Dear Wayne and Wanda,
For a few months now, I've been hanging out with a guy I've known for a long time through mutual friends. It started one night after we'd been at the bars together and since then it has become a recurring thing. He has said he wants to keep things casual, friends with benefits.
No one really knows that we are spending time together. For the first couple months that was OK with me, but the more time we spend together, the more it feels like a relationship. I think I'm ready for it to be more than a "friends with benefits" situation.
He has said he likes how laid back things are with us. I don't know what to do. Do I keep doing what we're doing and just enjoy whatever time we get to spend together? Or do I ask for more and risk pushing him away?
This potentially plays out a few ways.
Option one: Keep on doing what you're doing, and continue to do it with no strings attached. Why not? Clearly you enjoy his occasional companionship -- and he, yours. Accept that he's sincere about not wanting anything serious and roll with it. There's plenty to like about casual encounters. As a union or mutual convenience, you're released from many of the stifling conventions that sink serious relationships. You still have your freedom. Since the relationship is on the quiet, you don't have to worry about meddling friends armchair psychoanalyzing the whole thing.
Option two: Tell him you want more. This will illicit one of two responses. Possibly, he is overjoyed, and responds with a super-excited, "Me too!" He is totally relieved you brought it up first because he was so scared of pushing you away.
I predict the other response: Mr. Man balks, then says something like, "But what's wrong with what we're doing?" If he wanted to be serious with you, stroll the streets hand-in-hand, meet for lunch and cook meals together and go to the movies, he would have realized it by now.
Let's be real -- wouldn't you have realized it too? You say in your letter you "think" you want more from him. Even you aren't sure. After three months of casual encounters, if you're still iffy, therein lies your answer. I predict you are ready for a relationship with someone. But it's not this guy.
Wanda is wise, but -- gasp -- she doesn't know everything. One area of study she comes up short is in regards to the male brain. She's giving this dude, and most of us men, waaaay too much credit in assuming that if he was serious about this girl, he would have stepped up and made it official.
Wanda and women everywhere, let me fill you in on a little Relationships With Men 101: Men are typically only as serious about a woman as that woman makes him be. Up until now, both parties in this affair have rolled along with the FWB agreement. Both parties -- not just him.
Why on earth would any man rock that boat? It's perfect situation -- a good friend with complimentary no-strings-attached sex? Sign me up! And while you daydream at your desk and sulk about him with your girlfriends, he's going about his awesome life figuring he's exactly where you want him to be.
Sure, if you mention a serious relationship, he may balk. He may even run away as fast as he can. He may also commit. He may even propose to you at that moment and race with you to Paris to get hitched. Thing is, you'll never know until you bring it up. Until then, he's going to continue enjoying the life of relationship leisure: friendship and sex without any of that exhausting couples work.
• Wanda is a wise woman who has loved, lusted and believes in retail therapy. Wayne is a wise guy who has no use for therapy. Send them your questions and thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org.