In a few days, I’m going to Cuba on vacation with a guy I’ve been sleeping with for eight years, but whom I've never once called my boyfriend.
Once, he told me this long, complicated story about an affair he had with his cousin, adding, “That’s not something I tell most people.” Probably wise on his part, but I loved that story, as problematic as it may be, because I loved knowing something about him that no one else did.
Others dismiss fuck-buddy dynamics as just being compulsive sex that’s devoid of emotion. Surely it’s possible to find a middle ground between eternal love and zombie-fucking a stranger: a place where you can care about someone, have good sex, and yet not want to literally implode at the thought of them sleeping with someone else. Case in point: The most significant romantic friendship of my life was with an ex-editor of mine, whom I’ll call Malcolm.
We started “a thing” five years ago and have yet to end it.
When I met him, he was 45 and charmingly grumpy, and he would always tell me: “Sex is so perfect. ” I’d go over to his apartment for a couple hours in the afternoons, we’d have sex (soberly, which meant I could actually cum), and then afterward we’d drink tea and complain about stuff. There were times when we saw each other frequently, and other times when things dropped off for a while, usually because one of us had a partner. It felt like we had entered this secretive bubble of transparency—we were emotionally intimate, yet free of the burden of jealousy and ownership.
And sure, when he would get a girlfriend I would be a little bummed out—I’m (unfortunately) not a sociopath—but it didn’t cause me to spiral into an emotional cyclone the way I would have if I’d been cheated on by a boyfriend. We could spill our guts to each other because we didn’t have anything to lose.We are taught that all relationships that don’t end up in marriage are failures (because, ya know, hetero-normativity and patriarchal narratives or whatever).