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Her Story: The Illusion of Friends With Benefits


In our modern world where “love” comes easy and the only thing we have to do to forget loneliness is swipe left or right, friends with benefits is not an unfamiliar concept. We have seen Mila Kunis and Natalie Portman finding their happy endings this way in films, so why shouldn’t we hold on to it? The reason is simple: someone will end up heartbroken. At least it ended like that for me.  


My story started when I was around 17 and definitely not planning on having a personal story like this! The first time I realized that X and me had a lot in common was on a warm spring night. I had known him before but I had always thought that he was arrogant and nerdy. We were at the same party and ended up sitting outside in the dark for hours; I felt that I could talk to him forever. And I remember him mentioning that he had a girlfriend, but that didn’t bother me at all. I liked him as a friend.  


We eventually ended up talking every day and I enjoyed feeling that I could talk to him about anything. By the time that summer was approaching he had broken up with his girlfriend and I felt tension started to build up between us. In my view, things were going exactly like they were supposed to be. We were gently teasing each other, he would always try to find excuses to be near to me and he would hold my hand in secret when we were watching DVDs with friends. We both knew that this was more than just friendship and so, by the end of summer when I finally ended up driving to his place on my own, it was not a surprise that we got closer. I was kind of confused, but I was happy. I felt so comfortable around him. 




But he didn’t feel the same. I didn’t know what to feel when on the next day he told me that he regretted it and that this has just been an accident. We were both humans who enjoyed each other’s company, nothing else. I was so surprised that I found myself agreeing and telling myself that he was right and that I didn’t mind. I wish I hadn’t. Of course this was not a onetime thing and I was slipping into an emotional rollercoaster. We were still friends, going out together with mutual friends regularly and never showing any affection. But I would spend a night at his place every weekend. 


I was trapped. He became my best friend, he knew everything about my life, my family and friends. He was always very thoughtful and interested in everything that I was doing. He would send me supportive text messages during my A-levels, he would be the first one I called whenever I had a problem and he would take the time to help me with anything. He sneaked a Christmas gift into our letterbox, he gave me personalised CDs and whenever I was with him he told me that he wished I never had to leave. But it was an illusion. He kept on talking about his ex-girlfriend all the time, he just couldn’t get over her. He would remind me that we are only friends and that he does not have any feelings for me’; we were just friends who didn’t want to feel lonely.  

But this, whatever it was, made me feel lonelier than I ever felt before. I was shattered. I knew I had to end this, I knew that I had to save myself, but I couldn’t. I never wanted to admit this to myself but it is safe to say that I was in love with him. I wanted to be with him this way rather than not at all. Still it went on for too long and I cried through endless nights. I told him that it was all his fault and that I couldn’t do this anymore. But I ended up with him every time. It made me feel worthless. Towards the end of it we were fighting more and more and I was tired of feeling mad all the time. I couldn’t recognize who I was myself anymore. And I wish I could tell you that I stood up for myself and that I ended it, but I was caught in the vicious cycle until the day I stepped onto an airplane that took me to another continent, where I stayed for more than a year. It’s been five years now and I have never seen X again. He texted me when I got back to my home country but I knew that I was better off without him.  



So why do I share this story with you? Well, because I know that here are so many girls (or boys) out there who are trapped in a seemingly never-ending cycle like this. Trust me when I tell you that you do have the strength to get out of it and that you deserve so much more. You might think that your story is different, that he must secretly like you, that one day eventually you will get your happy ending but it is most likely not going to happen that way. You are worth so much more. In the end, I did not only lose a great friend but I also lost my self-respectYou are supposed to play the starring role. And being in a situation like that you will miss so many opportunities to find someone who really appreciates you for who you are. You are not meant to be used like a tissue. Find someone who wants to tell the whole world that he is in love with your beautiful soul! 




Marie is currently a junior at SUNY Oneonta studying Psychology and minoring in Spanish. In her free time you can find her laughing with her friends, hiking, or eating mac&cheese.
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