I’m a faithful Dear Abby reader – I often think her advice is spot on, and now and then, it even applies to a situation I’m dealing with.
This time, however, I thought her advice was awful. Egregiously awful.
And if the letter writer takes Abby’s advice, I believe the writer will regret it.
Here’s the letter:
Dear Abby: My husband died recently. I have been approached by a much younger man for a sexual relationship. I want to, but I feel he is too young. I’m 61, and he’s 37, the same age as my son. We have been friends for years, and I am unsure if I should change the relationship. I see no future in it except occasional sex. Should I drop it or consider the possibilities?
– Thinking About It in Ohio
Here’s Abby’s response:
Dear Thinking: Before dropping it, carefully consider the “possibilities.” At 37, this person is not a kid, he’s an adult. Something like this happened in my family years ago. A close friend of a relative’s son announced he had fallen in love with her. It took her a little while to adjust her thinking, but the result was a very happy marriage.
You dogged it, Abby.
Here are the most important words in the writer’s letter:
“for a sexual relationship.”
Abby, you somehow missed this, and instead went off the deep end about someone and so-and-so and yada yada they lived happily ever.
But the man wasn’t talking about happily ever after.
He wants a sexual relationship.
It might be for a night, a month, a year, multiple years.
But it’s a sexual relationship.
And instead of giving the guy credit for being honest, you encouraged the woman to have delusions of walking down the aisle and all that can precede it.
But…the man said “a sexual relationship,” and he meant exactly that.
Not cuddling and cozy conversation after sex. Not waking up together in the morning. Not sharing coffee and kisses before you start your separate days.
No romantic dinners in candle-lit restaurants where he says “I love your sense of humor,” admires her intelligence and enumerates the many things they have in common.
Not sending each other short, sweet “Thinking of you” texts with hearts and happy faces. Not romantic getaways to a tropical beach and sunset walks.
And definitely not this:
There’s a name for what the man wants, and even an acronym: FWB.
And there are rules for FWB.
Lots of rules.
And lots of articles about the rules:
“So you’re great mates who just both happen to be single at the same time, why not add a bit of ‘no strings attached’ fun into your friendship?
“In order for a friends with benefits (FWB) relationship to blossom, experts and our readers agree that there needs to be a strict set of rules. Here we discover the meaning of a friends with benefits relationship, how to find a pal and how to do it orgasmically well.”
A sampling of the rules:
“No warm and fuzzies. Before getting into FWB make sure you’re 100 percent fine with having sex without anything deeper.”
“Stay safe. You are not obligated to be exclusive in a FWB so it’s crucial to stay safe and STD-free.”
“Keep in mind what this is. You are not building an intimate relationship, but rather just having fun and enjoying one another physically.”
Abby, here’s the advice you should have given the woman:
Dear Thinking: You’ve been invited to have an FWB relationship – friends with benefits. Believe him when he says he wants a “sexual relationship.” Don’t dress it up, put a ribbon on it and pretend it’s something else. Don’t hope he’ll fall in love with you. And don’t think he’ll change, or worse – that you will get him to change. Go online and read about FWB and the rules entailed. Then, if you truly believe you can live within those parameters – go for it.