Here's the Thing: How to Stop Sleeping With Someone

🦃 WELCOME BACK

First of all!!! Welcome back! I hope you had a a lot of stuffing, which is the best part of Thanksgiving and perhaps the whole year. We (the world) should honestly do a monthly party where we just eat stuffing !!! A wet bread party, babbbyyyy!!! Turkey sucks and only the sides are good. Thank you. This is my TEDTalk. 🦃

Let’s get back to solving peoples’ lives. (JK!!!!!)

A PERFECT SWEET ANGEL:

So a few months ago I lost my job, and started hanging out a little bit with a former co-worker. She then lost her job, too, so because we both had a lot of free time we started hanging out more and more. She also became pretty depressed and I was helping her get keep her life together (basically picked her up by the scruff of the neck and got her to pay her bills, sign up for EI, do some applications, etc).

At a certain point, while watching tv she kind of snuggled up to me. As someone who was also emotionally starved, I was happy to snuggle. Not long after she started kissing, and while I didn't really want to, I was fine either way and I know women sometimes just like to make out.

I should state that I am aware that at this point I should have clarified and set my boundaries. After this, I won't go into details, but some things happened and I ended up following my body's instinct instead of what I wanted to do. It's not like I super regret it or feel gross or what have you, but I feel similar to how I felt when I told a different friend I'd help volunteer with her organization and she took that to mean I'd work every event and join the board of directors.

My coworker seems to be getting more infatuated, saying things like I'm the first person she's felt comfortable around nude, that all she's ever wanted is someone who doesn't judge her, that no one she's slept with has ever called her pretty or beautiful before... I would like to back out, but I don't want to come across as either "I was using you and now I'm done with you" or "I was just giving you a pity f*** and I'm tired of it"

TL:DR I accidentally slept with a friend who I didn't really want to and am not really attracted to, but I don't want to ruin the friendship. How can I let her down gently?

This has absolutely NOTHING to do with this letter; I’m just thinking about stuffing again. I might just make all the photos on Here’s the Thing photos of stuffing because I love it so much. YOU GUYS.

SOPHIA:

NOT TO WORRY MY LOVE!! We will handle this!!! This is a very common, normal situation and what you’re trying to say is very easy to convey.

Now, that isn’t to say that the situation doesn’t suck for both of you. It would be tight as fucking hell if every time one person was interested in someone, the other person liked them back exactly equally and we all just matched up with whomever and went our our way with life. (There would probably be very few books/movies/tv shows, but it would be a lot chiller). This also isn’t to say that if she isn’t immediately and forever Totally Cool about you not wanting to be with her Like That that she is not your friend and she’s a bad person.

Here’s what you need to do: invite her over to hang out just like you guys did before. (Or if she’s the one to do the invites usually, let her. Whatever. Just be normal). You can also do this via text if you’re good at texting (BE HONEST!!!) and if you two have that kind of texting relationship (BE HONEST!!!). The point is to play things normal but also to be honest. Normal and honest. Chill and truthful. That is the vibe.

The good news: You have the power to set the tone. To not make this embarrassing or a whole production. You have a whole lot more power than you think to make the decision for both of you that this is Not A Massive Rejection, this is just Not Going to Happen Again, but In a Chill Way. Set that tone and when you do, you invite the other person to match it. It lets them save face. You come in with the vibe, “Hey this isn’t a big deal, but we can’t make out anymore because that’s my boundary. Let’s be friends still because I truly believe that this will change very little” which then allows the other person to be like, “Oh, cool cool got it. Yeah we can be chill. We’ll laugh about this in a few years.” EVEN IF LATER THAT NIGHT THEY CRY IN THEIR CAR ABOUT IT. Setting the tone well when you’re breaking bad news is the best super power in the entire world. USE IT!!! If you need to fake a chill vibe, fake it! If you need to be a little self-deprecating like, “I’m probably making too big of a deal out of this so feel free to make fun of me for the whole emotional speech I’m about to do, but basically I just wanted to let you know that I’d like us to be friends, but we can’t make out / have sex anymore because that’s not where I’m at. ”

The bad news: Things might change. It is very, very difficult to tell someone you don’t want to sleep with them. I don’t know what your reason is precisely— I’m not sure if it’s simply not being attracted or if you’re in a weird place about romance. I have no idea but it doesn’t matter BECAUSE: You don’t need a reason to not want to have sex with someone! EVER!!!! You don’t have to explain to her or justify your choice. Try your hardest when you talk to her to use definitive phrasing. Not, “I don’t think we should have sex again.” But, “We can’t have sex again because that’s my boundary.” It feels a lot more painful in the moment, but it hurts less long term. Think of it as resetting a broken bone. It’s painful, but you have to put it in the right place for it to heal (I think. I don’t really know anything about broken bones. I’m not a fucking doctor nerd).

Here’s what I would say, if I were you.

✨Please say it in your own words because those words will be honest and that will shine through!!!✨

“Deborah, I want to be totally open with you because we’re great friends. I really, really liked making out/having sex with you but I’m not ready to do that again. I’m not trying to break this to you like I think my dick god’s gift to earth or anything, I just wanted to set the expectations that I want to be your friend but that I don’t want to hook up again. I hope that this doesn’t make things weird, but if you need time away from me or if you feel weird about it, I totally understand. I did not in anyway plan to sleep with you once and then not again. I was into it at the time and I don’t want you to feel like this is about regret or anything like that. It was great and this decision is about me and what I need.”

This person requires honesty and respect. They are a kind, good person just like you. So you’re going to do the brave thing. And it will be ok. It might not be ok right away, it might taint things between you two forever. She may feel like you two can’t ever go back to being friends again because it hurts too much, or because you remind her of rejection.

That’s ok!!!!!!!!! It isn’t cruel that you had sex with someone and now no longer want to. That is allowed.

NOTES FOR THE FUTURE:

  1. FIRSTLY: Women don’t just sometimes like to make out. !~!! WHAT THE FUCK.

  2. MEN ALSO LIKE TO MAKE OUT.

  3. SOME WOMEN DON’T LIKE TO MAKE OUT.

  4. MAKING OUT MEANS SOMETHING TO A WHOLE LOT OF PEOPLE, REGARDLESS OF GENDER / SEXUAL ORIENTATION.

  5. You should know, from here on out that making out means something to people. Even if that something is “Oh, this is a fun person to make out with. We could do it again.” It’s the same way shaking hands means something. Or slapping someone means something. And they don’t always mean the same things to the same people!!! Slapping your little brother when you’re 4 years old is vastly different than slapping a bank teller at 29.

  6. You might want to learn how to say no in the moment. It is VERY DIFFICULT to put the brakes on something fun. It sucks ass!!!! Practice saying things like: “Hey, I’m sorry. I’m not up for that.” (Not that you need to be sorry!) or even just “Hhaha no thanks ahaha” while backing away. It’s not going to be pretty to turn someone down, but you can’t go around having sex that you don’t actually want to have. That’s not very kind to yourself.

ASK A QUESTION!

❤️❤️❤️NOTE: because so many sweetie pies have been asking questions, it can take up to a month or two to answer them. I’M SORRY. I try to answer “urgent” / timely letters ASAP and more general questions later. IF I HAVEN’T GOTTEN TO YOURS, PLEASE FEEL FREE TO RESEND!!! I DON’T MIND AT ALL!!!❤️❤️❤️


Sophia Benoit writes this very newsletter; she also writes about sex & relationships for GQ, tries to write about Fleetwood Mac for GQ, avoids writing by tweeting at @1followernodad, works full-time as a researcher for Lights Out With David Spade, and has had bylines in The Guardian, Reductress, Refinery29, Allure, and The Cut. You can reach her or yell at her at 1followernodad@substack.com.