Mr. Casual & the Fallback Girl

Annie says “I have been sleeping with 'Guy' at university on and off for over 2 years now. We’re really good friends and in the same social group but our relationship is messy because it’s very casual and we’ve never been exclusive, so we have both slept with other people during that time too. But there have been many occasions when after nights out together, we end up in each other’s beds and then pretend like everything is fine the next day. Naturally, my feelings for him have grown stronger over time and I have come to love him. I now get really upset when I hear that he’s 'got with'/slept with another girl, even though that is “normal” for us in the past. I want to move from an open to an exclusive relationship. What should I do?”

ALLY

Annie, you should have ditched this arrangement a long time ago. Of course, it is natural that if you’re regularly sleeping with someone, over a long-ish period, you would hope that it will become a more meaningful relationship. Although you both treated sex as a casual thing in the beginning, you are now forming an intimate attachment to him and feeing a sense of 'ownership' and upset with his sleeping with other girls.

It has been too easy to fall into this pattern of sleeping together as you are in the same friendship group and it is not doing you any good. I suggest that you put some distance between you and him. I know it is easier said than done, but being apart will break the cycle of dependancy and help you get some perspective on what you really want. This destructive friendship won't suddenly turn from being a sexual one with no strings to  being committed one, as he clearly doesn't respect you enough to make a commitment to you. I know it will take some will power but you do need to limit your texts, calls, messages and definitely no sleeping together. You are so much better than being someone’s sex buddy.

Spend more time with your girlfriends, keep yourself occupied with other activities instead of wasting texting him. You don't need him. You need to be in a more nurturing relationship, with someone who cares for you and not just for sex. You can do this! I believe in you!

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SMS

Annie, warning bells are ringing loudly for you to end this appalling arrangement as you are in a no-win situation. It smells of disaster.

He is not such a good friend as he has behaved appallingly and your actions have made it too easy for him to use you for his own meaningless carnal pleasure, to your detriment. Despite an acceptance that today’s women treat sex in a ‘take-it-or-leave it’ way, I have observed that most women who enter into such an arrangement, over a period of time tend to fall in love and expect a more permanent committed relationship, like you. But it isn't happening here.
Have you discussed with him that you are unhappy to continue with this open relationship and that you now want to be exclusive? If not, why? Is it because you would rather have him despite this unsatisfactory arrangement rather than to not have him at all? Are you fearful of being on your own?

Even if you haven’t raised it with him, his wanton disregard for you and your feelings suggest that his behaviour is ungentlemanly and is undeserving of you. This is not a true friendship of respect but a destructive one to your well-being and you need to end it. Easier said than done as Ally said. But you must. Don't waste anymore time on someone who doesn’t treasure you. Use your energy to find a loving boyfriend. He is poor relationship material.

Your actions also reveal something about you. By allowing his unacceptable behaviour to continue, you appear to lack self-confidence or self-esteem and you may have difficulty loving yourself. You may want to get some professional help to overcome this.

Apart from distancing yourself from him and limiting contact with him, other steps you can take include:

  1. Finding a new tribe of friends and surrounding yourself with people who are interesting and supportive of you.
  2. Finding new hobbies to take your mind off him e.g try salsa dancing
  3. Do volunteering work at your local charity; see your transformation as you start    giving to others who value your help and contribution.
  4. Change the music and start dancing to your own tunes. BE THE CHANGE YOU WANT THE WORLD TO SEE.
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Ally Mackintosh