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Over-Attached to a ‘Friend-with-Benefits’

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I am a male, and so is he. We were both teenagers, one apparently experimenting and the other finding his sexuality. It took years before we kissed. We were around 13-14 at the time.

Every weekend after I was at his, two teenagers fumbling around and discovering themselves. I think I always loved him, right from the start, but never realised it. We parted ways for a few years, but since we attend the same school, and had the same friends, we became close 2 years later.

Once again, albeit older (both 16), we started sexual interactions again. We had only been /slightly/ close for <1 week until it started. This time it was only me doing things to him, with nothing in return. It wasn’t ideal – but I loved him; I would do anything for him. I told him that I was gay, and being the genuine person he is, he was totally accepting. He told me he felt only this way about me: 1 boy alone. But he said he did not love me, and that he felt guilty just using me – but I kept it going.

Just below the surface of his exterior personality, if you are looking just hard enough in the right places, you can see that he has an utterly dominant disposition about him.

He broke it off with me after another few weeks of a one-way sexual arrangement. I still love him, it has been 5-6 months. My exams are failing because of him. I am utterly infatuated after only a small lust. I have had this problem in the past, becoming overly obsessed with only a slight friendship and it always ensures it fails.

He was, and currently is, the only person to have ever understood me. I am so alone in this world, even more-so without him. As cliché as it is: nobody truly understands me.

He left me, after having sexually used me for a few weeks, for a girl. I have turned to alcohol, and 2 particular drugs to escape him. He is in my dreams; my waking thoughts; my vision; my life. I am overly attached to a lustful, borderline abusive, non-existent relationship. My anxiety is through the roof, I talk to nobody and have deleted all social media purposely. I like being alone, but this loneliness isn’t what I want. I want to be around only one: X.

What can I do? (From Northern Ireland)

Over-Attached to a ‘Friend-with-Benefits’

Answered by on -


This is a powerful question — thank you for asking it. Many people mistake a person’s potential for their reality. It seems clear that you are drawn to what could be in him but is not. The fantasy that this is a healthy love needs to be challenged directly. The relationship only works because it is lopsided. The more you do, the less he has to. As you rightly pointed out, this has never worked for you in the past and is not likely to work out now. The work you need to do is on grieving. Grieving adequately this misperception is essential. The longer you isolate yourself the worse it gets.

I would highly recommend you find a number of social situations to engage yourself in. Right now, you’re looking to be with as many people as possible — not sexually, but socially. The work is on grieving and learning to engage with someone properly. This has to be done in action — through events. Simply talking about it won’t provide the shift. I would try this approach on your own for a little while, but don’t be afraid to ask for some professional help if your own efforts have been paid off.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

Over-Attached to a ‘Friend-with-Benefits’

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2018). Over-Attached to a ‘Friend-with-Benefits’. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 24, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 15 Jul 2015)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
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