Let’s begin by saying that I’M SPRUNG. The truth is, I have been “friends with benefits” with this man for about four years. I am now nineteen and he is twenty-two, going on twenty-three. Over the past four years, I really meant it when I said “friends with benefits.” Occasionally, he would come over, talk, fuck, talk some more, fuck some more, and then leave. He would text me during the times when we did not see each other. But, as you would guess, I fell in love with this guy. Although we never had a real relationship or anything, he was the one person that I always felt comfortable around. I could talk to him about anything. I always noticed that he was on his “grown man;” always working, getting offered higher positions, and going to school to be an accountant. He also takes care of his little girl—by another woman.
He has the looks of a man that I want, shit, that I NEED, in my life. Standing six-two, dark-skinned, built, tats on both arms, and he always has the fresh cut and the cutest butt I have ever seen. He became the love of my life. Lately, over the past year or so, I placed all of my cards on the table and told him how I really felt. I wanted to talk about becoming girlfriend and boyfriend. For the first week or so, everything would work out. Eventually, we would always fall out and go back to simply being cool. I realized the cause of most of the falling outs, but, sometimes, I felt like he was pushing me away. When we are getting along, he tells me how much I have matured and how much he likes me and wants to see me, etc. Weeks later, I am still acting immature and looked upon as being a playa. At one point of continuing back and forth, I had had enough at least three times. I completely blocked him out of my head; at least, I tried to.
During the Super Bowl, he sent me a text and I gave him the cold shoulder. He claimed that he needed to talk to me face-to-face. That day did not come soon enough since I was now in college. He was in another city, working, taking classes, and being a father. On February 13th, he sent me a text and wanted to see me. He knew I was back home but something told me avoid him so I did. Ten minutes later, I received a longer text from him stating that he loves me the way that I am, that he does not want me to change, and, at the end he said, word for word, “I guess I’m just trying to say I love you.”
That made me the happiest girl ever. I felt like he realized that I loved him and he loved me. The question still remains: Why can’t we be together? Now, until this very day, we are only friends. I have finally stopped trying to make something work with him, if he is not willing to try and be with me. We became better friends my last month in college, texting every day nonstop, talking all day long, and chilling together when I got back home, etc. Although I still wanted to be with him, I noticed that our relationship was working out better this way. Since I have been back home, we hardly text. Seeing each other has not even come up; at least, not on his behalf.
When I told him that he had changed, he said that he did not want to crowd me. Yet, I still do not know what he meant by that. Zane, I am writing to ask you for hellified advice. I read your book, Dear G Spot, and your responses to relationship confusion and communication problems. Zane, I am confused. There has not been a night where I have not fallen asleep, dreaming about all of the things that I wanted to do to him. Shit, there has not been a morning, afternoon, or evening when I have not dreamt and fantasized about him.
Although I want him to be MY MAN and no one else’s, I do not think he wants that. I believe that he is happy where he is; wherever that may be. Sometimes, I still think he is with his baby’s momma but who knows. If you were in my position, Zane, what would you do? It seems like I cannot have a good relationship without wanting to still be with him, or being willing to cheat on my boyfriend because I would rather have him near me—even inside of me. Tell me straight up. Should I give up or try at least one more time?
Young and Sprung
Dear Young and Sprung,
You ask me what would I do, and I am going to tell you, but I understand why it may not make sense to you. I remember when I was your age; when I still believed that with enough time and effort, with enough compassion and by exhibiting enough support, that any relationship could work out and any man would eventually appreciate me. Now I am much older and I realize that is not the case. You love him and part of him probably loves you; I do not doubt his sincerity in his text message. But something is holding him back. He knows that you are there and readily available to be in a committed relationship with him. You have asked for that very thing, over and over to no avail. Trying one more time will probably only leave you feeling dejected and upset.
Thinking about him constantly is not something that you can turn off like a faucet. Some people still fantasize about others years after the fact. What you do have to do is give yourself a reality check. For whatever the reason, whether he is overwhelmed with “grown man” business, overwhelmed with fatherhood, overwhelmed with bills, still engaged in intimacy with the mother of his child, or someone else, he has opted not to be with you. You implied that you have asked to get together since you came home from college, presumably about a month ago. He has not shown interest in that. You cannot make someone be with you. Even if you went to him, fell down on your hands and knees and begged him, even if he felt sorry enough for you to give it a shot, it would not be of his own doing, and it would not last.
Trust me, there are other fine men. There are other men who you would want to be your man. This young man is not for you. It is extremely difficult to change the dynamics of a relationship, especially after four years of being friends with benefits. Just because you want to take it to the next level, he is not required to do that, and he does not owe it to you to do that. There has been a lot of going back and forth. You have hooked up for sex, hooked up for love, and not hooked up at all. Things are not panning out. You have to clean out your closet. You have to open yourself to the possibilities of other men—good men. But you cannot expect another man to put himself on the line when you are still caught up. Cut off communication with him for awhile. It does not need to be permanent but you are being delusional and as long as you feel a connection to him, you are going to hold out false hope. You are in college in another city. By the time you go back to school this Fall, become a new person. Be ready to socialize, to meet intelligent young brothers who have things in common with you, and to be open to loving someone else.