A few months ago, when I decided to give online dating one last go – again for all the wrong reasons I may add – I wrote the following sentence in my profile: “I am not interested in a classic relationship or one night stands. I prefer something like friendship with benefits. If you are married or in any other kind of relationship, that’s fine by me. But I don’t want things to be complicated at the (= your) home front”. I don’t need to tell you that this statement appealed to a lot of men, including a bunch of idiots who couldn’t read, but that may be a story for another time to tell. Few men responded civilised enough to get my attention. Even less made it to meeting up with me for a chat and a drink. Let’s just say I am picky. 

They were all married, said everything was out in the open and without any complications. On most of those first dates it turned out the guy in question was allowed to fuck around, but not to get involved emotionally. This meant activities such as going out for dinner, catching a movie or I dunno, seeing an exhibition were all off limits. Of course most of these men just told me that because in truth they were not interested in the friendship part, but for a few this seemed to be a genuine condition for sexual freedom.

Being emotionally involved with a person next to your partner is often considered more of a threat than “just” having sex with them. But let me ask you this, again for that matter: why is it okay and normal to love more than one family member or friend, but not to be close to more than one (sex)partner? Why is additionally loving and wanting a second person so scary? Think about it: doesn’t it feel a lot better knowing that your spouse is in good hands? That he is spending time with someone he cares for and who also cares for him, rather than just some person he puts his dick in and then comes home to you? That way he could might as well go to a brothel, with the one difference that he doesn’t have to pay – which is of course good for the shared bank account, that I understand.

And while we are being honest here: don’t we all know that when the sex is pretty fucking awesome, most of us feel more than just a tickle between the legs anyway – because the chemistry is right and there is a connection? How else can the sex be mind-blowing? What then? End it and go look for the next person we tell ourselves we can fuck but not have feelings for? Who are we kidding? Really, good luck with living that illusion. Desire and lust are feelings as well by the way.

From my perspective, in the role of the prospective second partner, I want my future male friend with benefits to be happy, with me and especially with his life partner.

In fact, the happier he is at home, the less complicated the whole situation is for me: I won’t have to wonder about his motivation to come knocking on my door (did he have a fight, is he frustrated, angry, in need or distraction, will he regret it, you name it…), I don’t have to worry that he will get a divorce and want to live with me in the brand new Essie Cave and I do not have deal with my own romantic illusions in which I sometimes dwell just like anyone other person with a heart. Ideally, he comes by because of me and goes back home because of his wife. Win-win-win in my view. Everybody happy.

And yes, I want to be able to love this person, which means I want the best for him, not to own him. I want him to not be scared to have feelings for me either. No one needs too worry about me turning into Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction. All I can imagine myself to be, is an intimate, very good friend. What I do not want, is to be reduced to a voluntary, unpaid sex worker. Not by Mr Future Naked Man In My Bed and most certainly not by his wife.

So, what I am actually trying to say here, is that when you really want to open up your marriage or relationship, both of you please make some proper space for this other person. Don’t come up with naive rules and conditions. In most cases they won’t work anyway. We are not robots who can switch off feelings, fortunately or unfortunately depending on how you look at it. Although I do not like the word because it also has something to do with possession, “sharing” from any perspective is for sure not an easy thing to do. Even if you like me do not believe in a lifetime of sexclusivity and monogamy, feelings like jealousy and insecurity will pop up. Again, we are not robots. But we can deal with them if relationships are truly open. And… what do they say about true love again? Shouldn’t it be unconditional?

*Btw: where I write ‘he’ you can of course also read ‘she’.