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Auntie SparkNotes: When FWB Goes FUBAR

Auntie SparkNotes: When FWB Goes FUBAR

Dear Auntie,
I'm in this really weird place with a girl that I know. We started out being friends, because she had a boyfriend, but over a period of time we got closer and we ended up having an affair that lasted for a few months. We'd see each other all the time when her boyfriend wasn't home (they lived together) and it was great.

But then she ended up leaving her boyfriend, and since then things have gone downhill a bit. A few weeks after she'd left her boyfriend she said that she wanted to end things with me, although I was still her best friend and she didn't want that to change. So we kept in touch, but the physical part our relationship was over, and she even told me that she'd never really fallen for me.

Our friendship was still very strong and we talked on the phone or texted almost every day, until a party recently where we had a little too much to drink and ended up spending the night together. After that we decided to be FWB again, but she got a bit jealous when she learned that I'd been with someone else, even though she had slept with someone else too. It took her forever to tell me because she was afraid of my reaction, and she also assured me that she had no feelings for him whatsoever.

I'm a bit confused because when we decided to be FWB again we never said that we were exclusive, we actually confirmed that we were not. However I've really fallen for her and told her so. I even offered to go out and be exclusive, but she refused. So why does she feel ashamed that she slept with another guy if she doesn't want to be just with me? And why does she feel the need to tell me that she has no feelings for him? Could she still have feelings for me?

And ugh, I'm sorry, I wish there were a not-so-blunt way to say that. But the fact is, by your own account, your ladyfriend does not currently have any feelings for you. And not only that, but she... um, maybe kinda never did.

Ugh, again, I'm sorry.

But if you look at your letter, you'll see what I mean. Because hey, you've been many things to this girl: from a guy on the side, to a drunken hookup, to a friend with benefits. But the common thread that runs through all those relationships isn't Love, it's Sex. And when you add to that her disinterest in being exclusive plus her explicit admission that she never really fell for you, it's pretty clear that her feelings for you—whatever they are—stop well short of romantic commitment.


Of course, all this would be much clearer and less confusing if the lady in question would stop muddying things up with the appearance of deeper interest, from her jealousy over your other exploits to her self-professed lack of feelings for the other guy. And of course, you're welcome to point out that her mixed-signal-sending isn't doing either of you any favors—that is, if you haven't already decided to stop speaking to her entirely. (I wouldn't blame you!) But if all you really want to know is why she's acting this way, here's a theory: it probably has something to do with the fact that she's a motherfranking MESS.

Which she is, as would most people be, after going through the drawn-out angst of ending an relationship, the guilt of having an affair, the stress of moving out, and the general terror of being totally alone for the first time in a long time. And where a more responsible person would have looked around, said, "Hey, I'm a mess!", and gotten down to the tough-but-necessary task of working shizz out on her own, your emotionally immature ladyfriend looked around, noted the presence of a convenient crutch, and proceeded to use the hell out of it.

And by "it," of course, I mean "you."

So, what happens next? For starters, take the woman at her word: mixed signals or not, your conundrum begins and ends at her outright declaration that she doesn't want to be with you. She'll never give you the commitment you're looking for. And then, do the smart thing and distance yourself—because the point at which one friend-with-benefits starts feeling more-than-friendly is the point at which FWB becomes FUBAR.

And when FWB goes FUBAR, it's time to take your dignity and GTFO.

So please, start spending time with other people, do the things that make you happy, and vow to yourself that, when it comes to this girl, your days of commitment-free boot-knocking are done. And if you start to weaken in her direction, please remind yourself settling for emotionless sex with someone you have serious feelings for will always and forever make you feel like garbage. The end.

P.S. Good riddance, because a lady who suggests a friends-with-benefits scenario to someone she knows is in love with her is a manipulative asshat of the first degree.

Have you ever gotten mixed signals from a FWB? Tell us in the comments! And to get advice from Auntie, email her at

Related post: Auntie SparkNotes: From FWB to BFF

Topics: Advice
Tags: auntie sparknotes, relationships, cheating, fwb

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About the Author

Kat Rosenfield is a writer, illustrator, advice columnist, YA author, and enthusiastic licker of that plastic liner that comes inside a box of Cheez-Its. She loves zombies and cats. She hates zombie cats. Follow her on Twitter or Tumblr @katrosenfield.

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