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Friends Without Benefits

By: The 4-Way Panel

Dear 4-Way
,
I recently started hanging out again with a woman I used to date. We mutually decided that we wanted to be friends—nothing more. I really enjoy spending time with her and I know she feels the same. My problem is that when she mentions other women she’s gone on dates with or is interested in, I feel jealous, and that confuses me. Do these feelings of jealousy mean I still have more-than-friendship feelings for her? If so, should I still hang out with her? I thought my romantic feelings were gone, but I can’t imagine what else would be causing me to feel jealous. Any thoughts?—BJ, San Francisco, CA

  The gay woman’s perspective: Jody Fischer

Friends and nothing more. Hmmmm. In my life, there is nothing more important than friendships.

BJ, there are many kinds of love: romantic, family, and friends. Don’t trivialize the deep feelings that come along with friendship. Just because you’re not attracted to one another doesn’t mean that you don’t value the connection and want to spend time together.

As for the jealousy thing (evil monster that it is), friendship jealousy is real. I’ve been jealous of my straight and gay guy friends when they start dating someone and we spend less time together. Does that mean that I want to date these guys? I really don’t think so. Yet there’s a deep intimacy I have with my friends—men and women alike—and when they go off and form bonds with others, it can be tough.

I wonder what else you have going on in your life? If you’re single and she’s dating, I can see where issues could arise. I don’t know how long you dated, how close the two of you are, or if you were friends first. But I do know that when you date, you spend a lot of time together. Knowing that she’s doing that with someone other than you can make you feel your loneliness even more, especially when you add in the fact that in the lesbian world, we seem to have a tough time differentiating friendship-intimacy from lover-intimacy.

This is what I’ve learned: If you lead a life where you have good friends (not just her) who love and support you, not only will your jealousy subside, but you will have a pretty darn good life.

Check back tomorrow for the straight woman's perspective by Rebecca Brown. 

The 4-Way is published monthly. If you have a question for our 4-Way panel, please send it to them in care of the editor at rbrown@realgirlsmedia.com. To read more of The 4-Way columns or to listen to our podcasts, visit The 4-Way now.