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Just Friends With Benefits, Or Could It Be More?

How do I know where we stand?
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Dear KitschMix,

Hey was just wondering if I could get some advice. I’m crazy for this girl. We’ve been friends since high school, so about 10 years.

The past 12 months we have spent some amazing times together and we went through her dad passing away and then she moved away and then came back.

We have been intimate a few times. She just came to celebrate my birthday and she met my whole family and went out of her way to make sure my parents interacted with her.

How do I know if she feels for me like I do her, without just coming out and asking? There are things she does like take me to places that are special to her etc., but I just don’t want to be making it all up in my head. Help?

Well, reader, if I had to guess, I would say this sounds like a relationship – but that doesn’t mean your lover feels the same way. Any guesses I could take would be just that – guesses – and the only way to really know is to ask her. The good news is, there’s enough information here that I’m pretty sure the answer won’t be unexpected. But, there is always a chance that the two of you aren’t on the same footing.

It sounds to me that, if she doesn’t consider it a relationship already, she might want to, but with the passing of her dad, she’s likely to be in a messy place. It’s always hard when you lose someone close to you, and if she’s not out to her family, it could add extra layers of guilt. This isn’t necessarily her experience, though – people handle loss and pain differently, and there really is no right or wrong answer (as long as she’s not trying to hurt others to lessen her own pain – this is never OK).

I understand your hesitation to ask, though; really, I do. Some people won’t ever consider something a relationship, and technically that’s perfectly fine. Sure, it might suck for those of us who want to put an official title on where we are, but it’s important to realize that not everyone feels that way.  I hope that the two of you can find a happy solution that works for both of you, but that’s not necessarily the case – so you need to prepare yourself for that possibility.

If you really don’t feel comfortable asking – but you’re not exactly shy, per se – you could try telling her how you feel, and what you want, instead of asking her how she feels. Yes, you will be setting yourself up for the possibility of rejection – but your situation doesn’t sound like that’s the case. I think worst case scenario, you’ll get a response of “I’m just not ready yet.”

I’m the type of person who won’t put a label on things until I’m 100% sure how I feel. Sometimes, this means I’m ready before the other person is, but other cases (like with my current partner) it means that I’m not ready to call it a relationship until it’s been exclusive for months already and I picture a good future with her. This means that I’ve dated a bunch of girls, but only had a few girlfriends. Personally, I think if everyone took this approach, there would be a lot less cheating, but not everyone looks at relationships the same way, and that’s OK.

For me, it’s often a lot easier to ask how someone else feels than it is to discuss how I feel. If I were in your shoes, I’d probably just ask. Over text message. Because I’m really shy. But whatever sounds best for you is what’s right for you – just remember that a stranger can’t read her mind for you, nor is there any way for you to read her mind. Relationships are built on communication, so you need to find a way to communicate with her about your situation and work out the details together.


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Author
Barbara is a 26-year-old lesbian living in California with her partner (and their “fur babies” - an adorably chubby puppy named Porkchop and a ball python named Ru). In the spare time she pretends to have, she enjoys horror movies, music of all varieties, reading, and complaining about the weather.

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