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[QUOTE=Hiya] But even though I guess I still want him as a friend, I don't really feel like he treats me or sees me as friend. i.e. he never calls just to say hi or never wants to really talk to me when I call just to see how he's doing. The only time he ever calls me is when he needs a favor or something. And when we do talk, he is rather crude, asking me perverted questions and being sexually crass. I guess I set myself up for this by the "benefits" but he knows I'm a good girl and don't that with just anyone, and that I only fooled around with him because I was just trying anything I could think of the numb this blinding, soul crushing pain I feel over my ex every day. So I feel sort of like a hypocrite by taking a stand now, but I really feel I deserve to be treated with more respect than that. I want to put my foot down and tell him I don't want to be spoken to like that anymore, but I know he'll just say he's only kidding and I need to lighten up and get a sense of humor.[/QUOTE]

Hi Hiya, I'm really sorry to hear this is causing you stress and unhappiness. I can remember numerous other occasions where this FFWB has aroused a similar reaction in you, when you have been pretty sure you were no longer going maintain a relationship with him. I've always believed that if someone you know has more of an overall negative than positive impact on you, it's best to cut ties and move on without them in their life. It doesn't seem that your FFWB brings much of anything to your life other than reminding you of your ex, chastising you for not being over your ex, asking you for favors, and generally making you feel used, unappreciated, and sad. So I'm inclined to say that this should be the time you stick to your urge to cut him out of your life for good, but of course that's easier for me to say than you to follow through on, and I can certainly understand your reluctance to cut ties to one of the few people you consider a real-life friend. The best advice I can give you as far as how to proceed with FFWB is to think back on how he's effected your life both positively and negatively and evaluate which category dominates, then go with your gut in deciding how to handle him in the future.

[QUOTE=Hiya]It's not that I'm jealous. I have absolutely no desire for a romantic relationship with this guy, and I certainly never made any promises so I'm not making any demands. He's free to date, sleep with, fall in love with whomever he wants. I just don't know why it's so hard for people to treat me with any kind of respect when I see those same people bend over backwards to treat other people with all kinds of kindness and respect. This plus the fact that when he goes off on his rants about his church and God, and because I worship my own way in my own Catholic church and have my own views, he says I'm selfish, ignorant, blind, etc because I don't experience and worship God the exact same way he does.[/QUOTE]

Iím not quite sure I understand what his new crush has to do with your feelings toward him. I could see if he was sleeping with her with no regard for her boyfriendís feelings, but he seems to be restraining himself from crossing any really inappropriate line. She is the one whose behavior would bother me if I was in your position, but itís not uncommon that people get caught in between two potential love interests without being able to make any immediate, firm decisions and follow through on their choice. Iím not proud to say Iíve found myself in her situation several times in the past, but I donít think it makes either her or your FFWB so despicable that it should play a role in your considerations of whether you want him to continue to be part of your life.

You are well aware of how I feel about religion, and one of the main reasons I vigilantly avoid religious people is because I hate the way they assume that everything they believe is 100% correct and that anyone who disagrees with them on any point is not just wrong, but intellectually and morally inferior. I have yet to encounter a religion that doesnít encourage its followers to assume that they are right in everything they believe and that everyone who sees things differently is blind and ignorant. Because of this attitude on the part of religion and religious followers, the world has a long history of war, genocide, torture, and prejudiceÖand on a smaller scale, the vast majority of ignorance, hatred, and discrimination Iíve seen and learned about has stemmed from religious differences. Because of this and the moral intolerance and hypocrisy religion inculcates in its believers, Iíve made a concerted effort to limit my relationships and friendships to those who donít subscribe to what I consider to be ridiculous and illogical religious belief systems. Both because I save my intellectual respect for people who view the world through a lens of reason and logic and because Iíve found atheists and agnostics to be more accepting than religious people, Iíve been very firm about avoiding all but a select few unusually tolerant, open-minded, and intelligent religious people as friends and boyfriends.

This choice has served me extremely well throughout my life, because with very few exceptions (all involving girls who were more religious than I would have liked), Iíve had no relationships with people who were selfish, disrespectful, insincere, hypocritical, judgmental, dishonest. I consider myself very fortunate never to have had a boyfriend deceive me or hurt me or to part with any as anything other than friends with a great deal of mutual respect and affection. So, Iíd suggest keeping this in mind when considering whether a potential friend or romantic interest is likely to have a good or bad impact on your life and self-esteem. I really donít think your FFWB has had a positive effect on you, in part because his religious beliefs seem to get in the way of him treating you with respect and consideration. They also seem to play a role in his self-centered way of treating (or more accurately, using) his friends nicely only when he wants or needs something from themÖthis is not the kind of person you need in your life particularly when youíre feeling vulnerable and want friends who will be understanding and supportive no matter what youíre going through. If I were you, I would tell him that youíd prefer to move on with your life without him in itÖall he seems to do is remind you of your ex, make you feel used, disrespected, and discarded. There are good people out there who would never treat their so-called friends in such a selfish, rude mannerÖyouíre a lot more likely to find these friends if you steer clear of religious people, which will also screen out a lot of people with ignorant, bigoted, and backwards political views which donít mesh well with yours. Some of the kindest, most accepting and genuine people Iíve encountered were introduced to me through liberal causes, and working for such causes allowed me both to meet great, caring, intelligent people AND simultaneously fight to save this country from the increasingly radical fundamentalist, hate-fueled, intolerant, repressive, bigoted extreme right-wing controlled society and political system.

You could feel good about yourself trying to save women, minorities, children, and our environment from being marginalized and subordinated and at the same time, I bet youíd be able to make some really wonderful friends who share your views and priorities if you looked into volunteering for environmental, anti-poverty, or womenís rights groups (especially those which battle domestic violence, combat evil anti-choice/anti-womenís rights fanatics, supporters of better health care and education for women and families, etc.). You could definitely hold your head up high if you got involved in important causes, were able to reach out and make a difference, and also meet accepting and caring people who arenít afraid of emotional intimacy and forming loving and open relationships with people outside their families and religious circles. Anyway, the best advice I can give you is to avoid intolerant, conservative religious nuts like your ex and seek out relationships with people who are his polar opposites in terms of their views and outlook towards people who arenít exactly like them. What do your instincts tell you to do about your FFWB? Would you be happier and more optimistic with or without him in your life?

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