I was new to the job, and he was the colleague responsible for showing me the ropes around the office.
He was notorious for being a ‘player’ (or so I heard from the office gossip). He also had a girlfriend at the time. I didn’t think anything would happen, since I didn’t fancy him at all and was happy being single.
Little did I know that we would eventually be ‘Friends with Benefits’ (FWB). For those of you unfamiliar with the term, it’s when two friends have sex with each other without any commitment.
Before long we went on outstation working trips together, and often spent late nights at the office. I began to warm up to him, but as a mentor cum colleague cum friend at first.
Eventually, he opened up to me about his personal life. He confessed that he’d broken up with his girlfriend.
He said she was jealous of the time we spent together. I don’t want to sound presumptuous, but I think this was the time when he started having feelings for me. Looking back, this was probably the time we crossed the professional line.
One thing led to another, and eventually we slept together during one of our trips. We then constantly spent nights at each other’s places, but none of us said any “I love yous” or professed anything. We just enjoyed each other’s company.
We tried to hide it, but it was obvious. Eventually we became the office gossip, although no one said or asked us anything. I knew our colleagues were aware about us, because they’d stop whispering among themselves as soon as I entered.
I could handle the office gossip. What I couldn’t handle, was his jealousy.
He didn’t like it when other guys talked to me or approached me. He became incredibly possessive at times – pulling my chair away from other guys, screening my calls and texts, and even deciding who should be my Facebook friends. Our colleagues started to notice these as well. We started quarrelling a lot, and became openly hostile towards each other.
I once confronted him about his feelings, but all he said was that he was confused and didn’t know what he really wanted. Well, to be honest, neither did I.
I tried to stay away for him, not picking up his calls or replying to his texts – everything work related was conveyed via the office group’s WhatsApp channel.
But our ‘falling apart’ episode(s) didn’t last long. We were addicted to each other. Eventually, we’d end up together again.
Things went on like this for quite a while.
Then one intense night – we were both quarrelling and kissing and making up after that – he (sort of) proposed to me.
Before retracting it the very next day.
He said he didn’t have money to get married, and that he wasn’t ready yet. Sure, he liked / loved me but he’s just not ready to be committed.
Adding salt to the wound – he said I was free to go out with anyone as long as we only slept with each other. That’s when I realised what we were all along – just friends with benefits.
I was heartbroken and upset – but how could I be, right? It wasn’t as if we were ‘exclusive’. I cut him off after that. I didn’t go out with any other guys after he said that, nor did I sleep with him since.
I sought solace by hanging out with other friends, shopping, and having coffees and drinks. I heard from his housemate that he’d been spending more time cooped up in his room, alone. All the while calling and sexting me to come over, that is.
But I decided that I’ve had enough of him.
I admit the proposal was a heavy blow. I mean, it’s not every day that a girl gets proposed to – but my joy was brutally cut short when I realised we were just friends with benefits.
To be honest, it made me feel cheap, this FWB thing. Especially the part when he ‘allowed’ me to go out with others, but ONLY sleep with him. To me it felt like one stop short from him paying me to have sex just with him.
Though I wasn’t really in love with him in the beginning, there was the slightest hope that we’d end up together. Maybe even end up being married with children.
Unfortunately, the feelings weren’t mutual.
Sure, he acted like a jealous boyfriend. But I assumed that was just to ‘protect his trophy’. He wanted to display his authority over me, letting other guys know – ‘hey, this newbie is all mine, so buzz off!’
Eventually I had enough of him so I gave his stuff back to him and avoided him at the office. I resigned shortly after and blocked him from social media.
If you do want to dip your toes into being in an FWB relationship, do it cautiously. Don’t invest yourself emotionally, like I did.
As harsh as it sounds, treat it like a series of one-night stands, only with the same person. Distance yourself, or even better, leave, once you realise you’ve developed feelings for him. Do the same if he develops feelings for you.
Sure, talking with your FWB might help. But in my case it didn’t, since we were trapped in a cycle of quarreling and making up.
Maybe if we were mature enough to confront our feelings while establishing ground rules and boundaries, our FWB relationship would have worked out. But we were younger then and didn’t know any better.
What I regretted most was that it happened at work, and it affected our careers. Well, mine at least, since it was I who left the job. I couldn’t even look at him, let alone work with him after that.
I wouldn’t preach to you to not have a FWB at work. Neither am I encouraging you. Just know that everything comes with a price.
Best case scenario, you’d have a sex buddy – with no feelings attached of course. Plus, you’d get to ‘discuss’ about work and gossip about colleagues while cuddling up after the sex!
Worst case scenario – you can’t focus on being professional. Remember that feelings almost always get involved. What’s more, people will eventually find out about it. Are you comfortable being gossiped about?
Also, if it’s against the company’s policy, then you’d run the risk of being fired. Are you ready to stake your job on it?
I’m not saying it can’t work out – it’s just a lot riskier. However, if you think that it’s something you can handle, then by all means go ahead. We should all try everything once!
For a FWB with a happier ending, read I Had a FWB and It Was Good. Here’s What It Was Like, or read some of the worst date stories like Worst Dates Series: The One Where We (Literally) Netflix-Ed and Chilled .