you feel it in your heart of hearts that it's something deeper and directly related to him no longer being interested in your friendship, bowing out may be the best bet, especially if he's man enough to be upfront with you.

4.You're In Too Deep

The slightest disagreement with him sends your emotions overboard. You find yourself checking all of his social media accounts to see what other women he's checking for or who is checking for him. The last time at his house, it took everything in you not to use his thumb to unlock his phone while he was sleeping. You ask him about other women, he laughs it off. You tell him how you've been feeling lately, he laughs that off as well

The mere thought of him no longer being in your life is enough to drive you to tears. The reality of friends with benefits type situations is that there is absolutely no commitment and that is both what attracts people and is usually the cause of their demise as well.

If it's clear his feelings are nowhere as deep as yours and you are driving yourself crazy trying to figure out why not, it's time to move on. You can't force a person to love you or share the feelings you do. You can't sex someone, feed someone, friend someone, or love someone into loving you. As harsh as it sounds, and as much as fuckboys say it, you knew what you signed up for. You can't get mad at him for not gaining the feelings that you did. In this case, it's best to let it go and realize that a friends with benefits situation is not something that you are truly seeking in a man. You want a relationship and that is fine, it just wont be with this guy at this time.

5.He Wants More And You Don't

Maybe your friendship is based on him being the shoulder you cry on. He's your stability. He is the guy you can call at 2 a.m. to come fix your tire, but he's not boyfriend, zaddy, or husband material. Maybe your physical relationship is amazing, but you can't bring him to meet the parents nor would you ever want to. You know all the reasons why he will never be the man for you, but you like how things are going and he does too, right? Wrong!

You probably knew from the beginning that his feelings were deeper than yours, or perhaps lately he's been way more emotional than usual and he's not letting up on calling you his "girl" no matter how many times you've asked him not to. Just like women, men can catch feelings just as easily and fall just as hard. If you know that you would never want to be in a relationship with him, but he wont let up on the subject you have to end the benefits of the friendship, understand that means no more calling him with your emergencies in the middle of the night, no more sex, no more doing all of the relationship things that have aided in making him fall for you. To continue with the benefits aspect is not only confusing, it's cruel.

If you know you have no intentions in being with this man, stop making him believe he has a chance with you and torturing him even more. Moving on from the situation may be difficult because he has been your saving grace in more than a few occasions but you know it's only hurting him the more you continue with your friendship.

At the end of the day, friends with benefit situations can be doable for people that are ready and willing to handle the highs and the lows that can definitely come with sharing your heart, bed, or food with no strings. Yes, food too! Ya'll know a man can get attached once he's tasted your grandma's famous macaroni and cheese recipe, greens, and hot water cornbread. I digress. It's better to cut ties than to draw out the inevitable and create a blood bath of emotions.

Let it go now and save the friendship, or continue to hold on to a dead situation that can result in the end of a once beautiful friendship.

Love and light.

Featured image via Giphy

You may not know her by Elisabeth Ovesen – writer and host of the love, sex and relationships advice podcast Asking for a Friend. But you definitely know her other alter ego, Karrine Steffans, the New York Times best-selling author who lit up the literary and entertainment world when she released what she called a “tell some” memoir, Confessions of a Video Vixen.

Her 2005 barn-burning book gave an inside look at the seemingly glamorous world of being a video vixen in the ‘90s and early 2000s, and exposed the industry’s culture of abuse, intimidation, and misogyny years before the Me Too Movement hit the mainstream. Her follow-up books, The Vixen Diaries (2007) and The Vixen Manual: How To Find, Seduce And Keep The Man You Want (2009) all topped the New York Times best-seller list. After a long social media break, she's back. xoNecole caught up with Ovesen about the impact of her groundbreaking book, what life is like for her now, and why she was never “before her time”– everyone else was just late to the revolution.

xoNecole: Tell me about your new podcast Asking for a Friend with Elisabeth Ovesen and how that came about.

Elisabeth Ovesen: I have a friend who is over [at Blavity] and he just asked me if I wanted to do something with him. And that's just kinda how it happened. It wasn't like some big master plan. Somebody over there was like, “Hey, we need content. We want to do this podcast. Can you do it?” And I was like, “Sure.” And that's that. That was around the holidays and so we started working on it.

xoNecole: Your life and work seem incredibly different from when you first broke out on the scene. Can you talk a bit about the change in your career and how your life is now?

EO: Not that different. I mean my life is very different, of course, but my work isn't really that different. My life is different, of course, because I'm 43. My career started when I was in my 20s, so we're looking at almost 20 years since the beginning of my career. So, naturally life has changed a lot since then.

I don’t think my career has changed a whole lot – not as far as my writing is concerned, and my stream of consciousness with my writing, and my concerns and the subject matter hasn’t changed much. I've always written about interpersonal relationships, sexual shame, male ego fragility, respectability politics – things like that. I always put myself in the center of that to make those points, which I think were greatly missed when I first started writing. I think that society has changed quite a bit. People are more aware. People tell me a lot that I have always been “before my time.” I was writing about things before other people were talking about that; I was concerned about things before my generation seemed to be concerned about things. I wasn't “before my time.” I think it just seems that way to people who are late to the revolution, you know what I mean?

I retired from publishing in 2015, which was always the plan to do 10 years and retire. I was retired from my pen name and just from the business in general in 2015, I could focus on my business, my education and other things, my family. I came back to writing in 2020 over at Medium. The same friend that got me into the podcast, actually as the vice president of content over at Medium and was like, “Hey, we need some content.” I guess I’m his go-to content creator.

xoNecole: Can you expound on why you went back to your birth name versus your stage name?

EO: No, it was nothing to expound upon. I mean, writers have pen names. That’s like asking Diddy, why did he go by Sean? I didn't go back. I've always used that. Nobody was paying attention. I've never not been myself. Karrine Steffans wrote a certain kind of book for a certain kind of audience. She was invented for the urban audience, particularly. She was never meant to live more than 10 years. I have other pen names as well. I write under several names. So, the other ones are just nobody's business right now. Different pen names write different things. And Elisabeth isn’t my real name either. So you'll never know who I really am and you’ll never know what my real name is, because part of being a writer is, for me at least, keeping some sort of anonymity. Anything I do in entertainment is going to amass quite a bit because who I am as a person in my private life isn't the same a lot of times as who I am publicly.

xoNecole: I want to go back to when you published Confessions of a Video Vixen. We are now in this time where people are reevaluating how the media mistreated women in the spotlight in the 2000s, namely women like Britney Spears. So I’d be interested to hear how you feel about that period of your life and how you were treated by the media?

EO: What I said earlier. I think that much of society has evolved quite a bit. When you look back at that time, it was actually shocking how old-fashioned the thinking still was. How women were still treated and how they're still treated now. I mean, it hasn't changed completely. I think that especially for the audience, I think it was shocking for them to see a woman – a woman of color – not be sexually ashamed.

I hate being like other people. I don't want to do what anyone else is doing. I can't conform. I will not conform. I think in 2005 when Confessions was published, that attitude, especially about sex, was very upsetting. Number one, it was upsetting to the men, especially within urban and hip-hop culture, which is built on misogyny and thrives off of it to this day. And the women who protect these men, I think, you know, addressing a demographic that is rooted in trauma that is rooted in sexual shame, trauma, slavery of all kinds, including slavery of the mind – I think it triggered a lot of people to see a Black woman be free in this way.

I think it said a lot about the people who were upset by it. And then there were some in “crossover media,” a lot of white folks were upset too, not gonna lie. But to see it from Black women – Tyra Banks was really upset [when she interviewed me about Confessions in 2005]. Oprah wasn't mad [when she interviewed me]. As long as Oprah wasn’t mad, I was good. I didn't care what anybody else had to say. Oprah was amazing. So, watching Black women defend men, and Black women who had a platform, defend the sexual blackmailing of men: “If you don't do this with me, you won't get this job”; “If you don't do this in my trailer, you're going to have to leave the set”– these are things that I dealt with.

I just happened to be the kind of woman who, because I was a single mother raising my child all by myself and never got any help at all – which I still don't. Like, I'm 24 in college – not a cheap college either – one of the best colleges in the country, and I'm still taking care of him all by myself as a 21-year-old, 20-year-old, young, single mother with no family and no support – I wasn’t about to say no to something that could help me feed my son for a month or two or three.

xoNecole: We are in this post-Me Too climate where women in Hollywood have come forward to talk about the powerful men who have abused them. In the music industry in particular, it seems nearly impossible for any substantive change or movement to take place within music. It's only now after three decades of allegations that R. Kelly has finally been convicted and other men like Russell Simmons continue to roam free despite the multiple allegations against him. Why do you think it's hard for the music industry to face its reckoning?

EO: That's not the music industry, that's urban music. That’s just Black folks who make music and nobody cares about that. That's the thing; nobody cares...Nobody cares. It's not the music industry. It's just an "urban" thing. And when I say "urban," I say that in quotations. Literally, it’s a Black thing, where nobody gives a shit what Black people do to Black people. And Russell didn't go on unchecked, he just had enough money to keep it quiet. But you know, anytime you're dealing with Black women being disrespected, especially by Black men, nobody gives a shit.

And Black people don't police themselves so it doesn't matter. Why should anybody care? And Black women don't care. They'll buy an R. Kelly album right now. They’ll stream that shit right now. They don’t care. So, nobody cares. Nobody cares. And if you're not going to police yourself, then nobody's ever going to care.

xoNecole: Do you have any regrets about anything you wrote or perhaps something you may have omitted?

EO: Absolutely not. No. There's nothing that I wish I would've gone back and said to myself, no. I don’t think at 20-something years old, I'm supposed to understand every little thing. I don't think the 20-something-year-old woman is supposed to understand the world and know exactly what she's doing. I think that one of my biggest regrets, which isn't my regret, but a regret, is that I didn't have better parents. Because a 20-something only knows what she knows based on what she’s seen and what she’s been taught and what she’s told. I had shitty parents and a horrible family. Just terrible. These people had no business having children. None of them. And a lot of our families are like that. And we may pass down those familial curses.

*This interview has been edited and condensed

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Feature image courtesy of Elisabeth Ovesen

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