My ex – with benefits?

Mere, I'm gonna need your help for this one.

I am 24 (yes, everyone, I am young) and my ex is 22. We were together for two years and best friends for a few years before that. He was, in many ways, my first real love. He showed me what it was like to really fall for someone. I was head over heels, but we had our differences. During the last six months of our relationship, it was obvious that I wanted us to get more serious and move in together. I wanted to take it to the next level. He wanted to be single and enjoy time being young and 21. I get it.

He broke it off with me, then we would hook up, and then he'd tell me he still didn't want to get back together, etc. This went on for a few months until I told myself it was only hurting me and I cut it off for good. Now, a full six months after we cut all of our ties, he moved back to our town (he lives 10 min from me now, whereas before we lived an hour away from each other). We have started hooking up and talking occasionally.

It's so odd. I am not in love with him anymore, but there's a connection when we're together, and I know he feels it. When we're together we just laugh and laugh, and I have to admit I missed having him in my life as my best friend. I know this is a RISKY move. Do I stop it while I can? Do I ride it out? I know from before that he still isn't going to ever want to be in a relationship. I know I can't trust him to not hurt me. Do I just try to have fun and live in the moment a bit? Love some advice!

– Ex-boyfriends with benefits?

Do not ride anything out. It's too risky (all-caps RISKY).

It'd be one thing if you said you felt no connection – that you were enjoying the hookups and nothing else. But it's clear it's the opposite. You say you're not in love with him anymore, but you have strong feelings about your history and friendship. It sounds like you're trying to be in a relationship with him, but the only thing that's changed for him is his zip code. For him, you're just that much easier to enjoy, no strings attached.

The biggest problem here is that all the time you spend on him could be devoted to other activities and people. Do you really believe you'll be open to meeting someone new if you're texting your ex and making plans for later? Being 100 percent single – without an ex-boyfriend with benefits – might feel less exciting and more lonely, but it puts you in a better place to grow your life without this non-partner.

You describe the EBWB situation as fun, but your letter doesn't make it sound that way. You're just preparing yourself for another round of pain. It's time to get it over with.

– Meredith

Readers? Best friend? Ex with benefits?