Friends with benefits is fun in theory and in practice, but only if you know how to draw the line between having casual fun and getting fully involved. Unfortunately, this is the trickiest part. Having a friend with benefits differs in several ways from being in a casual “no strings attached” type of relationship.
With your occasional paramour there is no friendship involved – you’re both in it just for the sex. In the majority of cases, this is someone you have met via an online dating app, in a club or elsewhere; meaning you have no mutual contacts or social circles. You may not have much in common, and that’s not the problem. Actually, it’s often the reason it works so well! On another end of the spectrum, being in an established romantic or sexual relationship includes some level of connection, emotion, commitment, and so on. So what about all the options in between?
Friends with Benefits: What Does That Even Mean?
A logical question then arises: how do we categorize friends with benefits? Can we even define this type of arrangement as a relationship? The answer is simple: friends with benefits should be placed between two previously mentioned opposites because it combines parts of both.
This kind of relationship works flawlessly for some people. At all times they know what the relationship means to them and they have no second thoughts.
However, for others, it is a complex process. If you are having a great time in bed, can talk for hours, and spend time together without getting bored, at some point emotions may be involved.
What If You Start to Have Feelings for Them?
- Never try to repress your emotions because that is not a healthy, self-aware behavior. Instead, try to identify what is going on. Are these emotions of a temporary nature? For example, a sudden burst of emotions after having awesome sex? Or do you think this is something that will last, like realizing how much you enjoy their wit and companionship? Do a gut check. Could your feelings be related to breaking up with someone else or otherwise feeling particularly emotionally vulnerable? If so, give it some time. If you trust your friends with benefits partner, let them know. You can decide together how to proceed in a way is beneficial to both of you.
- Don’t make a spur-of-the-moment decision. If you make a decision hastily without reflecting, you could end up losing a friend. If you confide in your FWB, you can decide together to wait out your feelings, knowing that this relationship is not meant to go anywhere. Or you can try out a more formal relationship to see if that feels natural.
- If you want to successfully pull off the friends with benefits arrangement, never forget to take care of yourself. As long as the relationship works – great! If the moment comes when it no longer serves you both, you can exit with grace and without hard feelings.
Open Relationships Are Totally Valid
The idea that friends with benefits style relationships aren’t valid or are a waste of time is very archaic. Don’t let anyone make you feel ashamed or like you should only consider partners that are ready for committed relationship or marriage. If you’re both having fun, no one else’s opinion matters!
Friends with benefits could be considered one type of open relationship, which is all about two (or more) consenting adults finding that sweet space of where both their needs and desires meet. If you want to explore this more, check out this blog post on defining open relationships and finding your limits. Aaand, if you’re considering hooking up with a former partner as a FWB situation, check out this blog for some considerations on that topic.
Any way you choose to have a sexy relationship, just check in on your own feelings and be communicative with your lover. It really just comes down to figuring out what works best for you and giving yourself permission to just go for it!