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Old Fwb/Flings

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Hobbyist posted 11/30/2019 18:32 PM

Hey all, it's been a while. Long story short, I did a lot of EMDR earlier in spring after a bad breakup, and that helped me an unimaginable amount.

I started dating in summer with the goal of being more picky, and learning how to break up with people. I probably went on dates with a dozen different people (after filtering through hundreds online), and stuck to my guns of breaking it off if it didn't feel right. Many were just one or a couple of dates, some lasted a while longer, but no one made the cut to exclusivity.

Then, I met a nice girl, where things just "felt right", and after a month I told her I'm disabling my dating apps, and she did the same. It's been only 2 months now, but a very troubling topic came up and here I am again, rushed with racing thoughts.

She volunteers weekly with a group, and she told me that she had several FWB from this group. She said they were friends for years first, and "it just happened", as they were all single, and she's been single mostly her whole life (never had a serious relationship). It grosses me out that she's still hanging around the people that she used to sleep with, presumably just right before we got together. Another one of these people, she works out with, as well, though it sounds like he's an ass and that friendship is on its way out (I hope).

She knows these revelations bothered me, and we talked about it. She knows my ex cheated, and I don't think she'd ever purposefully do something to hurt me. But I worry about her boundaries - is it common in a coed friend group, where everyone is single, to just start randomly hooking up, no strings attached? And, once you're in a relationship, it just goes back to "just friends", without a hitch? That seems impossible to me.

She really likes me, and wants it to work, but part of me says "run!". I'm no saint - I dated quite a bit, and have had flings, etc, but I don't still hang out with those people all the time. We might stay superficial "friends" on facebook, who might grab lunch to catch up once in a blue moon, but I'm definitely not hanging out with them weekly.

I can relate, though, as I can see how being single a long time within a group can lead to things happening. It's not really her past that worries me, it's her boundaries - sometimes she says things and I just think she's naive about men. She's the type that keeps more guy friends than girl friends, though, which there's nothing wrong with, but it certainly does make this betrayed spouse nervous.

Am I the one who needs to grow up a little here, or is she? I know I need to just trust her, which I do, but again, we all trusted at one point and saw that get taken advantage of. In my case, I blame it on my exWW's poor boundaries, so I'm kind of hyper aware now, and I don't want to make the same mistake again.

She gets a billion points for being open and honest about her situation, so that's very promising. But now I have to deal with it, and deal with the mental image of her with these other people that she still hangs around. I also don't want to change her - if these are truly friends she doesn't want to lose, I don't want to be the type of partner who pushes her into isolation (I lived that, too), I want to support her.

Any feedback is welcome. And, I think I'm heading back to therapy next week, to address some of these feelings I thought I'd worked through.

Maudlin posted 12/1/2019 03:42 AM

I personally think it’s healthy to stay friends with past relationships. It usually means things ended amicably or naturally, and that a good sign.

I’ve got a former FWB who plays darts with my daughter and I and listens to my dating questions and is just an all around nice guy. It came to a natural end, and that’s fine, and we are friends...just friends.

However- the infidelity messes with your head so much it is hard to gauge what is “ok” and “ok for you” and you have every right to have those be different things. I haven’t had a serious relationship post break up with the Asshole, and honestly I can’t even imagine one. So I’m no one to give advice past the above, that I do think it’s perfectly fine to remain friends with ex’s and former lovers and etc.

ibonnie posted 12/1/2019 08:12 AM

She knows these revelations bothered me, and we talked about it. She knows my ex cheated, and I don't think she'd ever purposefully do something to hurt me. But I worry about her boundaries - is it common in a coed friend group, where everyone is single, to just start randomly hooking up, no strings attached? And, once you're in a relationship, it just goes back to "just friends", without a hitch? That seems impossible to me.

If it's any consolation, most of the people I've slept with were friends/FWB situations, and WH was aware. I continued to hang out with/see a lot of those people. In fact, one of our best "couple friends" that we used to go on double dates with all the time? I had slept with them both.

I've never had a problem sleeping with someone, and then hanging out with them non-romantically going forward.

And once my WH and I were in a committed, monogamous relationship, that was it for me. I'm honest to a fault, and one of those people on SI that believe I could never cheat, because I just don't have it in me to be dishonest.

But my husband? The guy who had previously only slept with his two women, who he had each been in a monogamous relationship with for about two years (consecutively, not at the same time lol)? He was the one that cheated.

homewrecked2011 posted 12/1/2019 09:13 AM

I guess I would be concerned about the part “it just happened”. Sounds a lot like someone w/o boundaries, and poor decision making. I personally think if you and her were just friends for a while, and you had the opportunity to look at her actions over time, would b able to see if she could commit to 1 person.
(Btw I was like this person at 1 time also, but I’d be hesitant to date someone that this happened to a lot bc of the poor decision making possibility. )

landclark posted 12/1/2019 09:48 AM

Am I the one who needs to grow up a little here, or is she?

Honestly and gently, it sounds like these are your issues, not hers. Don’t get me wrong, I totally get it, not everybody would be comfortable with their SO hanging out with their sex buddies. The fact that you were cheated on makes it even worse for you. Nothing at all wrong with feeling nervous. But at the end of the day, that’s your issue to take on, not hers. It’s really not about either of you growing up. You’re just different people.

Are you looking for her to say she will never ever associate with those people again because that’s what would make you more comfortable? What if she doesn’t do that? Can you be ok with that?

For me personally, I would have an issue with even an occasional lunch with somebody my WH had sex with, or staying friends with them on Facebook. This would have been an issue for me even before I found out about the cheating mostly because at the end of the day, I never truly trusted him.

Hobbyist posted 12/1/2019 11:49 AM

The topic is definitely polarizing, people either seem to firmly put this in the "hell no" or "meh, it's fine" category, with little in between. I'm typically in the first category, but I'm trying to understand the second category so as not to limit myself and understand the other side a bit more.

I'm going to go back to therapy before making any decisions, I just want some peace about the relationship I'm in. I've lost some sleep over this, and have had spiraling thoughts, and I know that's on me, because she hasn't done anything but reassure me.

These people are pretty intertwined into her friend group, so it's not like it's just one person that she can let the friendship fade (if she wants to), it'd be uprooting her friends, which I definitely don't want her to do.

So, all I can do is communicate my concerns, and have us both adjust and grow, and at the end of the day, if I can't handle her friends, I'll just have to end it.

I guess I would be concerned about the part “it just happened”. Sounds a lot like someone w/o boundaries, and poor decision making.

- This is definitely my biggest concern, it's not that she hooked up with friends while being single and lonely, it's that she's not confident and clear on how it happened. I get the impression that she wanted more from all these guys, and they didn't, and yet she still took "table scraps" to make her feel better about herself.

landclark posted 12/1/2019 12:04 PM

I get the impression that she wanted more from all these guys, and they didn't, and yet she still took "table scraps" to make her feel better about herself.

Have you talked to her about this? I realize it could be awkward, but if you’re making assumptions about her motivations and basing your decision off assumptions, you may want to have a heart to heart.

Hobbyist posted 12/1/2019 12:41 PM

I haven't talked to her about that, I know that with 2 of the guys she was clear it only sex, but she worded it as "it happened on accident", which I take as being, alcohol was involved. But, everyone was single, so there's really nothing wrong with that. Honestly, if single people are hanging out and drinking together, the pretext is there - there's nothing accidental about it. I assume she knows this and isn't THAT naive...

landclark posted 12/1/2019 12:50 PM

Yeah, that’s a weird statement. Maybe she meant she didn’t set out to have sex with them, but she was drunk, inhibitions were down, and she went for it. Saying it was an accident is a little odd though, and seems like she’s not taking any responsibility for it That would be a red flag for me as well.

babypuke posted 12/1/2019 18:27 PM

I was in your shoes once and I learned from it.

I was dating this 33 year old woman who later told me she had a special friend, a FWB when she and him were not dating anyone and a "normal friend" when one of them had someone to date. The sex in between dating for them "just happened" she told me. Later she told me he nevertheless always would have a special place in her heart, she loved him only 5% and she loved me for the full 95%! After hearing that from her I dumped her for the full 100%!

For you as a "third person", FWB are people who create new social constructs only to throw sand in your eyes so you can not see clearly and to play you and at the same time fulfill their hedonic desires. And you can not start something fresh and new with a woman who keeps men wanting sex around her, it hinders any new relationship. She should be 'all in' with you or 'she is out'.

From the situation I learned that if a woman would make me feel uncomfortable in the Other Man Department in ANY way I would dump her instantly, basically the same rule as you have for yourself, stick to your guns man and go and find yourself someone new and who is 'all in' with you, strength and good luck:

and stuck to my guns of breaking it off if it didn't feel right

Hobbyist posted 12/1/2019 18:56 PM

Babypuke, it's definitely polarizing! I'm leaning towards this, while she's making plans for us and whatnot. She seems all in, but these friends certainly freak me out. I just don't understand it, I know a lot of people do it successfully, but personally I just can't relate. I would not have sex with a real friend, if I was at all concerned about losing the relationship. Once you have sex, you are no longer friends.

Sigh, I've got therapy scheduled for Thursday, I just don't want to make any rash decisions. She really seems to like me...

barcher144 posted 12/1/2019 21:33 PM

I think that the fact that she told you about this upfront is a good sign. Relationships are built on trust and honesty and she is showing that she is honest.

Some of the other stuff that you mention as far as her and her boundaries, that's a different problem... and that is her problem. Maybe she could use some time with a therapist, you know?

My current GF has slept with a lot of guys... and I don't worry about her sleeping with any of them while we are dating. I have met several and I'll probably meet several more.

It also seems like you have a thin skin as far as her past sex life. And that's your problem. Definitely talk to your therapist about that.

babypuke posted 12/2/2019 06:29 AM

I know a lot of people do it successfully

If you do a Google-search you will see that many people fail to do this successfully, sooner or later it brings trouble to those involved one way or another, feelings develop and a heart gets broken - despite arrangements and agreements -, it undermines the start of new TRUE relationships (like in your case), and more.

Once you have sex, you no longer are friends

True, otherwise all friends would have sex with each other, but this is not the case because a special arrangement is in place for some friends and not others.

These friends certainly freak me out.

Certainly, you know these guys still want something from the woman you are dating, and that something is 'sex', the whole reason why they started this FWB in the first place and they got it cheap. Now, they are waiting and lurking in the dark, hoping for you to slip and fall and a way to get back in. They know that the FWB will start up again the moment that you and her break up. The bad thing is that the person you are dating allows these guys to stay around her, under the false flag of 'just friends', a false flag is a red flag! Meeting an 'ex' of your new romantic interest usually is never a fun activity, but at least 'exes' acknowledge that the relationship is over, FWB can start up easily again, this makes meeting a FWB of your new romantic interest many times worse.

The topic is definitely polarizing

What you need, I think, is a sense of safety and feeling special and unique. Who does not with a new potential love interest? She could say 'These guys were just douchebags who I used for sex, and I will never have sex with them again even if we would stop dating'. She does not say that and is unwilling to promise this, am I right? If so, she is not 'all in', but keeping her options open and this causes cognitive dissonnance with you and it should because IT IS conflicting information. Who can feel special knowing that his or her replacement is already lined up? And brother, would she truly accept it if you would keep the women with whom you had sex and flings in your social circle?, no she would not and become jealous.

I've got therapy scheduled for Thursday, I just don't want to make any rash decisions. She really seems to like me...
.
Good to discuss this with your therapist, because it all is toxic for you, please let us know what your therapist said!

Ah man, I have to say, these FWB-people are just wired differently, and have other values and hopes, than you and me. One day, the woman I was dating invited me to her FWBs house to enjoy the forest environment this guy was living in, he was away for the weekend and gave her the key to his house and yes we could and would sleep in his (their) bed. Also, she explored the idea of having a MMF threesome with this guy and me involved. My answer to these things was: No!

Love is a battlefield - Pat Benatar

Wisdom from the 80s! I do recommend you to read 'The System' of Doc Love, it discusses attraction but more important it also helps you to find a good woman for you and tells you to dump those that are not good for you.

Strength and good luck brother!

Edited: Typo

[This message edited by babypuke at 6:40 AM, December 2nd (Monday)]

Hobbyist posted 12/2/2019 09:24 AM

Brief update, I talked to her more about it and feel a bit better. She was very clear on what was going on when it happened, no alcohol was involved, so it makes me feel better it was an intentional decision on her part rather than a "whoa who am I waking up next to" thing. We discussed more details I won't share here, but I do believe she's all in. I'm still going to therapy, and will work on things more there.

babypuke posted 12/2/2019 16:05 PM

I talked to her more about it and feel a bit better.(...) I do believe she's all in. I'm still going to therapy, and will work on things more there.

This sounds good, an understanding of each other always helps and her being 'all in' also is a good thing, and you communicated your needs and now she can take action to meet these and not violate your trust. While I myself are not a fan of dating FWB-people due to my personal experiences, I do acknowledge that it can be succesful if there is a good understanding and mutual respect. I wish you well, good luck man!

Buster123 posted 12/2/2019 20:09 PM

I'll be honest with you, I feel the same way, I could never do it, your gut is screaming at you, trust your gut, she first told you "it just happened accidentally" then changed her answer to "no it was a decision she made".

I would ask her a simple question:

"Before we take this relationship to a more serious level would you be willing to stay away from your former FWBs for me at least for 1 year since I'm still very uncomfortable with this ?" if her answer is yes it shows she's willing to sacrifice for you and understands where you're coming from, it also shows commitment, it sets boundaries from the get go, if she says no then it probably indicates that at least for now she values her FWBs more than the prospects of a life with you, if so I would not put much stock in this relationship if any at all, tbh I would probably dump her on the spot, but that's just me, you may see it different, it's your call, however just like you I don't find it normal to be casually having sex with several people within your circle of "friends" and that would be a huge red flag for me and based on what you posted it's a big concern for you too.

EvenKeel posted 12/3/2019 07:36 AM

I don't really see this as a boundary issue. They were all single and consenting parties during the hook-ups, correct?

She was upfront about this with you.

Unless this group had rules about this, I don't see where they did anything wrong.

Now I can see where you would be uncomfortable about those folks being intertwined in your lives going forth. HOWEVER, if her boundaries are strong while she is in your relationship and you trust her then I would be less concerned.

Since she never had a serious relationship prior, you really have nothing to gauge on if she would cheat in the future anyway.

You are doing the right thing - talk with your counselor, talk with your GF, watch actions, etc.

Have you considered involving your GF in couple's counseling to talk through this?

WornDown posted 12/3/2019 07:41 AM

However- the infidelity messes with your head so much it is hard to gauge what is “ok” and “ok for you” and you have every right to have those be different things.

This.

After infidelity, a lot of people start seeing cheating behind every tree (or action).

IMO, this revelation has rattled you because you went through infidelity once before and you are trying to figure out how to prevent going through that again. Fact of the matter is, you can never really be 100% protected from it happening again...you just can't. At some point, if you want another relationship, you just have to take the leap and hope for the best.

You talk about questioning her boundaries due to her PAST actions (but also say she was single and young, so no big deal), but what you really need to be asking is what are her CURRENT actions saying about boundaries?

Is she flirting/trying to get the attention of other guys? Is she immature in general? Is she reckless?

If not, then let her past stay there - in the past.

But....

If you really can't handle it, that's fine, too. End it and move on. That's part of who you are right now - that kind of past is a deal breaker for you. Maybe with time you'll get to a point where that past doesn't bother you. Or you'll find someone else without that past.

ETA: just saw your update. Good job talking it through with her - that's awesome. Good luck!

[This message edited by WornDown at 7:47 AM, December 3rd (Tuesday)]

WornDown posted 12/3/2019 07:45 AM

Have you considered involving your GF in couple's counseling to talk through this?

After dating someone for two months and they wanted me to go to couples counseling with them?

That'd be the end of our relationship.

That's a hard NOPE in my book - for the simple fact that they aren't mature/emotionally sound enough to be in a relationship.

Just sayin'...

LoveTKO posted 12/3/2019 10:57 AM

I would continue to be honest but go with your gut. There are so many nuances with this situation. Have you hung around with these people? I would join the volunteer group at least temporarily to see the dynamics. You may feel better about the situation or there may be some red flags.

I'm seeing someone and his ex-gf is frequently around. I had no problem seeing her - they broke up before we even met. When we saw her, her friends wouldn't look at us, she would glare at me from across the room, etc. You would think we were in junior high - not in our 50s. Then she would go home and write long facebook posts about her broken heart. So, no.. I'm not ok hanging out with his ex - it's uncomfortable. If she had behaved normally, I wouldn't have cared. You have to see for yourself.

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