Here’s the scenario: it’s 2 a.m. on Friday night/Saturday morning, and you have your phone in hand. The question is, who are you going to text: the guy you met at the bar tonight or your friend Ben, who you’ve developed a “text if either of us wants to get laid” relationship with? Odds are, you’re texting the sure thing, and within minutes, Ben will be in your bed and you’ll be on a one-way train (hopefully) to Orgasmville.
In this scenario, most of us, if we are honest/horny, would text Ben – or as I refer to him, Backup Guy. And why not? It’s not messy because you both know where you stand (strict FWB). It requires little effort (a ponytail, no makeup, and undies that don’t match are fine – you’ve got no one to impress), and there’s absolutely no doubt as to how the night will end, as Backup Ben and his penis are a proven entity. A backup guy is a fantastic thing to have – sort of like that spare tire your dad always insisted you have in your trunk, despite the fact that it took up valuable shopping bag space. It’s always there when you need it, and it will do the job until you are able to go out and get the real thing.
But therein also lies the danger of the backup guy. What I’ve found is that oftentimes we become so comfortable with him and the ease of that non-relationship, we aren’t out there looking for the “real thing.” This makes having a backup guy perfect if you aren’t interested in dating right now, but for those of us that have a backup guy and want an actual boyfriend, it’s possible that Backup Ben is more of a hindrance than a help. Sure, he’s getting you through your dating dry spell, but is he also holding you back from making it rain (men)?
I had my own backup guy for a while, and it was great. I didn’t have to worry about meeting someone on Tinder or at the bar. I knew that when I got home from a night out, all I would have to do was text Backup Guy and the space in my bed would be filled without the effort of having to be engaging, charming, or witty. I mean, I think there were nights that we literally didn’t even talk. Easy, right?
The problem came when I started to want something more. No, not with Ben – as much as he was a great person and a good friend, it was pretty obvious from the get-go that we were compatible in no way except horizontally…and occasionally vertically. I wanted a boyfriend, or at the very least, a dude to have dinner with once in awhile. And I found that, while I had a backup guy option, I wasn’t putting any effort into looking for what I really wanted. I don’t in any way mean that I think I should have been going out with the sole intention of meeting guys – I hate when girls do that. What I mean is that I was literally making no effort. Because I’m the kind of girl that can only “see” (in whatever form that takes) one guy at a time, my dating apps developed cobwebs and since I kind-of-sorta-but-not-really had someone to fill that space, I rarely ever entered the numbers from the bar into my phone. So one day after Backup Ben had gone home and I was left to spend a Sunday by myself, I finally realized – if I wanted to get the real thing, it was time to ditch the backup.
It wasn’t easy to ditch Backup Ben. Easy sex is sort of addicting. When it’s really good and has no strings attached… well, let’s just say I fell off the no-backup wagon more than once. But once I finally broke the habit, I was able to stop letting my backup hold me back and actually put myself out there. I haven’t exactly found Prince Charming yet. I’ve kissed a lot of frogs, and that’s okay. At least I’m out there and open to meeting new people. As for Backup Ben, we are still friends, except now we hang out in daylight hours in public places. Old habits die hard, you know?.