Our contributor Ryan, who blogs at Student Loans for Beer Money, has a confession to make:
I learned a lot of tough lessons my first year of college. For instance, cucumbers aren’t the only things that can be pickled (thanks to maniacal levels of on-campus alcohol consumption). And, more importantly, having a friend with benefits isn’t always like having your cake and eating it too.
Coming from an all-boys high school, my interaction with girls was limited to three serious yet brief romantic relationships before college. So dealing with girls on a casual level — or even simply on a level that included them as peers — was a foreign concept to me. This made me wholly unprepared and unqualified for my first “fuck buddy” relationship.
I bumped into her at a party — literally and, ultimately, figuratively. Looking back on it we had almost nothing in common besides a love of being “mad wasted, yo.” In spite of that fact (or probably because of it), we had sex that night. If we’d had any sense, that would have been the end of it; we would have just gone about our daily academic lives, awkwardly passing each other on campus, until we forgot to be embarrassed anymore, until we forgot we’d even had sex once. But we didn’t have sense, and we didn’t stop. Instead, it became a ritual. She was my midnight phone call and 2 o’clock goodnight; I was the boy she didn’t tell her roommates about…
Over the 3 or 4 months this little naked dance took place, I continually looked for some kind of connection between us, for something I was attracted to besides her body. While the casual sex relationship is almost always considered a construct of selfish, insensitive men (and admittedly, I was one of them at the time), that’s not to say I didn’t hope every time we hooked up that she would offer me some small opportunity to help transition us out of our hormonal quagmire.
Eventually, it all came to a head: I couldn’t get mine up. And she finally broke her silence. I’ll never forget it: she looked at me and said, “If you’re just gonna have sex with me you could at least actually have sex with me.” That led to an incredibly uncomfortable two-hour conversation about the months that we had fucked away with each other. It was only then that I realized she too had hoped that each time we got together I’d find a reason to stay. We both secretly wanted something more from one another even though, deep down, we knew we had nothing else to give.
In the months that followed that conversation there were the occasional late night phone calls on both sides, but they never led to a hook up again. But not because we weren’t tempted: it was like cigarettes — we wanted to quit, we knew that was the best thing for us, but the habit was so easy and comforting that it made quitting really tough. And as anyone who’s tried to kick a smoking habit knows, when you’re drunk it’s even tougher.
A year and a half later, we still blush a little when we pass each other on campus. But I haven’t forgotten what happened between us — because I want to remember how important it is to ask early on where a relationship is going. Even if…especially if I suspect the answer is “nowhere.”