Real Live College Guy: Can We Go From FWB to Something More?

We all need a little guidance now and then, so whether you’re stressed about a fling gone wrong, a recently wrecked relationship or how to handle a stage-five clinger, Real Live College Guy Dale is here to help you navigate the college dating scene.

I’ve been hooking up casually with a really good guy friend for three years now. It’s kind of been talked about that at one point we had feelings for each other, but now we are both away at school in different cities. We still hook up when we see each other (sometimes drunk and sometimes sober). We have a lot in common and always have a blast together. We have been friends since high school and we are in the same friend group, so we never want to ruin our friendship by jumping into a relationship. We are both completely drama-free, but sometimes it feels like he is just using me to hook up. I have been reserved about my feelings because I don't want to ruin our friendship, and if he just wants to be friends, that would be okay with me. But he is the kind of guy that ultimately I would date. How can I tell if he is the right guy at the wrong time or just the wrong guy at the right time? –Friend or Foe at Fordham


Fordham,

It sounds like you’re both just using each other to hook up, at least for right now. As a guy, it seems unfair to me that you would willingly be in a casual sex “relationship” and then say it feels like he’s using you. Let’s not kid ourselves: You’re using him, too.

But now there are feelings involved. You think you can just be friends with him, but far too often I’ve seen “friendships” (casual hookups) fall apart when feelings aren’t reciprocated. If he doesn’t want to date you, things are going to get awkward. He may not want to have sex with you anymore, you may not want to have sex with him and now you guys can’t hang out anymore because – ugh – where’s the fun in that?

If he’s the guy you ultimately see yourself dating, you need to ‘fess up. You two apparently have a great physical connection already, and you have the benefit of already being friends. This all comes down to communication. How do you find out if he just wants to be friends? How can you tell if he likes you? You ask him.

Don’t play cat and mouse, and do your best to not be nervous. The next time you two are about to hook up, put the brakes on and have that talk. To your surprise, he may have actually been waiting to see how you felt about getting into a relationship because he wants the same thing. I could understand his reluctance to ask, though, given the distance. Distance isn’t an easy thing to cope with, regardless of the level of your relationship (friendship, hook-up, significant other, etc.).

On the flipside, there’s the chance that he might not want a relationship with you. If that’s the case, you have to decide if you’re willing to continue hooking up with him. Is the physical benefit worth the emotional distress? These are things you need to consider. I don’t feel as though this is the bridge you’ll have to cross, but I want you to be prepared either way.

Right guy, wrong time? Wrong guy, right time? Why does it have to be one or the other? Maybe he’s the right guy at the right time and one of you just needs to grab the reins and take charge. 

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