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FWB – Does It Really Work? Don’t Relationships Need Clear Definitions?

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FWB – Does It Really Work? Don’t Relationships Need Clear Definitions? post image

What about when a guy is not ignoring you, but is making NO effort to initiate? I hooked up with a guy from work. He messaged me suggesting a FWB, and we got together. During the night, he told me that actually he really likes me, and he’s ok with FWB but would like to take it further. I told him I wasn’t sure, would need to think about it, but am happy to keep going with what we have in the meantime.

Since then (10 days), he’s barely spoken to me. When I see him at work he’s still very flirtatious. When I text him, he texts straight back, but he’s not made any effort. I know he’s not shy, because he messaged me the first time! I did drunk text him one night to ask why he hasn’t contacted me. He apologised, and the next morning sent me a good morning text, which I replied to. But since then, nothing. No contact at all for 3 days now. If he doesn’t like me, why is he flirting and responding to my texts? If he does like me, why isn’t he making an effort?!

Hello Amy,

I would say that he tried to initiate something more with you.

He told you he was okay with the arrangement but would like to take it further.

Your response was to tell him “you were not sure and would like to think about it but you’re happy with what’s going on in the meantime.”

He’s giving you space. He’s acting like a “scarce” friend.

Since he’s looking for more and you’re not – he’s refraining from acting as more than just a friend to avoid coming off as trying to be your boyfriend.

I don’t see where him not liking you comes into play.


Let me get this out because I feel very passionately about it.

FWB doesn’t work or even exist. You’re either casually dating, sleeping with each other, having sex OR you’re platonic friends.

You’re starting to see why by what is going on with the two of you.

If he “acts” like more than a friend – it comes off as becoming your boyfriend.

If he pulls back – suddenly it’s like he’s ignoring you or acting as less than a friend would.

FWB implies a state of limbo.

It’s not a clear understanding of what is really going on. There’s no real definition or nature of the relationship.

Dating implies an exploration, a possibility, a defined “relationship” where both are free to date and see other people.

Dating is NOT a commitment.

Sure it may be semantics – just a choice of words – but again, dating is a clear understanding between two people which allows them to act more freely.

Friends With Benefits” becomes a problem because there’s no real clear line drawn and it often causes confusion on how to act, when to act, how to proceed, how not to proceed.

There’s no real pressure on friends or timetable to see each other or respond to an absence.

If a friend doesn’t contact you for a while it’s much easier to say, “Hey – jerkoff!!! Where have you been?”

In your case.

He wants to date – you don’t – but you want to act like you’re dating by just being friends with the added benefit of intimacy.

But as far as I’m concerned or believe…

Intimacy is not a benefit of a relationship – it’s an integral and very important part of it.

“Friends with Benefits are relationships with no definition. You’re either friends or you’re dating and enjoying sex. There Are No Friends With Benefits, Alpha Men Don’t Sleep With Friends

When friends start seeing each other intimately – they’re dating – committed or not, it doesn’t matter.

Okay… I got that out. 🙂 Not completely though there’s more to come…

Your guy just does not know how to act.

He’s afraid of crossing the line and losing the connection entirely.

He’s giving you the space he thinks YOU want.

He’s not taking the effort you want him to take because you’re just friends and not casually dating.

I COMPLETELY understand and hear – He’s the one who suggested the FWB.

This is typical for a guy who is not sure how a certain woman would react to an open dating arrangement.

Some people are not into that – or assume women are not okay with it – and so suggesting the FWB might have been his way of feeling you out.

Also you’ll find some guys, until there’s more intimacy or a real physical connection are not really sure what they want until it happens. They can get all mushy and realize after the fact that, “Wow! I want more! I don’t want to lose this one!” Or something along those lines.

We ( once more ) might be talking semantics but clearer definitions where both of the sexes agree with, or are at least understand has less of a potential to create problems than just having to guess how the other person defines something where an emotional connection is involved.

This includes all areas up to the definition of cheating.

Friends = A Platonic relationship which may or may not develop into something more. When more happens, it becomes…


Are they both sure what their relationship means and can act accordingly?

Dating = A Non-committal exploration to figure out compatibility on a deeper level.

In the dating mode we’re not pressured to see each other that often. We’re exploring other options.

We’re not opt to rely on the other person for full support on issues or problems.

Girlfriend and Boyfriend = A committed relationship unless otherwise specified ( as in an open relationship ) meant to explore an even deeper level of compatibility.

We see each other more often. We might even commit to living together. We begin to rely on the other person for more support.

We’re exploring a deeper communication. Someone to add to ourselves. We share more.

The future is clearer and a legal definition ( such as marriage ) might be in the future.

Thank you Amy for allowing me to get that all out once for all.

I do hope however, among all the definitions, you found the answer you were looking for and a clearer understanding about why your “friend with benefits” is doing or acting like he doesn’t care.

I’d say he does and wish you both all the best of luck… Pete

About the author: Peter White… Showing men and women ways to attract each other naturally by helping you to understand each other. Over ten years experience which has shown me how to see things clearly and get to the root cause of most dating and relationships problems. Hope you learn and enjoy your why do guys experience.

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5 comments… add one
  • Amy

    Wow, I wasnt expecting a whole post reply, thank you!
    You make a lot of sense. Truly, I still think he is into me too, but was losing my confidence the longer I wait for his call. So much “advice” suggests that men who are interested will always let you know and do the chasing, but I can see why he might think I don’t want that.

    I have been unsure how to get out of this hole we are stuck in. I’m still not sure I like him all that much, so I didn’t want to initiate and risk ‘leading him on’. But you’ve made me see it with a better perspective. If I call him, I’m not promising a committed relationship, just dating. I can handle that. And although I’m still a bit worried that maybe he’s changed his mind and isn’t all that interested any more, it’s worth checking. Thank you!

    • Peter White

      You’re welcome Amy.

      Yes. It’s true – just because a guy is interested does not guarantee you’ll know about it OR that he’ll even bother chasing you. There are too many other factors which come into play.

      I will say this… I am DEFINITELY interested in finding out how it works out for you. 😀

      And thank you,


  • Amy

    Hi Pete, I hope you meant it when you said you wanted to know how it worked out, cos here I am back again!! 🙂
    Well, you were partly right and partly wrong. He definitely did like me, and was pleased to hear from me when I called. Since then we’ve caught up about once a week, and had a lot of fun, but also a lot of frustration and disappointment.
    You see, I don’t think he didn’t call me because he was confused, I think he didn’t call because he is rather flaky. He talks a really good talk, but doesn’t deliver. At first I was disappointed because I had decided I WAS interested in dating him, but we never actually dated – he just came around to my place late at night. After I told him that if he wanted to date me he needed to actually take me on dates, and he still made no effort, I realised it wasn’t going to happen. But I also realised that really, this was what I had wanted all along, and so we went back to things being casual and it was actually great for a couple of weeks. I stopped feeling let down by him because I dropped my expectations.
    However, even though my expectations are practically zero, he still manages to disappoint me. The annoying thing is, he sets himself up for failure! This week, I asked him where I could buy a part I need for my bike, and he said he’d take me there. But then on the day we were set to go, he looked at my bike and realised that I could just get the part at a store right near my house and so he didn’t have to take me after all. I told him I’d still like him to take me, but he wasn’t interested. In the end, I went to the store, and they didn’t have the part, but gave me another address across town. I texted him and asked him if he would be able to take me there on the weekend, and got no reply. I’m so annoyed because I never would have asked him, but HE OFFERED! and then let me down again. I’m actually going to cut things off with him because I’m so tired of feeling taken advantage of, and it’s a real shame because we could have had a really great fun, casual relationship. Why would he keep promising more if he wasn’t going to deliver?
    Thanks for all your great advice 🙂

    • Peter White

      Hi Amy and yes I did mean it…

      Thanks for letting me know. I do appreciate it.

      Sucks that he turned out to be too flaky. Also the fact that he’s all talk because guys are typically about action and the ones whose words mean nothing ( if they can’t back it up ) are beyond frustrating. That I know.

      I think you found your answer… all promises and no delivery. Something to look out for next time…

      And no, thank you for sharing. Okay you’re welcome too 😀


  • Katie

    Hi Pete,

    I know this column is out of date, but I could really use some advice.

    I’ve been seeing a guy for just under a month, we met on Tinder and chatted for about a month before we met. He seemed a genuinely nice guy and different to the usual clientele on tinder, he was very nice and genuinely interested in me, so after blowing him off a couple of times, due to circumstances we eventually met for a date (He waited very patiently). It went really well and I spent the night at his, we had a really good chemistry, and I ended up spending the whole weekend at his (He didn’t want me to leave, kept asking me to stay on longer) we just totally clicked and it felt really natural.

    So that week we chatted loads, the next weekend we chatted about going to the cinema, cooking dinner-so we did, it was another amazing weekend, he said he had been really looking forward to seeing me all week. When I left for work on Monday, he told me he had a really good time and that ‘we didn’t have to wait until the weekend to see each other again’. So we didn’t, and we caught up a couple of times during the week, We went out, stayed in and had another couple of full on weekends where we spent a lot of time together. (his choice, he invited me over and to do things, I met some of his best friends too.)

    Anyway one night we were hanging out and he was showing me some stuff on his phone and he scrolled past what looked like provocative pictures of his ex-girlfriend (They broke up a year ago, but it was a pretty intense/rocky/emotional rollercoaster of a relationship from what he tells me-she had some mental health issues that he had to deal with). Anyway so I saw the photos and he was like ‘shit I should really get rid of those, are you okay? are you pissed off? shit shit’ I said no (I felt a bit funny about it) but that I didn’t want to continue on a road with him if he’s not over his ex, he insists he is, and it leads us into having a conversation about a potential relationship.

    He says he’s not sure he wants anything serious, he doesn’t know that yet and he wants to let things progress naturally to see what happens, but that he really likes me and doesn’t want to let a good thing go with me out of fear of being vulnerable, but he doesn’t want to tell he he’s definitely ready. It felt like a really positive, open chat. So that was all good.

    About a week later the conversation comes up again, we were lying in bed together talking about his life abroad (he and his ex lived abroad) and we ended up having a similar chat, I had asked him some ‘what if’ questions which in hindsight were a bit silly. The conversation led to him saying again he doesn’t know if he’s ready to commit, but that he needs time to work it out and that maybe when he goes away travelling that will be a good time for us to work things out and take some time/talk less than normal (we usually speak everyday, on whatsapp, throughout the day.) He asked if I could give him time, and that he doesn’t want to be hasty to throw something away because he likes me and he didn’t expect to etc. He said his feelings for me are all there but it’s the commitment side he’s not sure he’s ready for. I mentioned that I know I didn’t have the right, I think I would be a bit upset if he got with other girls whilst he was abroad. He said ‘I know, I’ve thought about this too…I doubt I’d want to to be honest.’ Which to me felt genuine, like he was saying he liked me enough not to.

    So that weekend, we chill out with his friends, cook dinner, I stay over, and he invites me to go and meet him and his roommate and his brother on the second week of their travels abroad. (Which I find odd considering he isn’t sure about me). Anyway, It’s two weeks before they’re about to go, I have work so say ‘ I wish I could but I can’t’ All the while feeling confused/mixed signals.

    Later that week we have ANOTHER chat about us, I must admit it’s my fault. I asked if he had deleted the pictures of his ex, he said he hadn’t and I got upset, he said he doesn’t understand why it bothered me so much – he said he just forgot to and its completely insignificant to him that he has them/they aren’t nudes etc. But he seemed a bit annoyed, saying as soon as we start making demands on each other that’s when people get upset/things go wrong. I said I just worry because I can see myself falling for him in the future and I don’t think having pictures of your ex suggests that your over things. I got a bit pissed I suppose because I felt a bit disrespected. I said that I’m the one lying in bed with him and spending my time on him etc. He said again that he really doesn’t know if he’s ready to commit, but he doesn’t have all the answers right now so can I give him time etc. He said he doesn’t want to end up in another relationship with someone insecure, he was with a girl before he was ruled by her insecurities etc. I realize I shouldn’t have said anything, I pushed him away a bit I’m sure.

    I sent him a message the next day apologizing, and he replied saying it’s okay and that nothing is ruined/his feelings for me haven’t changed so we should just relax and enjoy spending time together. This was two days before he left for his trip, after sending that message he wasn’t as chatty as normal. The night before he left we went for dinner, I stayed overnight and helped him pack. The next morning I saw him off at the station (he’s away to do a bit of travelling/discover his heritage with his brother and his roommate-who I get on really well with). Everything was fine when I saw him off, when we were in the car on the way there he mentioned me on the phone to his mum, we were having a laugh and I said goodbye to him and his roommate.

    He chatted to me a bit that day, but since he’s been abroad he’s barely spoken to me, and by that I mean, I left him for three days without contact, and messaged just to see how he was doing, he replied, then when I responded, I heard NOTHING. It’s been almost a week I’ve still heard nothing and he seems to have lost interest. He’s been online every day, uploading pictures and making new friends and has seen my message, and is online all the time simply not responding. I know this is bad, but I went on tinder for the first time in weeks, and I saw that he had been online abroad, just hours before, but still hadn’t responded to me. Which hurt me because it felt like he was going LOOKING for a girl, as opposed to it just being an opportunity thing.

    I feel like I don’t know what to do, it feels like I’m sitting around with this dreadful feeling in my stomach, that he’s going to come back and either ignore me or tell me his feelings have changed. Is his silence an indication of that? I just want to know where I stand…I’m going to have to see him at some point because I have his favorite jumper and I’ve left some things at his. But I don’t know what to do, I feel so anxious about it, if he isn’t interested, why did he say he was? I have this horrible idea of him with other girls ( I know I’m not his girlfriend and it’s not my right, but it just really upsets me). He was even chatting about going out to another city when he got back for dinner (albeit this was before the last chat) I don’t know if I’ve ruined everything? Or if he’s gone away and realized he doesn’t like me? Please help 🙁 he’s away for another week and a half and I don’t know how to forget about it. This is the first time in over 2 years that I’ve actually liked someone, and I think I’ve scared him away. I never really open up like this. I just want to know what’s really going on.

    Please help 🙁

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