FWB – Challenge or people pleasing?


In listening to this month’s lesson on Challenges that Change us, I found myself thinking about my most recent ex. We had a great, intense, enjoyable sexual connection, but decided to end things because I am ready to explore a deeper commitment, and he isn’t – 7 months sober and separated, and I believe he’s too emotional about that to get involved, and I dont’ want to chase that in someone who isn’t ready.
We made a connection over kinks that has been very powerful and empowering for me, and healing, and I want to explore that more deeply. What keeps coming up for me is this idea that a lover should also be a best friend, confidant, support system, etc. He is not that, will never be fully that even in the event that he becomes ready to delve deeper and we both decide to delve deeper together. That I attach emotions to sex in a conventional way is not a thought I’m sure I want to keep – while I want to be valued as a human being, i’m not sure if my thoughts around being devalued are my own, or a continuation of shame stories from growing up in a religious home and community. I’m currently exploring polyamory, which is how I met him, and what I like about the lifestyle is that not one person has to meet every need..
In the end, we are friends, and I’d be OK with just being friends. We both want to explore our kinks more deeply with each other, and that for its part is deeply fulfilling. Thoughts keep coming up, however, when the confidant/support system pieces don’t consistently happen. In a way, that’s seeking validation that I should be able to provide myself, but I’m worried I’m just resorting to people pleasing behavior so I don’t have to let him go.
In many ways, I think facing the challenges this situation I’m choosing to stay in – basically a good, respectful friendship with sex – are helping me get closer to who I want to become – a person who shows up for myself and faces thoughts around jealousy in relationships, and enjoys people for who they are, letting them be who they are. But I’m still afraid I’m just kidding myself.
How can I cut through the emotional muck and decide what I really want?