Playing Your Position


Whenever I write about unconventional relationships like unboyfriends, open relationships, or casual hookups, the discussion always leads to someone protesting that they can’t get involved in these types of situations because they’re unable to “turn their feelings off”. I think this may well be the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard in my life.

For one thing, the last time I checked, the only people who are able to completely turn off their feelings are sociopaths; I hardly think it makes sense to say that we can’t do something because we’re not sociopaths. Secondly, it’s not our feelings that are the problem in life, it’s how we choose to act on said feelings.

This is where the notion of playing your position comes in. And all it really means is keeping your behaviour confined to the scope of the situation you’re in. It seems pretty simple but it always seems to go so terribly wrong.

Let’s take for example the f*ck buddy and friend with benefits relationships. Such a beautiful concept – two people coming together (pause?) for a thronx and maybe a conversation with no obligation to participate if they don’t want to and the freedom to do the same thing with other people an hour later if they’re up for it. It could be a such a wonderful thing; if only people didn’t mess it up.

Wait – did you catch that? People sh!t it up, not feelings.

What goes wrong in these situations is not that someone catches feelings; that’s a common enough affliction that even I the most cold-hearted among us cannot avoid forever. What goes wrong in these situations is that one f*ck buddy wants to make their feelings the other f*ck buddy’s problem. So when a woman finds herself daydreaming about jumping brooms with the man that just put it on her, instead of keeping it to herself like she should be she decides she’s going to unilaterally alter the nature of the relationship by suddenly expecting the man to date her. And then get angry when he doesn’t see the point in paying money for milk he’s been getting for free. And when the male FWB suddenly decides he wants exclusive access to the p*ssy he’d previously been content to have a time share in, instead of sitting quietly and waiting for the wave of temporary insanity to pass him, he starts flying into jealous rages over the fact that other men are sniffing the ladyflower.

The whole point of casual relationships is that no one has to alter their behaviour to accomodate anyone’s feelings. So when we start imposing them on one another the delicate balance of the no-strings situation is irrevocably upset. This is where playing your position comes in. If you are a jump off or a f*ck buddy or a friend with benefits, you have to abide by the rules of engagement. And all “situations” have them, whether they’re tacit or explicit. If a man wanted to walk down the street holding hands with you, he’d be your boyfriend not your f*ck buddy. And if a woman wanted to give you exclusive access to her nani, she’d make you put a ring on it. Basic principle of playing your position – if you’re not a bona fide, don’t act bona fide.

But playing your position isn’t only confined to casual relationships; it applies to those of you who are boo’d up as well. When you are in an exclusive relationship, you’re expected to reserve certain behaviours for your significant other. But we’re all human and sometimes we feel the urge to get close to someone other than the one to whom we are enslaved committed. That’s not the problem. The problem is when the man who wifed the high-powered no-cooking career woman starts eating his meals in little Suzy Homemaker’s panties. The problem is when the woman who married the strong silent type lets another dude whisper sweet nothings in her ear while he’s long stroking her. It’s not the inclination to experience something with someone else that’s the problem, the act of doing so is the problem.

One of the things that separates humans from animals is our ability to squelch our urges, but people seem to forget that when it comes to relationships. Once sex or love gets involved we like to pretend that we have no choice but to act on every feeling we have, regardless of whether it’s appropriate. Playing your position is basically a fancy way of saying you made your bed now lie in it. And if you don’t want to lie in it then get out.

What do you guys think? Are you able to keep your behaviour appropriate to the situation you’re in even when you have conflicting feelings, or are you a line-crosser?

bag lady. digital nerd. beauty junkie. shoe whore. i'm a sucker for big words and box-fresh kicks. know a little bit about a lot of things and have something to say about everything.

Comments 44

  1. Danielle says:

    I reserve the right the change the rules when I see fit. But you also have to judge the situation before you decide to try to change them and accept the consequences. I think that even though we are just sex buddies I should be able to talk to you if my feelings change for good or for bad. For me, that strictly sex buddy is for young folk-I can’t have everyone smelling my ladyflower, she’ll wilt away lol.
    However, my ideal relationship would be a stable polyamorus one-F/F/M. Yeah I want my cake and eat all of it too. And the man I’m with now thankfully understands and supports that. Yay for me!

    1. Yoles says:

      hey Danielle!!

      we are perfect relationship TWINS… #team polyamourous

      1. Yoles says:


  2. Yoles says:

    max it seems like you enjoy having me post all my personal business on these here interwebs… lol that being said i know that i play my position like an award winning actress… the 2 times in my life that i was a mistress 1st lasting 3 years second time lasting 5 everything was all good.. im still (clean platonic) friends with both men to this day… i don’t want to break up happy homes i’m just holding him down for you sis was always what i said in my head and to be totally honest i do know how you get them is how you keep them so i didn’t want them to ever make the jump from side man to main man… these experiences helped me grow and showed me that i am NOT monogamous and i’m perfectly fine and completely honest about that now in my (closer to 40 than 30) life

    when i do see the above mentioned arrangement persons catching feelings, destroying good things i’m always a little confused as to why instead of ending things on a good note you try to force your way of thinking on someone else…

  3. Blackbuttafly says:

    I just ended a relationship that technically shouldve been a fuck buddy or an unboyfriend but by force turned it into a relationship. and it was I who had the upper hand and could’ve made it intonwhat I wanted. If I had known about this unboyfriend route…things would be SO much different

    Big ups for the blog from one Torontonian to another!

  4. keisha brown says:

    this hits close to home. a likkle bit too close…
    it easy to go into a situation thinking x..but not only cant it be hard to control your own emotions..but you also have someone elses to consider.
    it’s human nature.
    i hate the idea that i am not allowed to change, evolve as something progresses.
    im a simp for catching feelings? im a b*tch for showing you the door after you try to lock me down?
    my behaviour will reflect the decisions that i choose to make.
    my decisions will be influenced by how i feel and what i think at the time.
    this all made sense in my head…

    1. SmartFoxGirl says:

      Exactly. Unless you’re a man and masculine women are not s.exy. lol

      1. Starita34 says:

        WAY-A-MI-UGHT! Did you, madam, just fire shots at my e-boo ON her own page? ON HER OWN PAGE? Not while I am still stalking her around! No ma’am! NO MA’AM!

        I’m beginning to see you around more and more Fox and you have some good things to share at times and I noticed because some of your word choices please me #WordNerd. But might I suggest a lil less vinegar and a lil more honey sly Fox? Because some of your delivery is a bit off-putting.

        Am I misinterpreting you or did you call Maxie a manly woman that hates love? Max has proven before that she loves love. In fact Max loves love enough to not call a JO love. To not pretend that a FWB is equal to love. She seems to grasp that sex and love are not always one in the same. She shares her knowledge and her passion and her freaky ish on this here blog site with those that choose to read. And while she seems content to let you piss on her geraniums, I feel the need to politely ask you to use the watercloset (she’s Canadian, it’s gotta be #Fancy). As in, feel free to disagree, but work on your delivery please. Like, basic rules of arguing. #1-No personal attacks. #2-Back up your statements.

        Max and I don’t agree on everything, as a matter of fact this HERE post we disagree on for the most part. But there’s a slight but DISTINCT difference in:
        ~ “You said that chocolate ice cream is best, but personally, I prefer strawberry. The reason that I believe it’s superior is: a, b, and c.” and
        ~ “What kinda simple, maple syrup smellin, no teeth havin, hockey puck lovin Canuck thinks that chocolate ice cream could ever be considered edible? lol Strawberry is far superior and if you don’t think that than you’re just obvious wrong and heartless.”

        Rule #3 “lol” doesn’t mean you can talk all the way out the side of your mouth. (not you Fox, in general, had to stick that one in, this is greatly abused! When you know someone better and can gauge their reaction, ok…but it’s a delicate dance.)

        I feel like I went in a lil hard, after all this isn’t only about you. But I gotta tell ya, my old college slapaho injury flared up when it was insinuated that Max of (this site) was even whispered to have been called a love hating man child. After all there are LOTS of other ePlaces you can go to spew filth, flarn, filth. We try to keep this house mostly clean except on Friday, ish gets NASTY dirty on Fridays!.

        Who’s House?
        MAX’S HOUSE!

        1. SmartFoxGirl says:

          Are you crazy? No seriously, no offense as I don’t know you in real life but this whole rant is absolutely ridiculous!! Not only was I not talking about Max, I don’t have ANY issues with her. I lurk on her blog often and most times AGREE with her. I’m not going to go on about my views of her blog because that is silly in itself. Clearly you love her to death and I applaude this whole proclamation of love for her, I’m happy for you. I just wish you would have ASKED me if I was talking about her before you ASSUMED I was talking about her. The only masculine comment in this whole post is YOURS. I need to put alittle more honey on my comments? Please follow your own advice before playing yourself as you just did. You “see me around”? LOL This isn’t a school yard. I’m a lady until I see ignorance and you tried to lace up some long winded vent about bad commenters and directed it towards me and one sentence I typed. LOG OFF. YOU ARE SPENDING WAY TOO MUCH TIME ON BLOGS.

          If you must know, my comment was in reply to KB typing THIS:
          “im a simp for catching feelings? im a b*tch for showing you the door after you try to lock me down?
          B*tch as in referring to women and my comment implies that it’s okay to act like a “woman”. I believe men are the ones who are known for not catching feelings. I was NOT even thinking of Max when I wrote that comment. Maybe you’re having a bad day, maybe you need meds…I don’t know as I don’t know YOU. I’ll comment how I like and if you don’t like it, too f*cking bad. I can’t believe you wrote that sh*t. LMAO.

          1. SmartFoxGirl says:


            I am sincere when I say that my comment was not directed towards you nor was I thinking about you when I wrote it. I conversed with you but wanted to put this out in the open for your readers to see and not assume. I comment on your blog because I like your blog. It’s easy to mis-interpret text so I wanted to clear that up.

            1. keisha brown says:

              hot diggity damn..
              maybe im stupid.. but i thought (before sfg replied) that she was talking about me and not firing shots @ max.
              i figured she was insinuating that men can pretty much do what they want (change the rules) and the consequences not be as bad.
              dunno how the convo got wayyyyyyy left… but alas..

    2. max says:

      It’s not about controlling your emotions, it’s about controlling your behaviour, and if you can’t do that you have bigger problems that I can help you with. You’re not a simp for catching feelings, but you are a bit of an asshole if you decide you want to change the terms of a relationship with no discussion just because you caught them.

      1. keisha brown says:

        i agree that communication is key.
        but i believe you alluded in a conversation that even having the conversation can make one an a$$hole…
        im trying to be your young grasshopper and learn! 🙂

        1. max says:

          If I recall correctly, the circumstance in which raising feelings = asshole behaviour was totally different. But I’m not going to put your business in the streets so we can get into that offline 🙂

          1. Affinity says:

            A simple and itnleliegnt point, well made. Thanks!

  5. SmartFoxGirl says:

    Max do you hate love? I don’t think the problem is knowing our roles. I think the problem is that people choose roles they are not fit to play. Let’s keep it real, many people are not built to have s.ex without emotion. That’s fact. And turning off your emotion IS impossible. I see so many women who say they are okay with s.ex without emotion, they behave this way but internally they are not. Then later down the line, their real thinking comes out. Why? Because our emotion drives our behavior, this is true even for men. You can fake it or “act” a certain way but eventually the real you will come out.

    So my point is: don’t choose a role to play, be yourself. What is the point in doing something that you (not you) have to turn off your feelings to enjoy? I’m def a line crosser because I try to stay true to myself. If I’m not okay with something, I’m saying so. I can’t live according to someone else’s expectations of me.

    1. max says:

      Okay hello let me introduce you to girl logic because you just dropped a tonne of it right there.

      Whether or not we are wired for sex without emotions, the point of this post is that if you choose to enter into a casual relationship and then you decide that you no longer want it to be casual, it is not okay to unilaterally decided you’re changing the terms.

      You don’t ask your f*ck buddy to go on a date with you and get mad when he doesn’t want to. You get out of the situation. If you’re married and you want to take beats off someone else, you don’t cheat, you play the role you chose for yourself.

      That has nothing to do with being yourself or staying true to yourself or whatever rhetoric people want to wrap it in. You picked your position, you play it. Plain and simple. If you’re not built for it then don’t take it there.

      1. SmartFoxGirl says:

        What are you saying here that’s so different from what I said? Our comments were similar and far from “girl logic”.

        I said: Know yourself and don’t get into a role that you aren’t able to play.
        You said: Don’t get in it then change the rules. If you’re not built for it then don’t take it there.

        Same thing.

        Regardless of what we say here, people will always change their minds and change the rules. That’s life and women are not the only ones who are guilty of this. I meet men who say they want to be my friend but then change their mind and start acting like my man. Same thing. There’s nothing girly about this. It’s called being human and having emotion. Also, it is okay to voice your opinion. If the person isn’t with it, then leave. If they feel the same way, then great. Point is, you won’t know unless you speak up. Btw, being mad is a perfectly normal reaction to rejection.

      2. Danielle says:

        I’ll take this one step further: You’re bi and are in a relationship with someone who knows this about you and knows that you still like to to sleep with women but when you get married you can’t do it anymore because now marriage is sacred. But you married this women knowing this about her and likes but now the rules have changed. What do you do?

        Now my stance on this is if my man was bi I would be okay with it. I can strap on all I want but that man aspect is missing. I think the same goes for women, he can eat like a champ, however he is missing the feminine touch.

        1. max says:

          This is a good example!

          1. SmartFoxGirl says:

            It’s not the same thing. No matter what your s.exual orientation, the most popular vow of marriage is being faithful. So if the bi partner cheated, she would have every right to get mad because he went against what he promised. (if I read her comment right)

            Either way, relationships evolve and people change. That’s why divorce is so high and open relationships often end with somebody getting hurt.

            1. max says:

              I beg to differ with you. For the last time today I promise.
              Divorce is high because people opt to go their separate ways rather than resolving their issues. It’s not because people change, it’s because they let the changes get bigger than the marriage.
              And open relationships fail because people don’t play their position.

  6. Starita34 says:

    *Taking a note from Max’s playbook and repeating what I said when wasn’t anybody listening*

    Personally I can’t get down with the FWB, but I do believe it can work if people do truly play their roles. Thing is, we get comfortable. We need to be “nice”. We lie to ourselves about what it is. Men don’t want to be the @sshole, women don’t want to be the slut. So they end up treating FWBs like girlfriends and boyfriends and ish gets confusing.

    Rules should be established and strictly followed. Don’t be spending the night. Don’t be buying me gifts, talking to me hours on end about nothing, calling and saying “I miss you” when you really just miss my body and all it’s warm cavities. Don’t you EVAH tell me that you love me while we’re reupholstering reproductive systems!! WTDTA? Keep it real. When you want some SEX, ask for some SEX. No need to ask how my day was. If we’re in a consentual FWB situation, I know the deal and if we’re not-you are the asshole. Don’t trick folks. You can be cordial and respectful, just don’t treat me like a boyfriend and then be shocked when I start acting like a girlfriend.

  7. Starita34 says:

    Yeah so I had two comments, don’t act surprised…

    LMAO and ! I can’t turn my feelings off!!

    D@mn, shoulda wore my Santa Clause and the reindeer bedazzled Kevlar this morning. Merry Christmas to you too!

    I guess my problem is that my ego can’t FATHOM that I’m deserving of any “position” less than #1. Can’t do it. So if he’s not trying to wife me and we’re not just friends. Ion’t got the time. Also I don’t believe in basing my actions off of someone else’s expectations or needs. I yam what I yam. Popeye.

    In short, I do play my position. Friend, possible, girlfriend, or wifey. I was never properly trained to be FWB, JO, Eff Buddy, etc; I’m grossly unqualified. So I respect the position enough to not even give it a bad name by doing it poorly but I root, root, root for those who do the job well!.

    Despite our seemingly very different angles on the FWB situations, I agree wholeheartedly with every word written here:
    “One of the things that separates humans from animals is our ability to squelch our urges, but people seem to forget that when it comes to relationships. Once sex or love gets involved we like to pretend that we have no choice but to act on every feeling we have, regardless of whether it’s appropriate. Playing your position is basically a fancy way of saying you made your bed now lie in it. And if you don’t want to lie in it then get out.”

    I choose to stay out of that bed, because I know me and I couldn’t lay in it without flipping the EFF out and reinforcing “crazy girl” stereotypes.

    I hate this posted on Christmas eve…good topic Max. I enjoyed it.

    Cheery yuletide to all! (What? I still wish ya’ll happiness! Christmas isn’t a day, it’s a FEELING and all what not…)

    1. TheLeoGrl says:

      Ummm…..Starita…can I buy from you some of what you’re on today girl?! *grin* Your rants have made my e-day. Excellent post Max *bows down*.

      1. Starita34 says:

        *looks around with the shifty eyes*

        Girl what you talkin bout? I’m not on anything

        *slides you an inconspicuous package*

        Enjoy sister 😉 and thanks

  8. Misstee says:

    I guess my problem is that my ego can’t FATHOM that I’m deserving of any “position” less than #1. My favourite line so far. That is all

  9. emti says:

    I used to be a habitual line-crosser…then I met Max

    1. max says:

      Hahaha really?!?

      1. emti says:

        a woman who can translate men’s behaviour into woman speak (read: logic) is a good thing to have in a bestie

        1. max says:

          Ohhh thank you lovie <3

  10. good post max. i do think that people need to stay in their lane. i’ve had a couple of situations like you described in the FwB situation where all of a sudden the chick wanted to change the rules of the game. you knew what this was when you signed up for it. don’t get mad at me now. you get either get down or lay down. literally.

    1. max says:

      Have you ever found yourself catching feelings in a situation like this? I ask because lately I keep coming across situations where it’s the man who is shitting things up rather than the woman…which I find so odd.

      1. I’ve been in that situation. Dude even invited me to dinner with his friends and his parents. And being a poor law student looking for a home cooked meal, I agreed. Worst. Decision. Ever. He said he didn’t want a relationship, and was cool with our adult situation. He lied… 🙁 I had to cut him off.

        I agree with you Max. If you choose to be a FWB, a mistress, whatever, play that role, and when the emotions get to be too much, move on.

      2. naw. not really. well yes. i’m not going to lie but in situations like this i try to keep my feelings in check.

        1. sanen85 says:

          I’m glad to hear that we aren’t the only ones who can catch unintended feelings, whether we can keep them in check or not.

  11. KSImmi says:

    I’m torn. I probably should have posted my comment prior to reading all the other comments. I’m a firm believer in the FWB. But I totally understand those who oppose it or cannot find it in themselves to even understand the concept. It takes a special set of people to pull it off and I believe true friendship is imperative. Without understanding that other person: their brain, their heart, their moods, etc,…that FWB situation is really “some joint I’m smashing.” When those 2 people are understanding of the situation, emotions can come out with no problem. It should be as simple as a “I think I’m falling for you” and then a possible, “I can’t give you all you want at the moment.”

    I’m not saying the FWB situation is an easy task but if you know you can’t deal in the beginning…don’t. Let’s be honest, every friend, bedroom lover, and twinkling eye is not supposed to turn into a relationship. Have fun.

  12. B_P says:

    WTH did I miss today? FML! Max, I am SO proud of you for not blocking ole girl and being civil…

  13. Interesting comments today, folks. I agree with Max and others. Play your role, or get out of the situation. This applies to marriages, extra-marital affairs, FWB, organiztions, churches, jobs, politics, life.

  14. RAE says:

    I’m not sure I entirely agree with the sentiment, but nevertheless it is refreshing to meet someone like-minded. Thanks.

  15. Tomeka P. says:

    This was on point to the tee. I’ve been in situations where I had the choices of restraint, and crossing the line. In regards to what decision I made, all lied in whether I cared to deal with the latter consequences (if any), or if it’s something(or someone) that I really, really wanted). We all have the ability & will to NOT do things, or NOT catch feelings when we know the terms and agreements. It’s just some of us like to do what we wanna do, cause we can -or… we think we can eventually get the other party to succumb to the feelings we have towards them, and reciprocate them.

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