Monday 26 February 2018

Ask Brian: My boyfriend is going to propose - but I can't stop thinking about my friend with benefits

Woman and man having a disagreement, Young couple in a bed bored woman
Woman and man having a disagreement, Young couple in a bed bored woman
Brian O'Reilly

Brian O'Reilly

Our no-nonsense agony uncle gets straight to the point of your most pressing issues.

Dear Brian,

I have been with my partner for almost 5 years and we live together Monday to Friday when I work in Dublin and then I go home to my own house on the weekends.  Prior to meeting my now partner I had a friends with benefit relationship with a friend I have known since school.

Although we carried the friends with benefits status our relationship was a little more then that - we would talk everyday on the phone, we would go out for meals cinema etc but never mixed with each other friends/families etc. This was ongoing for 10 years plus.

Throughout my current relationship I have still remained friends with him and we still continue to talk daily by phone and I would see him on the weekends as he usually calls when I am home.

He as never suggested anything official except from some light throw away comments when we're discussing our future and he'll say "maybe I'll marry you."

My current partner is so nice, so trustworthy and I know he plans on proposing soon as I found the ring accidentally.  Ever since I found it I am questioning my relationship with my current partner and I cant stop thinking about my friend and the what if's. 

Is this just general nervousness? I can't focus on anything thinking about the situation. I am terrified I will make the wrong decision, is there any hope for a friends with benefit relationship leading to anything after 10 years?


Brian replies:

Hi Anon,

I think you're almost certainly just suffering from a bout of nerves - getting married is a massive commitment and makes us put our relationships under the microscope.

The possibility of a proposal has brought all the 'what ifs' of the friends-with-benefits relationship to the fore in your mind.

I wouldn't be thinking what if, but why haven't you and this friend ever actually made a go of things and had a proper relationship?

There's a reason things have never progressed beyond you being friends with benefits. I'm sure there's been ample opportunities over the last ten years to make a go of things if you both wanted.

I certainly wouldn't be backing out of your current relationship on a what if.

However it's certainly possible that the idea of getting married is making you ask perfectly reasonable questions about your current relationship, and you should allow yourself the time to think about that.

Is the relationship right for you? Can you see yourself being with him for the rest of your life?

It's possible the thought or marriage has brought your current relationship into stark focus for you -  and you owe it to yourself to think about things properly.

But don't allow your judgement to be clouded by 'what ifs' from your friend.

You either want to commit to your partner or you don't - that's not a decision you make based on the possibility of a fantasy relationship with someone else. You make that decision based on how happy you are now.

Yes, you are almost certainly just suffering a bout of nerves. Don't make any hasty decisions and give yourself time to think about things.

But whatever decision you do make should have nothing to with a relationship that doesn't exist -  and probably never will.


Do you have a problem you'd like some advice on? Email  to submit in confidence.

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