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Why Do So Many Women Settle For Friends With Benefits?

Here's an interesting Reddit post I thought would make for a good discussion.

I read this subreddit regularly and a large percent of the female posts are about their "FWBs" and asking how they can turn them into relationships or about what to do if they're getting feelings.
We live in an era where most men are struggling to get a serious match or like online. COVID has destroyed any real life opportunities. Even before COVID studies were showing 1/3 young men in America are now celibate. The most common experience for most men online is zero dates at all or maybe 1-3 per year.
I struggle to get any matches/likes/conversations at all. The notion that I would have the capacity to just tell women "I'm just going to have sex with you and that's all" and they'd be okay with that is so foreign I can't even imagine it.
Who are these guys women are having all these FWBs with? Are women quite literally forming harems around all the Chris Hemsworth tall white handsome guys in each city and then just having sex with them one after another in open "FWB" relationships?

So, let's first address the "this is why dating is so hard for men" aspect of this post. That way of thinking is why so many people - men and women - struggle with on and offline dating. They think they have it worse than others. This guy is no different than the women who complain that dating apps are full of nothing but men looking for sex, married men, etc. In both cases, the people whinging about the dearth of quality matches are victims of their own underlying issues and personal choices. The over-all problem isn't the online dating platform itself, but the distorted realities of many that use it. The dating playing filed is wildly uneven for the large majority of users. Sure, there's that 10% of super conventionally attractive people who don't have to do much work to get matches.

Then there's the rest of us.

Now let's attack his actual questions, starting with why so many women get involved in these no strings/casual entanglements in the first place. If you hang around enough online forums about dating, you'll see a lot of "well-meaning" insights about these women that usually involves accusing them of having low self-esteem. That's a reductive hot take. These situations - like most - usually aren't as cut and dry.

Here are the main reasons this happens:

  • They've been taken in by so many liars they reward honesty - Many women find it refreshing when a man is upfront about only wanting casual sex and nothing else. They think it speaks highly of the man's character, when really it just means the man doesn't care if they offend. There's nothing attractive about being brutally honest. It's indicative of someone with no capacity for empathy and is usually a characteristic of a physically or emotionally abusive partner.

  • They admire the man's confidence - Again, this is a misconception. A man isn't being confident by communicating his interest in casual sex-only arrangements unprompted, he's being arrogant. Only an arrogant person would wield their brutal honesty like Neegan's bat and expect positive results. This is not to be confused with two people having an open discussion about expectations and one person says they're not looking for anything serious. I'm talking about people who bluntly admit they are only interested in a certain person for sex and nothing more. Yikes.

  • There's some internalized misogyny at work - If a guy doesn't want to commit, it's often assumed that's because he's dating other women. A drive to compete with these women and be the one to whom he commits sometimes drives women to stick these scenarios out longer than they should.

  • They think the guy will change his mind - A lot of us hope against hope when we really want something. In this specific instance, the women aren't just crossing their fingers or wishing on a star. They are actively being led to believe the man might change his mind because they guy behaves in a way that is contradictory to his words. Make no mistake, these men will act like a boyfriend and do all the things a boyfriend does, but when confronted about this behavior, they'll gaslight the woman into thinking she's reading too much in to his behavior.

  • They're only interested in casual sex, too - Yes, my dude, many women are perfectly okay with sex without commitment.

  • They're emotionally unavailable and attract or are drawn to men who are the same - Dating apps are overflowing with people with various attachment challenges. Most people can go their whole life without knowing their issues with finding a healthy partner date back to relationships with their primary caregivers.

Now for the second question: How do so many men successfully maintain a gaggle of sex partners without ever having to commit to any of them?

I happen to think the idea that there's men out there who maintain some roster of sexual partners is a trope. Sure, it's possible, but I think a huge portion of the stories written online by dudes bragging about all the sex they're having with different women are lies.

Stories on sites like Medium and in comments on Reddit are opportunities for people to live out fantasies or boost their own ego. That's why you can't base your perception of a situation on what you read on the internet. When it comes to dating stories, nothing is ever what it seems.

We like to blame other people's shortcomings for why we can't find a partner. His way of handling the constant rejection is to find flaws with those rejecting him. We create these false narratives to avoid looking within and admitting our perception of ourselves and others might be slightly out of whack. There's a great quote that I think sums up why so many people have a difficult time finding a relationship.

What screws us up most in life in the picture in our head of how it's supposed to be. - Anonymous.

We reject people because they don't fit an image in our head. We cling to fantasies thinking anything less is settling, unaware we're basing those fantasies on a reality that doesn't exist.

The man who wrote this Reddit post is complaining about the women who fall for sleazy hook-up dudes, but he never stops to wonder why those are the women he pursues in the first place. He's so confounded by the women's behavior that he never analyzes his own. The question isn't why do women fall for men who use them for sex but rather why does he appear to consistently pursue women that don't want him?

Don't try and figure out why other people do what they do. Instead, focus on your own motivations. That self-awareness is what will help you side-step the people who will drag you down and lead you to the person you want to meet.

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