If you looked up “hopeless romantic” in the dictionary, Real Live College Guy Pat would be standing there smiling and waving back to you. As a college guy himself, Pat has witty opinions on all the stupid situations guys seem to end up in. From relationships, to friends with benefits, to altogether lacks thereof, Real Live College Guy Pat has all your answers and more!
What does it mean when a friend with benefits says he “needs a break from all this,” “can’t do this right now,” and “needs time by himself”? I had sex with a guy after a party one night, and after a confusing, roller coaster-esque month, we decided to be “sex buddies.” At one point we had been done talking because he got back together with another girl. Then, less than a week later, he texted me and things got extremely sexual very quickly. After two days of that we had sex again and made our “sex buddies” deal. However, the next morning he said he “can’t do this right now,” but doesn’t want to talk about it, claiming he “needs time by himself.” I don’t know what I should be expecting, if anything, from him in the future. I’m very confused by the way he changes his mind so rapidly. Any insight you could give me into the male mind here would be extremely helpful. – Confounded at Carlton
When a guy says he “needs a break from all this,” “can’t do this right now,” or “needs time by himself,” it means one of two things. He’s either being completely honest and means exactly what he says or, not to be clichéd, but he’s just not that into you. Either way, it’s not good news for you right now if you’re looking to keep things the way they’ve been.
We’ll start with the possibility that “he’s just not that into you” because it’s a simpler explanation. If you haven’t noticed, guys are terrible at talking about anything other than sports. When it comes to feelings, it doesn’t matter if we’re with our bros, girlfriends or family, we’re just typically not great at sharing. If he’s saying he “can’t do this right now,” that could very possibly mean “ever.” We don’t want to be seen as too much of a jerk and don’t want to make you cry either. Sometimes it’s because we actually have a little bit of a conscience but, for the rest of us, we just simply don’t want to deal with you crying over what we don’t think is a big deal. Therefore, we end things in a vague manner that makes you think it isn’t actually over and the door is still open. When we do it this way, you have nothing to be upset and cry about. Then, down the line when the relationship has completely deteriorated and we’ve stopped talking, you realize it’s done, you hate us, and you cry about it. However, we’re no longer talking, so your friends deal with it, not us. This guy’s “I can’t do this right now” line is a classic example.
If he’s actually being honest though, there’s something deeper going on in his head. He probably wants to sleep with you, to a degree, but for this guy you’re really nothing more than a rebound. Seriously, if a guy stops having sex with one girl (in this case, you) to be in a relationship with another girl (in this case, the ex he got back together with), he really likes her (the ex). You helped pass the time and keep her off his mind. He might have even enjoyed it for a little while. It’s not anything you did or didn’t do, he’s just not over her and you were there to help him through that. The fact that he is changing his mind so rapidly merely proves how confused and unstable his feelings are right now. He’s trying to get over his ex one night by sleeping with you, and the next morning he’s upset with himself and feels bad about it.
This quote sums up what your “sex buddy” is most likely feeling. I’d be willing to bet the morning he had that talk with you wasn’t the first time he has felt that way, he just finally got up the nerve to end it. As a guy, when you know you have a good thing (even if that “good thing” is just a “sex buddy”), it takes a lot to end it and risk your chips on someone else. But as a guy, it’s simply what we do. We’re too confused ourselves to figure things out (partially because of our inability to talk) on our own, and instead of talking it out logically and having a plan of action like you girls typically do, we make irrational decisions, often rapidly changing our minds on a daily basis.
Don’t be offended by what he’s said and done, but don’t be surprised if he comes back to you again either. If he does come back asking for more, it’s your call, but it’s probably better for both of your sanities if you take the high road and move on.