Dear Life Matters,

I’m a 19-year-old girl of East Indian and African decent. I had a daughter recently and her dad, also 19 and of East Indian descent, got deported before I even found out I was pregnant. He asked me to come to his country and marry him, but I have to wait a few months. We have also been on and off due to his infidelity.

Meanwhile this other guy and I started getting close. The man I was supposed to marry had a girlfriend who called me: he said he would explain but went M.I.A. for six weeks.

During this time my guy friend started coming over more and more. He knows that I like him and I was starting to get over my child’s father. He liked me too but he said that he wasn’t ready for a relationship so we just remained friends. Then we started becoming friends with benefits. We started and it was amazing, but he refused to kiss me.

Then one day I acted strange because I realized my emotions were getting out of control. He was really concerned about me and kept asking me what was on my mind. I should have told him that it felt really bad to me, but instead I acted like a total jerk and then told him we should call off our arrangement. He seemed totally cool with it. We talked a couple of times after that and then he cut me off! He told me how I made him feel really bad that day and he is now saying he doesn’t want to be friends anymore.

My guy friends say that it looks like he started getting feelings for me and decided to bolt. He is not the type of guy to just cut me off because he got what he wanted; I’m the second girl he ever had sex with.

But why not be friends? He keeps acting as if I offended him and keeps saying he should just disappear. I’m really torn up about this. I need advice. Please help me understand why he is behaving this way and what I can do to get us back to being friends.


Torn up


Dear Torn up,

I understand why you are feeling bad. Your situation is confusing and you obviously became attached to your “friend with benefits.”

I am not so sure this is an idea that really works so well. Open marriages end, for the most part, in divorce or in need of serious counseling. Very few pulled that off.

Friends are perhaps a little less emotionally involved, at least in the beginning, but sex is a very intimate act. There are multiple reasons why this might be true, but generally speaking women get attached when they have sex. Some men do too but they can have sex much more freely without feeling an attachment.

Your friend may have been avoiding feelings by not kissing you or it may be an indication that he never had them. It may have been strictly sex for him.

From your description, it does sound like he is sensitive and if he says you upset him and made him feel like he should disappear, then he must have gotten hurt. If you can trust your other guy friends to tell you the truth, then the messages he sent must have said quite a lot for them to conclude that he was developing feelings and bolted when he got too close or got hurt.

However, don’t forget that there is also the pending husband that might make him keep his distance. Perhaps he cannot be just friends? Once you have been intimate, it’s difficult to go back.

It really sounds to me like you need to get yourself straightened out a bit. What is it that you really want? What does sex mean to you? Are you being cautious enough with both yourself and sex? You already are a single mother at 19; not an easy task. I can’t help but wonder if you were having safe sex?

There are so many sexually transmitted diseases out there now and also, there has been a 200 percent increase in new HIV cases for your age group in the U.S.

I really recommend that you think seriously about who you are and what you want. When you are clear about this, then perhaps you can approach your guy friend again if he is still someone you want to be with. He may also trust an involvement with you more at this point.

Good luck. Hope this helps.


Dr. JoAnne Barge is a licensed psychologist and marriage and family therapist with offices in Brentwood. Visit her at or send your anonymous questions to Got something on your mind? Let us help with your life matters — because it does.


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