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‘Friends with benefits’ relationship is neither – Chicago Tribune



Dear Amy: I’m a 48-year-old woman. I’ve been told I look about 35 to 37.

I take very good care of myself and dress in a youthful style.

A while back, I met a man on a dating website who is 37.


We both weren’t looking for anything serious. We live near one another.

We had a nice dinner, got along great and he gave me a long hug when we parted.

However, once I revealed my age, he told me he is not into dating older women. Since then, we hang out twice a week, cuddling on the couch, making out and even ended up having sex.

He also says my name when we’re sexual, implying our connection, which I believe is a strong one.


He is very physically affectionate when we’re together. He texts me every morning when he wakes up and texts me throughout the day.

We both go on dates with other people, but we both feel like it never goes anywhere because we don’t click with others.

The problem is, he treats me like a girlfriend – but I’m not. Am I just being used?

Is he just getting everything without the commitment?


I’m not mad at him because we both agreed to be “friends with benefits,” but I thought it would be with less emotion or physical interaction on his part.

He went through a bad divorce a year ago and is scared to make the same mistake.

I believe that deep down he wants to be with me, but is scared to admit it to me or to himself.

What do you think I should do?



Dear FWB: You wonder if this man is using you, but … are you using him?

Based on your description, couldn’t one interpretation be that you are using him as a boy-toy, while you continue to seek other men?

Unless you two are brave enough to talk about things, you’ll be left to interpret his internal motivations.


Assigning deep motivations behind behavior is how people fool themselves and relieve their partners of any responsibility to communicate. Some examples: “Deep down he wants to be with me.” “He’s scared to love me because of his bad breakup.”

If you have a question about your relationship, ask him. If you have fallen for him, you should tell him.

If he says, “I don’t see older women,” then this will tell you either that he can’t count, that he is basically lying to himself (because he is seeing you, you are older, and you are a woman), or – most likely – that he is happy to sleep with you but will never take you home to meet the folks.

Ongoing relationships are the result of spark plus timing. If you have the spark but the timing is off (because of the age difference, or his recent breakup), then there is not much you can do about it.


If you are able to enjoy this “friends with benefits” relationship, exactly as it is, then – keep going. Otherwise, keep moving.

Dear Amy: Because I contribute to several charities, I receive tons (and I mean tons) of blank note cards, birthday cards, etc.

These cards are quite beautiful and I’d hate to just recycle them.

Can you think of any organization that would want these cards? I am at my wits’ end. (I spent hours yesterday and today sorting them into categories, matching envelopes, etc.)


– Carded Out

Dear Carded: Start with your local library. If they sponsor a book sale (as mine does), they can accept these pristine cards and sell them to support literacy programs in your area. Also check with local assisted living and nursing homes.

Otherwise, St. Jude’s Ranch is a national charity that will accept your cards. Check and search for “recycled card program” to learn the parameters of their program and how to donate.

I think it is also important for you to contact the charities sending these to you and ask that they stop. This is expensive and wasteful.


Dear Amy: “Heartbroken Mom” wrote to you about her daughter and the daughter’s fiancé. Both of them sounded like dysfunctional “users” who expected financial support from her parents.

Heartbroken reported that her other children were pressuring her to financially support their sister, otherwise she would “lose her.”

Ask Amy



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Thank you for standing up against this kind of blackmail.

If the siblings feel so strongly, perhaps they should financially support their sister.

– Grateful


Dear Grateful: I wish I’d added that idea to my answer. Thank you.

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©2021 Amy Dickinson.


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