The Playbook For The Modern Man

The Cold Hard Truth About Having An ‘Ex With Benefits’

When cutting all ties just isn’t as fun.

Is your current relationship stumping your own personal growth, but the sex is out of this world? Or are you on the market and fancy a bit of rumpy-pumpy to pass time, and you know that ex of yours is single too? Is it possible to have a casual arrangement with an ex?

It’s a question recently proposed on The Hook Up podcast “Is it possible to rewind your relationship?”. The podcast, hosted by Nat Tencic, featured a call-in from Charlotte, who explained to Nat that her boyfriend wanted to dial things back a tad and keep things strictly casual. Whilst she had initial doubts because the relationship had already been full-on, including the dreaded meeting of the parents, she agreed and she says she’s now happy with the arrangement.

Her reasoning for agreeing?, she says, “I don’t want to lose all of him, to go from being in each other’s lives to nothing. It allows us to stay on speaking terms and ultimately helped with the actual break up because it slowed things down instead of being so brutal.”

However, despite her positive attitude, the odd niggle of doubt has, perhaps unsurprisingly, crept in on more than one occasion.

“Am I worth more than this? Will he sleep with other people? Are we casually exclusive?” are all questions she projected to the host, and couples therapist Liz Neal.

Liz first asked Charlotte if she was in love with her ex and current linin-romper when they were an official item, to which she responded, “yes” and added that the feelings were still there “in a way”. Liz goes on to say that there can, in fact, be pros to keeping things casual with an ex, although obviously, there are many cons as well.

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She says that if the two people involved both come to the decision mutually, then there “is a better chance it can work, as there are a shared set of assumptions and expectations.”

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However, she adds that in most cases, it’s usually one person that proposes, or tells the other, that it’s a casual relationship or nothing at all. In this scenario,

“it’s involuntary and there will be feelings of rejection, inadequacy, and suspicion – will that person want to see other people?”.

She goes on to say that if you agree to keep things casual so you can hold on to that glimmer of hope that you will one day get back together, then it will make things much more difficult. As soon as you finish your shuffle under the covers, you’re going to hope it will be the moment they say “let’s get back together”, and as soon as they leave, you’re going to wonder if they think about you.

Liz says ultimately, this will cause misaligned feelings that could potentially be damaging to your own personal wellbeing.

Nat poses the question to Liz, “is it more hurtful doing this to your partner or soon-to-be-ex, or to just break it off?”

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Liz responds by saying:

“Ethically, the best thing to do is be totally honest and upfront. Being true to yourself is the key. If you know you’re hurting the other person, then you shouldn’t do it”

But forgetting ethics for one second, what if the sex really is that great, but you just can’t commit to a relationship any longer? To this end, Liz says “if you do find you connect with someone sexually, then it’s not uncommon for a relationship to end but for the sex to remain, because it’s the most satisfying part, so will be the last thing to go.”

 

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“However, it will be difficult to sustain a casual relationship long term, because past feelings will more than likely be brought up.”

Ultimately, keeping things going under the covers with an ex-flame is entirely down to the two of you as a couple, just make sure you can do so with no-strings-attached..

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