Advice

Miss Information: I slept with my best friend. Why’s he acting so weird?

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Have a question? Email erin@nerve.com. Letters may be edited for length, content and clarity.

Dear Miss Information,

I’m a thirty-year-old divorcee. I’ve been having weekly flings with my twenty-three-year-old Neighbor Boy and it’s been great. Convenient and right across the street — the sexual equivalent of 7-11. This has been going on for about six months. I ended it last weekend for a few reasons:

1. He was uptight about other guys visiting me.

2. He was trying to develop a relationship, “Let’s take your kid to the park!” etc.

3. He makes plans and then shows up hours late. Big issue for me. I have a toddler and can’t be up all hours of the night with him. Neighbor Boy knows this, but evidently doesn’t care.

He was a no-show yet again last Friday night. After waiting an hour and a half, I sent him this message: “Time’s UP, I am so done with you.” To which he responded (twenty minutes later), “I just got off work.” He couldn’t have mentioned that when he made our dirty little arrangement earlier that day?

It’s been a week with no communication on either end. I am ready to forgive, forget, and get back in bed. Do I bite the bullet and invite him over or should I wait for him to come knocking? I don’t want to lose the power I have in this relationship. I could always just say screw it and blow the dust off my vibrator, because he was acting kind of weird anyway. — Not Quite A Cougar

Dear Not Quite A Cougar,

Flaky booty calls are the worst. It’s silly to expect reliable service, yet the service they provide is vital. You can get mad all you want at the electric company but sooner or later you’re going to want to operate your hair dryer.

How do you lay down rules when there aren’t supposed to be any rules? How do you ask for consideration and consistency without giving would-be clingers the wrong idea?

It seems to me Neighbor Boy likes you. Really likes you. The missed appointments and no-shows are, of course, inconsistent with that, but I have a few theories:

1. He knows you’re not taking this seriously, and thinks you’re as low maintenance logistically as you are emotionally.

2. He knows you’re not taking this seriously, is upset about that, and is trying to win you over by acting like an attention-seeking jerkward. (P.S. It’s working, hon.)

3. He’s a flakester. Age has nothing to do with it. He’ll probably stay Croissanwich-like until he’s long past forty.

Let me ask you this: How hot is he? How open to change? How much do you value the services of this vendor? If I were you, I’d swallow my pride and give Neighbor Boy a call. Apologize for the text and be easygoing about hook-up logistics until you’ve made your initial amends. Once you’re back in a groove, throw down your rules, let him establish some of his own and give him one more chance to get it right. If he shines you, who cares? Your self-esteem doesn’t ride on some unreliable youngster. I know you don’t want him on picnics with the kiddies, but maybe you could go out for coffee one morning afterwards? Throw him an emo-bone. Some booty calls need that little bit of affection before they’ll go to the ends of the earth for you.

Dear Miss Information,

I’ve known my best friend for a few years. I recently spent the night at his house and we ended up having sex. To me, it seems like he became a little distant after it happened. I get “Hi” and “Bye” and that’s it. We still talk, and I know it wasn’t bad because he asked if it would happen again. But he’s acting weird. What could it be and what should I do? — Best Friend Lost

Dear Best Friend Lost,

I’m no Heidi and Spencer, but I’m going say it was probably the sex. Human beings are wired towards equilibrium. We’re most comfortable in situations where we know what to expect. Sex takes away that assurance — you never know whether a person is going to assume you’re a couple just because you did the dirty or whether they’re going to treat it like another wild night out. Once sex is part of the equation, you can try to play normal all you want, but eventually you start reading into every little interaction. Is she calling me as much as she was before? Why is he so chatty with that roller derby chick on Facebook? Look at your own feelings. Maybe you want a relationship but only if he wants a relationship too. It’s easy to be rejected by some schmuck you met on Two-Dollar-Shot-Night. Not so when he’s one of the few people you like being with.

Before you do anything, Best Friend Lost, I’d take an objective look at what’s happened since you guys screwed. Actual interactions and conversations, emails and texts. Concrete data. It’s possible that things are way more normal than you think they are. Your insecurity may be coloring your opinion. Your letter talks about what he may or may not be feeling, but what do you want? A fuck friend? A boyfriend? A time machine so you can go back and undo what’s been done?

Once you know that, it’ll be easier to move ahead. A friends-with-benefits situation can be nurtured with one part denial and two parts alcohol, but if you’re interested in commitment, you’ll have to have a little talk. Avoidance is rarely a good omen, so don’t be surprised if he dodges confrontation as well. But at least you’ll get the subject out in the open. Then the friendship can swing back towards that equilibrium once more.

Have you ever slept with your best friend, reader? How did you deal with the fallout? Can a friendship survive a tumble in the sack?