Love and Relationships

[Two Pronged] I’m having trouble with my ‘friends with benefits’ relationship

Margarita Holmes, Jeremy Baer
[Two Pronged] I’m having trouble with my ‘friends with benefits’ relationship
'He also told me that the girls he's met tend to be very clingy, so this was a warning already that I should keep myself cool and relaxed'

Rappler’s Life and Style section runs an advice column by couple Jeremy Baer and clinical psychologist Dr. Margarita Holmes.

Jeremy has a master’s degree in law from Oxford University. A banker of 37 years who worked in three continents, he has been training with Dr. Holmes for the last 10 years as co-lecturer and, occasionally, as co-therapist, especially with clients whose financial concerns intrude into their daily lives

Together, they have written two books: Love Triangles: Understanding the Macho-Mistress Mentality and Imported Love: Filipino-Foreign Liaisons.

Good morning Dr. Margie and Mr. Baer,

Im writing this message to ask for advice. I entered an FWB (friends with benefits) with a guy I met on Bumble.

We met in person last May, had four dates, and upon regular chatting, I confessed that I was attracted to him. He said he felt the same way, but could only offer FWB. I agreed to give it a try, since Id been single for almost seven years. We laid out our terms before doing the deed last week. We agreed that we could still meet people, but that we were exclusive FWBs to each other. 

This week, I asked him if he was game for round 2. He said he was not in the mood because of the medicines he was taking for his heart maintenance. He said the meds were affecting his libido. I dont know if this is just an excuse on his part. Did he not enjoy what we shared? Does he want one-night stands only? Or did he want to break our FWB agreement after we did the deed?

I observed that he was passive in texting me. After we did the deed, he also told me that the girls he’s met tend to be very clingy, so this was a warning already that I should keep myself cool and relaxed. He mentioned in advance the possible scenarios, that we may or may not fall in love with each other. He said we were exclusive FWBs and that we should have no expectations. He said he would ask his doctor if he could stop taking some of the meds.

We spoke last Monday. Its been two days and I havent heard from him. Im getting anxious, Doc. But I have not sent him a follow-up text. 

What should I do?

More power to you doctors who empower us women and give proper guidance on our sexual life. Hope to hear a response. Thank you.


Must Read

[Two Pronged] From boyfriend to friend with benefits

[Two Pronged] From boyfriend to friend with benefits

Dear Bella,

Thank you for your message.

So you have had four dates and one round with this guy (let’s call him Joe). He has made clear he is not interested in being more than exclusive FWBs, is text passive, doesn’t like clingy women, and says he has health issues affecting his libido and so isn’t ready yet for another round. In light of this, you ask what you should do, having resisted texting Joe despite not having heard from him for two days.

Firstly, if, as you say, you regularly chatted with him in the lead-up to your FWB agreement, then there seems no reason not to contact him now, unless you think that his dislike of clingy women only extends to those he has slept with, not those with whom he has yet to sleep. This would imply that the answer to your question, “Does he want one-night stands only? Or did he want to break our FWB agreement after we did the deed?” is yes!

I would however suggest that you are in too much of a hurry and should allow matters to develop in their own time. It is understandable that after being single for nearly seven years, you want to maximize the relationship, such as it is, but you place it at risk if you do not take account of your partner and his views.

Joe has said that he will discuss his meds with his doctor. See if a) he does so and b) if this produces a satisfactory increase in his libido. If he doesn’t actually consult, then this relationship is unlikely to prosper. If he does but his libido doesn’t recover, then you have to decide if you can live with Joe’s low sex drive. However, if he changes his meds and his libido increases, you will both be able to enjoy the outcome. 

All this will take time, time you can put to good use getting to know the man attached to the appendage. Where this will take you is a mystery today, but the journey could be interesting, even exciting.

All the best,
JAF Baer

Must Read

[Two Pronged] Wanting more from a ‘casual relationship’

[Two Pronged] Wanting more from a ‘casual relationship’

Dear Bella:

Thank you very much for your letter, but Mr. Baer, I shan’t thank you for your response, because I disagree with your answer. Remembering your reassurance that you love disagreements, I’ll set out my reasons:

You chide Bella (albeit gently, but it is still chide-y just the same) for being impatient. You encourage her to wait (in my mind, like a mendicant) to see what the medical results are but also to see whether he is still interested in sex.

Dearest Bella, if you are truly interested in merely f**king, then it is perfectly okay to drop this fellow, and move on to someone else who is, perhaps, a stronger player in the sexual arena. Either someone who does not need BP meds in the first place, or someone whose raging libido can override such possible side effects. Perhaps, even someone who knows how to say things better so that having to wait seems like gratification delayed and only increases enthusiasm to do the deed, rather than a waiting exercise. 

BUT…I am fairly certain, Bella, that merely f**king is not all you’re interested in. If you were, you would merely follow your raw urges and not seek advice. Nor would you angst over what this guy truly wants or even truly means when he texts (when he bothers to text, that is).

No, no, no, if you want more, kick Joe into touch and find someone else for whom this guessing game is not de rigueur. Someone honest, forthright, just as impatient as you with fuzzy messages that may mean one thing or another, and not misinterpreting any need for clarification as clinginess. Believe me, Bella, if more guys felt that you were interested in sex more than in relationships, they would be queueing ’round the block!  

And if you aren’t, well maybe you could clarify that, while you are still looking for an FWB relationship, the F in it is just as important as the WB. 

All the best, dearest Bella,
MG Holmes 


Please send any comments, questions, or requests for advice to

Add a comment

Sort by

There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.