Pinings — Advice by Sherry Hughes

Clearing It Up

I received a couple of e-mails from folks regarding the letter from the woman who just wanted a “friends with benefits” type of relationship with a man she was seeing ... but he didn’t seem to understand. I suggested that she tell him what she wanted and if he didn’t come around, she should move on. One writer, Tim, had this to say: “If a guy had this attitude and treated a woman like this, most of the women I know would consider him to be an (expletive) and would indubitably regard this as using her. I’d be inclined to agree with them, and though I don’t know you, I’d guess that you would too, in which case your response to the letter displays a double standard.”

I thought I’d take the opportunity to clear up what I meant. I am not necessarily in favor of “friends with benefits” type arrangements. I think they are emotional and physical minefields and it takes a very mature, confident person to navigate that territory. Also, I rarely hear about women trying to cultivate this kind of relationship; usually, it works better for a man. This is changing, I think, in our society all the time.

What I tried to tell this woman was that if this is the kind of relationship she wanted, she needed to be honest with this man and not to leave anything out. I didn’t get into why she didn’t want to find love and get married and have babies or judge her because this was the path she wanted to take — I just tried to let her know what I thought might work best in this situation.

Sherry Hughes welcomes letters from readers. Reach her at

2004 HippoPress LLC | Manchester, NH