Your Call: How Can I Tell If My Friend with Benefits Is Falling for Me?

We get a lot of advice questions coming in at EMandLO.com, but sadly, we just can’t answer them all. Which is why, once a week, we turn to you to decide how best to advise a reader. Make your call by leaving your advice in the comments section below:

Dear Em & Lo,

I’m 24 (as is the guy I’m writing about), and just a year out of university. I met a guy while out dancing almost two months ago, and instantly hit it off. We danced all night (although it was cute “swinging and twirling” each other, rather than grinding), had a few drinks and exchanged numbers. After a week or so, he admitted that he liked me a lot, but since it’d only been a few months since his last relationship ended, he wanted to take things slow (usually means the relationship is doomed, right?). I took that as an “I’m not interested,” and kept any convo we had casual.

After weeks of texting, we finally decided to meet up. We ended up sleeping together because honestly, the chemistry is FAN-FREAKIN-TASTIC. It’s been almost two months, and we see eachother 3-4 times a week. While we have sex everytime, we do also watch movies and TV, cuddle a lot, and talk about each other’s families and life plans. He’s met my brother, although it was really by accident if I’m being totally honest, and I’ve met his brother and friends, but it was on a drunken night out — can I really put stock in that?

He’s far more affectionate, and says he thinks I’m perfect, and that our “sexual appetites” match each other. He uses the “L” word a lot to describe things about me, which is pretty new…and I find he’s started to become self-conscious around me, and touches, speaks and holds me more intimately. While everything is very FWB-ish, I’m wondering if the positive changes in his behaviour indicate that he’s started developing feelings for me, or if this is just a result of us getting to know each other and becoming more comfortable because of it.

Of course, I know the only real way to find out is to ask him…but I feel in doing so, I will reveal that I have developed feelings for him too. I’m told in relationships I behave like a guy, and to an extent it’s true; at this point, I could go either way with this guy: if he wants a relationship, then hallelujah! If not, I can literally switch those feelings off and keep on bangin’ him and be a merry booty caller.

Either way, I do know that I need to understand our direction or I may drive myself insane with over-thinking. How can I know if he wants more than just sex? I know he could come out and say it, but since I’m a very sexually-charged flirt, he may well be worrying if that’s all I want. What are “signs” I could look for? Or what may be an objective, ambiguous way to talk about it/finding out without ruining what we’re doing right now if he doesn’t want more?

— Dazed and Confused

What should D&C do?


  1. Well my story is a bit complicated. We are both in relationships and he tells me that he likes me and has proposed for us to have fun. We are both in our mid 40’s and to me that would be cheating. I have expressed on how I feel about this, but he insist in living to the max. Which I have never experienced anything like this. He wants me to have fun and just enjoy!!! What are your thoughts???

  2. Hi, i would like to have an advice, i am single mother and i met someone on dating website, when i met that person he said to me that he doesn’t have a gf but after while we were emailing each other every day until after 6 months i met him face to face and so we liked each other, but then he started telling me that he has a gf and that he loves her so i asked him to stay away and to stop texting me, but he insisted that he liked me and he continued to texting me and asking me to be only friend with him.. so he used to text me and talk to me more than he does with his gf and so we started meeting each other and ending up with friends with benefits but i did fall in love with him, and he knew that, and i asked him many times to let me go because it is hurting me the way i felt for him and he has gf. He is so romantic with me, he cares about me, last time i texted him to stop texting me but as usually he didn’t stop texting me while i was ignoring his text messages then he texted me that he loved me and he can’t let me go. So we started to see each other and hang out together but places that his gf won’t know about and everytime i ask him to do something to proove me that he loves he will do it except that he won’t leave his gf. So our relation been more than one year and half, and recently he find out that his gf is pregnant, i am lost, hurt, and i stopped talking to him but he keeps texting me that he loves me and he wants to keep his relation with me but he won’t let his gf go… what do you think? Is he lying on me because he is using me??

    1. In a word, yes. You already know he’s a liar, because he’s cheating on his girlfriend (and you’re aiding and abetting his cheating). We wouldn’t be surprised if he’s already married to this woman. The fact that he wants to have non-monogamous relationships is not the problem; the fact that he’s lying to his “GF” and stringing you along (despite your protestations) to make these non-monogamous relationships happen is the problem. It sounds to us like you’d prefer an exclusive relationship with him. And it’s clear that’s never going to happen with this guy. He keeps telling you what you want to hear — that he loves you — just so he can keep having an exciting, sexual affair with you. Even if you’re okay with an uncommitted, non-monogamous relationship, you’re still participating in a dishonest one because his girlfriend is in the dark. End it. For good this time. Block his number if you don’t have the self-control to resist his sweet, seductive texts. You’re not Romeo and Juliet, kept apart by a tragic family feud — he’s just a cheater who’s kept you two apart because he’s not interested in a committed relationship with you. And now, with a baby on the way, his primary focus should be on this new family — don’t be his distraction. Find someone who’s willing to put you first.

  3. This is EXACTLY my story EXCEPT that he’s 15 years my junior (45-30). We have become the best of friends after having known each other just over a year now. We communicated via text and email for a few weeks before we went on our first date. The second date was when we ‘hooked-up’ and we’ve been friends ever since. We took a 6-month hiatus from our FWB relationship and had a solely platonic friendship. Other than the sex, nothing between us ever changed. We hang-out all the time and have had sex only a dozen times in the last year. We do lots of stuff together, plan dinners and evenings, hang out and generally love each other’s company. We text and/or call each other every single day. I absolutely love our friendship and care deeply for him as he does for me, however, just like ‘Dazed and Confused’, I’d love it to be more but am also perfectly happy leaving well enough alone. I’d never want to lose him, sex or no sex. He means the world to me!


  4. I’m the veteran of this type of ‘grey’ relationship. The only way to know for sure is to nicely request that you guys end the benefits package and try focus on being just friends. Say its for your own personal reasons that you find hard to talk about right now, and a good guy will respect that. Make it clear that you care about him and the friendship and want to continue being friends, though with focus on the platonic.

    Its very rare (though not impossible) for a guy to wanna date a girl seriously when they already have all the freebies without the strings. And if the guy has a manipulative side, he could be knowingly trying to encourage hope in you without being guilty of openl wrong-doing or ‘leading on’.
    OR, the guy could also just happen to be an extremely soft-hearted guy who treats anyone he cares about with compassion and intimacy. The lines are the easiest to be blurred with such fwbs even though they are (in my opinion) the best types (true friend, real respect, no feeling of being used, AND partner in crime, even if ur not each others fairytale).

    The only way to get to the next level is to take half a step down to platonic friends. After a month or so, they will either ask you out to be in a committed relationship or just continue being friends with you. (Some might chuck a sad/ get scary/ emotional. Some might calmly try manipulate you to get back in your pants without the commitment again. Depends on the personality of the guy.)
    Either way, you get your answer by stepping down and staying true to being just friends for the next few months.
    Worked for me.
    I’ve had a few bad reactions from guys who were unfortunately..problematic.. One guy resorted to violence due to emotional instability and another tried to manipulate his way back to fwb via guilt tripping and other strategies. Which just goes to show their true colors are revealed from their responses to your request.
    Another guy, we remained friends though we did drift apart in time. And the last one asked me out properly after a month and a half. He said that it took the feeling of loss to realise he wants me to be completely his.
    Hope you found some of that useful and hope you find all the happiness in the world 🙂

  5. ^ Don’t bring it up! Things are going well. Just interpret his affectionate gestures as being a good thing (if you want more from him, that is), and roll with it.

  6. I’m in a very similar situation,
    I met this guy at a coffee shop and we instantly hit it off, we texted each other for two months, when he asked me out once and I said yes but we never went forth with it – we finally met at his place and ended up having sex within an hour, we hang out a couple times a week and he’s recently started cuddling and once we even fell asleep in each others arms since we both had long tiring days. It’s confusing, because he’s a great guy and I care about him but I don’t want to mess with what we have by bringing it up.

    What I would say is bring it up indirectly, or tell him you had a date and it went great and see how he reacts, that might tell you all you need to know.
    Good Luck!

  7. My fwb is a very sweet,kind man.when we meet we have the best time ever. Before making out he takes me out to dinner or we go dancing together. And buys a bottle of wine and ice to the hotel room. We always make out in hotels becouse we keep it secret. When we make out its the best I ever have.then we talk and cuddle all night. In the morning we make out again then go to breakfast and he never let’s me pay for anything when he drops me iff he’l give me some money to go do my hair or nail and he likes to take care of my needs. Then we part. And he will again the next time he want fun . We see each other once a week . He does not like to keep in tough but then I dnt call him too .but what confuses me is the special treatment I get when we meat. He is a virgo I’m am a capricorn I heard virgos love to serve others maybe that’s why.

  8. He came off like a good christian man, caring for his parents,helping his adult children out financially. I dated the image we got engaged, he proposed to me infront of the GranFonda Bike Ride. The mayor was there. Beautiful event!
    We were planning our wedding…we both got scared…we couldn’t work thu the fear.. eventually he told me he could not afford $500. for rent..and bills.
    I found out he lived off his parents, he made $2000.00 mo. had bad credit. still paying the IRS and the DA. We had put a ring on layaway,(well put my diamond, on a different band) I paid all but 500 on it. he said he would take care of it…he drags his feet ruins my credit, or trys too, he kept my fathers ring and my portrait. He called me last night wanting to know if I wanted to be friends and if he could come over and read me a book.
    I told him I have a boyfriend. He makes me sick… All the lies, he’s a thief.

  9. I just wanted to let everyone know…this was my story. Turned out he was just having a good time. He acknowledged he did and said boyfriend things without actually wanting to be my boyfriend. Can’t believe it took me 6 months to find out I was being used.

    1. A lot of them are that way. I’m learning now in my early 30’s to try and just go with the flow… And try not to believe too much of what they say when it seems like their emotions start getting involved. :/

  10. You sound exactly like me about 10 months ago. Your situation is kind of how my current relationship started…we spent four or five months in this confusing, undefined mess where I wasn’t sure how he felt and I didn’t want to scare him away by asking because I knew I didn’t NEED a relationship, I just would have liked one. So we didn’t realize we both wanted one until one night we got into a huge argument about me going on a date with someone else.

    Obviously there’s no guarantee that you’ll end up in a relationship like I did, but your guy obviously cares about you. What you described is not how you treat just any girl you’re fucking, so he might not be saying anything because he thinks his actions make his feelings obvious. Like everyone else here, I think you should talk to him about it. Ask what you are and what he wants to be! He’s the only person who will have the right answer.

  11. I think you need to get over the labels. You clearly are already in a relationship, and as for the nature of that relationship, well, every one is different, so there’s really no point trying to categorize it as one thing or another. If YOU are concerned about the future, or if YOU want him to commit to something (monogamy, for example), then you need to ask for that. If HE wants a commitment, then it is his responsibility to ask for it. Other than that, just enjoy whatever the hell it is that you have together.

  12. You’re asking the wrong people. Instead of posing the question to strangers, you should be talking to him.

  13. What is it with kids these days and stretching the definition of FWB beyond recognition? But seriously, you guys are dating. FWBs do not see each other 2-3 times a week, and do not cuddle beyond the point of being polite.

  14. I can only say, pretty much nothing in what you describe sounds like FWB to me. By most people’s definition, you already ARE a couple. Maybe the guy doesn’t even think of you as a FWB anymore, if he ever did. I mean, if all you have is that he wants to take things slow … people say that for all sorts of reason all the time.

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