From Cuddle Buddy to Girlfriend: A How-To Guide

black-lesbian-couple1 Written by Z. Amara Perri

Being a cuddle buddy has its perks. I think I had one a couple years ago, but someone caught feelings. Someone always catches feelings in situations like that. I said I think I had one because I don’t remember looking for one or even going through the process of applying for one.

For those who are not clear on the definition, a cuddle buddy or a friend with benefits (FWB) or a fuck buddy is an attractive friend you spend nights with, without the hassles or perks of a relationship. Most of the time there is no-strings attached sex. That’s why it’s critical that people are attracted to their cuddle buddies. Generally, people go hunting for cuddle buddies right before it gets cold. If you live anywhere in the Northeast, Midwest, Canada or the North Pole, having a warm body next to you during winter is damn near required by state law.

Cuddle buddies can also be useful during the warmer months when you’re getting over an ex or just don’t feel ready for another relationship. Some people may look down on the cuddle buddy arrangement, but I don’t. Hell, two consenting adults should be free to decide how they want to engage in their private lives. It’s none of my business (sips tea).

What I love about the cuddle buddy arrangement is that the people involved generally have better communication than those couples who are actually in relationships. They generally talk and lay the ground rules about what is expected from the relationship right up front (such as don’t just show up at my place in the daylight), which cuts down on confusion and hurt feelings. The cuddle buddy is not expected to be possessive if the other has other women in her life. The cuddle buddy is not expected to meet family or friends, go on dates or pretend she doesn’t find other women attractive. Anyway, sometimes cuddle buddy arrangements can actually morph into an emotional relationship. Like I said people catch feelings. It happens. Especially with lesbians, we can be so damn emotional. The best part is when those feelings are mutual. When that happens, these tips can ease the transition:

  1. Admit that your feelings have changed. It might be scary, but talk to your cuddle buddy about your changing feelings. If you don’t, it’ll just make things awkward when you get jealous about who, besides you, she’s spending time with.
  2. Don’t just spring the news on her while you’re in bed. Take her out to a coffee shop or to a park—someplace neutral. Nothing’s worse than having this conversation at either of your homes. It’ll be harder to get away if the feelings are not mutual.
  3. Be very selective about timing. It can be difficult to find someone you are sexually compatible with and actually like as a person, so be strategic about rocking the boat. If you are immensely enjoying the benefits that your cuddle buddy comes with and there are still two more months of winter, don’t rock the boat. Tell her about your desire for an upgrade in the spring.
  4. If she admits to wanting to be more than sex buddies, then yay! But take things slowly! Talk to her about what being more than a cuddle buddy means. This might not mean you’re headed for a trip down the aisle. Discuss your expectations openly.
  5. Come out of the closet. The great thing about cuddle buddies is that they can be kept to one corner of your life. There was no need to integrate her into other areas of your life. But now that you’re officially dating, it’s time to introduce her to your friends and family as the woman you’re dating.
  6. Stop dating/sleeping with other women. Obviously. Unless you’re both into open or poly relationships.
  7. Spend time together in real life. When you were just cuddle buddies, you probably only saw each other under the cover of night or only when it was convenient. Now that you’re dating, you need to include her in your real life. If you only saw each other on weekends because you were busy at work, invite her over on hump day so you two can relax and watch TV together. If you’ve got schoolwork or a business you’re running, invite her to join you at the library so you can work side by side. If you’re used to inviting her over after the kids are in bed, ask her to join you at the playground or at a school activity so they can slowly get to know her.
  8. If she doesn’t want to be more than sex buddies, she’s a terrible human being! (Just kidding!) You should end the cuddle buddy arrangement immediately (Not kidding!). Your feelings will only grow and you’ll only get upset to know that she still wants to have sex with you, but doesn’t want to put a ring on it. Body pillows and a vibrator may not be great substitutes for your cuddle buddy, but they definitely help ease the pain.

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