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I was freshly single after a 4-year relationship, a senior in college, and an artist with a lot of daddy issues. I had officially, and excitedly, decided I wasn’t going to fall in love until my late 20s.
I had written off any sort of emotional ties to another human being and was ready to fuck, dance, and flee. At the end of the year, I was to graduate, leave the South, and begin life again.
In short, these things happened, but not in the way that I expected them to.
I broke things off with my ex, drove back to campus, and headed to the art building for a class assignment. Enter stage left with a smooth voice and red facial hair: my soon-to-be-friend-with-very-wonderful-benefits was already diligently working on some homework for our class.
To save some time and silly details, we eventually started hooking up. His honesty, almost immediately, let me know that he wasn’t looking for anything serious and that he was happy being just friends with benefits. He told me this in person, which I feel is an important point to take into consideration for the generation of technology, and the kids infamous for having conversations over messaging platforms. Talking, IRL, is key.
It wasn’t long before we realized we were a perfect match sexually. But he was hyper, high-strung, and into exploring everyones' bodies. I was in love with my ex boyfriend, ready to go dancing, and fabulously overly confident. We weren’t a match made in heaven, nor did we want to be. It was the ideal situation--to be and to let the other be.
Unlike traditional relationships, we left the “get to know each other” bullshit aside and bantered, fucked, and empowered one another. I didn’t care what he thought of me. I wasn’t dressing up any certain way. We flirted with other people at parties. He talked with his mouth full. I cried about my ex boyfriend in front of him. Over and over, we became closer and closer without even fully grasping or realizing the extent of it all.
We also openly discussed love, a taboo topic for friends with benefits. I had only been in love once, for the first time, and it was more incredible than I could ever imagine. I didn’t know, or want to know, what the second time would be like.
We, my casual sex partner and I, would discuss this sometimes throughout our time together. He would roll over in bed and say, “Are you falling in love with me?” to which I would laugh and reply, “Hell no.”
At the time I believed it. However, it seemed that the more we brought it up, the more focus we had on the emotion. How did we differentiate love between in love?
All of a sudden, out of nowhere, I was thinking about feelings. I was contemplating the things he said, how he said them, and when. The casual fuck buddy pact was unraveling at a rapid pace and I was terrified that it was going to be one-sided.
He asked me to move to Chicago with me. We had some serious connections concerning art and sex. We fit well together in those two respects and at the time we didn’t see, or didn’t choose to see, how well we fit together everywhere else.
We were graduating college and he wanted me to be his live-in fuck buddy. Yes, hilariously, we thought this was a legit and normal thing. We were so into our friendship and our possible creative collaborations that we truly believed that we could live under the same roof and not start a serious relationship.
Most people on campus knew about us, students in our classes made jokes, I think my photography teacher was repulsed, but all in all we were trying to live a very Bohemian lifestyle. Fuck and live, fuck and create. In hindsight, we were morons but give me a break, we were only 22.
After our graduation ceremony, my sex partner made an appearance, shook my dad's hand, posed in an awkward photo with me, and left for an after party. My mom said, “You’re moving to Chicago with him and you aren’t dating? I guess it’s a liberal thing…” and she wrote it off as me being spontaneous and “artsy.”
After I finished school, I spent a month abroad and finally realized we were in love. Isn’t separation always the crucial test?
For a few months after our move to Chicago, being in love still felt odd. Saying, “This is my boyfriend” didn’t come until much later. Coping with insecurities and jealousy was another hurdle that I wasn’t prepared for with my retired fuck buddy. He had become something deeper overnight even though he had always been there.
At this point my mother was thoroughly confused.
For everyone who has been in a fuck buddy agreement, their experiences are vastly different. It may be one-sided and you may get hurt, but I hope that if I ever fall in love with anyone again, we do it this way.
By creating such a close, often messy, and completely rambunctious beginning, we knew what to expect. We had fought before we had even dated. We dealt with those sometimes embarrassing bodily functions before our third time hooking up. He didn’t care about all of my acne when we showered together. We truly saw each other before anything else.
As it was happening, we thought we were only becoming close friends but now we realize that it contributed to the strong and desirable love that we currently celebrate. Our time together was by no means offensive or emotional taxing. Instead, I had a sexual freedom and an emotional independence that, thankfully, I still share with my boyfriend of two years to this day.
I unearthed a sexual soulmate, I discovered an artistic partner, and I get to live with him, too.