If you know that the person you’ve been dating for a year doesn’t want a serious relationship with you, but you still like her or him, does it make sense to keep her or him as a friend? — JP
Breaking up is hard to do, especially after a whole year. But if you would prefer that your relationship with that particular person be serious–get the hell out of Dodge. It’s better to break it off right away, feel the sting of separation and recover your perspective–so you can find a new relationship with someone who can relate to you seriously. You aren’t going to change your friend’s feelings and you may only delude yourself into thinking you can, postponing or prolonging the eventual disappoint.
Some people, especially men, I think, will propose, ‘Can’t we can still be friends?’ as a way to soften the blow of an ended. It’s just the polite thing to say. Usually, after a couple agrees to split up yet remain friends, in time, priorities shift and they choose not to spend as much time with each other, they aren’t as open as before and the calls stop coming.
If, on the other hand, the lack of romantic interest is pretty mutual—if neither of you want to have a serious relationship with each other and won’t be subject to fits of jealousy or unrequited longing, you need not cut off a working friendship just because you aren’t ever going to exchange wedding vows with each other. If neither of you want more from each other than each is willing to offer, if you both agree that the match isn’t serious, you need not lose all the stability and familiarity you’ve developed together.
A key consideration is what you mean by “keep her or him as a friend.” Usually, that means eliminating the romantic or sexual component of a relationship, if it ever existed. A relationship can shift from sexual to platonic only if there is no longer a sexual attraction between you, mutual or one-sided. And an absence of mutual attraction would validate the choice to not get serious about the relationship.
A less-common option is to remain a sexual friend. You may find a sexually compatibility with someone, but not have enough going on in the other departments that you can share. Some people maintain “Friends With Benefits” as a fall back and insurance against lonely nights. But to have a sexual relationship that doesn’t restrict either party from seeking new partners, an open, polyamorous relationship, is not for the faint of heart. In order to succeed and still be real friends, you each must truly be able to see the other one get into a new relationship, you must watch your ex fall in love and you must not be jealous. If you could truly dance for joy at the marriage of your friend (to someone else), by all means maintain that friendship. But, as a real friend, you will respect the need for space and no contact, for at least half a year, if It is requested.
Be careful that you don’t use your loyalty to your friend as an excuse for not getting out, meeting new people and starting to foster fresh relationships. After a year spent dating someone, the relationship has made you a bigger person. You no longer need to feed on that former relationship to support or validate who you are. You bring yourself and all that that you’ve learned to this point to the nourish the relationships that will manifest through the years that remain stretched ahead of you.
Enjoy the Intimacies.
Hello. I hope you show your love boldly. Please accept as my gift to you a copy of my FREE ebook.
To request a copy please use the special-offer form on http://intimacies.weebly.com. All I ask is that you simply answer the one question on that form and let me send you—not a dozen roses, but “A Dozen Choice Intimacies,” a 38-page eBook, a special collection of twelve essays I’ve written on Intimacies. You’re welcome to share them with anyone you like—or anyone you love.
1. Ditch Mr. Lonely, you deserve a love that’s better
2. Meeting eye to eye may seen as invitation to romance
3. Massage can enhance love if you let your heart be touched
4. Why do people want to have sex? For reasons varied and complex
5. How to learn to be a lover? Experiment and communicate
6. Friends with benefits—just the perks without the ties
7. It’s a shame, shame, shame how we feel shame about sex
8. Why eat an apple a day, when sex may keep the doctor away?
9. Overcome complacency, revolutionize your sexual outlook
10. Whose duty is it to do what when sexual desire dims?
11. The mysteries of age meet the mysteries of sexuality’
12. Singles or doubles, it’s good just to be in the game
The first one, “Ditch Mr. Lonely, you deserve a love that’s better,” has never before been published. It was written for the February 2009 issue of the The Good Life magazine, which never made it to press.
To receive this free farewell gift, please tell me: What is your Number One question about relationships?
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What motivates us to mate?
by Karen Kreps
I didn’t really feel like having sex the other day, but I did anyway. My motivation wasn’t very clear. I had some free time. There was an opportunity to join my husband while he was taking a siesta. I assumed correctly that he’d welcome my initiative, and I said to myself, “Why not?” I thought it would relax me and help me get out of my head. It did.
The reasons we choose to have sex vary from person to person and from time to time. People do it for serious life-affirming reasons, for frivolous debauchery and everything in between.
“Historically, the reasons people have sex have been assumed to be few in number and simple in nature—to reproduce, to experience pleasure or to relieve sexual tension.” So wrote a couple of professors from the University of Texas at Austin. Cindy Meston and David Buss, both PhDs in the Department of Psychology, have published a thorough taxonomy of sexual motivation in the Archives of Sexual Behavior after conducting a scientific study of why people have sex—an extremely important, but surprisingly little-studied topic.
Research in the nineteen-seventies, -eighties and -nineties showed that people had sex for reasons that were varied and psychologically complex. These included a desire for pure pleasure, to express emotional closeness, to please a partner and to make a conquest. Yet most of the reasons documented in those decades, implicitly assumed the context of an ongoing romantic relationship or long-term mate. Humans, however, have a menu of mating strategies, including long-term, short-term and extra curricular mating. There might be reasons for having sex with a casual sex partner such as the desire to experience sexual variety or seeking to improve one’s sexual skills. Sex could be exchanged for favors, special privileges and a preferred job or indeed for any resource.
Sex might be used to reward a partner or as a favor in exchange for something the partner has done. Or sex might be used to retaliate against a partner for some perceived wrongdoing. Also, sex might be used to intensify the relationship, escalate the level of commitment within the relationship or turn a relationship from short- to long-term. Women, in particular, were thought to engage in sexual intercourse for emotional closeness, bonding, commitment, love, affection, acceptance, tolerance and closeness.
In their recent study, Meston and Buss surveyed more than four hundred men and women, ranging in age from seventeen to fifty-two, who responded to the query: ‘‘Please list all the reasons you can think of why you, or someone you have known, has engaged in sexual intercourse in the past.’’ The more than seven hundred answers collected resulted in two hundred thirty-seven distinct reasons.
Once they came up with that long list, Meston and Buss asked more than fifteen hundred college students, in exchange for psychology class credits, to rank the reasons in terms of how they applied to their experiences. Keep in mind that these results reveal the behavior of those who are of an age when, Meston conceded, “Hormones run rampant.” She predicted significant differences when older people are studied.
The research found similar reasons for why these young adults got intimate, and the Number One reason was simply: “I was attracted to the person.” While the primary reason involved lust, rather than amour, expressing love and showing affection still were in the top ten for both men and women.
Gender differences were negligible. Twenty of the top twenty-five reasons given were the same for males and females. “Men were more likely to be opportunistic towards having sex,” Meston said. “So, if sex was…available, they would jump on it—somewhat more so than women. Women were more likely to have sex because they felt they needed to please their partner.” Men, the study revealed, were more apt than women to have sex to get things like a promotion, a raise or a favor. Guys were much more likely than gals to say they’d had sex to “boost my social status” or because the partner was famous or “out of my league.”
The study Meston and Buss completed inspired New York Times science writer John Tierney to provide an on-line forum where the public could add their ideas to the list of reasons to have sex. In just a few days, he got hundreds of responses, which lead the UT researchers to put an additional forty reasons on their list.
Reading the many tawdry reasons why others have sex, I felt more inclined to forgive my own past foibles.
The reasons I found scariest involved revenge: “I wanted to give someone else a sexually transmitted disease (e.g., herpes, AIDS),” “I wanted to get rid of aggression” and ‘‘I thought it would help ‘trap’ a new partner.”
The most inspiring reasons involved celebration: “Because life is short (and a hundred years from now we will all be dust),” “To recover or reaffirm life after the loss of (a) loved one” and “I wanted to become one with another person.”
While we may wish to keep to ourselves the rationalizations for our behavior, the act of reasoning itself has value. By delving into our own feelings, getting honest with ourselves about why we get it on, we’ll gain greater personal understanding of and appreciation for our own sexual natures.