Does having a friend with benefits (FWB) appeal to you?
A friend with benefits relationship is simply a relationship with a good friend, with whom you enjoy sex without the commitment of a conventional relationship. Simple.
Or is it?
The idea of no-strings-attached sex with someone you like (and fancy) is appealing to many. As humans, we crave intimacy, but may not want a committed relationship for several reasons. These include commitment phobia, fear of getting hurt and lack of time.
But there is more to this set-up than meets the eye. Unlike a traditional relationship where the rules are clear, the lines and boundaries around a FWB relationship are all over the place. And to make it work is harder than you may think.
Finding the perfect friend who also satisfies in the bedroom AND doesn’t want to take it further is tricky. Making it work long-term, is harder still.
Like all good things, getting it right can take time and effort. Here are our rules for finding, keeping and loving life with a FWB.
Further reading: Casual fling or relationship: Which is right for you?
FWB: 6 Rules to make it work
PICK THE RIGHT FRIEND WITH BENEFITS
If you already have a close friend who you fancy (come on, we all have one) you could see if they’d like to take your friendship to another level? It’s possible that he/she is waiting for you to ask!
Note: Consider this carefully first. Beautiful friendships can be ruined when sex comes into the equation. Only you can decide whether this is the right move, or not.
No fanciable friends? No problem. There are heaps of people out there looking for the same thing as you, you just have to know where to find them. Dating apps are great for this, but using the right app is key. Generally, people are looking for love, even if they don’t say it. To cut them out of your search from the beginning use a more targeted app for your needs, such as Adult Friend Finder. The name alone suggests what you’re looking for and all your matches will be after the same. Another great app which is slightly more PC is Passion.
MAKE SURE YOU ARE CUT OUT FOR FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS
Everyone loves the idea of a FWB. It seems so fun and easy. But really, is it you?
Many women find it hard to have an intimate relationship without falling in love and wanting more. And no, this is not you being needy. An article from Business Insider explains why we feel this way after having sex with someone:
“Oxytocin is released into the body during intercourse, a hormone which is linked to positive social functioning and is associated with bonding, trust, and loyalty.”
The main cause of breakups in FWB relationships is because one person developments deeper feelings and wants more, which is natural and (we now know) chemical. If you are the type to fall for someone big time, attempting a relationship with someone who will not commit could be a heartbreak waiting to happen.
COMMUNICATION IS KEY
Like with every single relationship in the world, communication is super important. Especially so when navigating the world of friends with benefits.
Start out with clear expectations and listen to those of your friend. Are you both on the same page? Things to chat about include:
- Whether you are sexually exclusive, or not
- Will you tell people about your relationship
- How often will you meet
- How the relationship will/could end
- A plan for contraception
As the woman, you might need to instigate these conversations, but explain that it is important for you both to know where you stand. Then, check-in regularly to make sure you’re both still happy with the arrangement.
By defining the boundaries of your relationship, you can both relax and lots of fun within them.
DON’T FORGET THE FRIEND BIT
A common mistake people make is to forget the ‘friend’ part of friends with benefits. This is not a casual fling or a one-night stand. Friends should be treated with the respect and kindness they deserve … and your FWB is no different.
Friends talk to one another and look out for one another. Never use your FBW as simply a toy for your bedroom and always respect his/her feelings.
FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS BOUNDARIES (CONT.)
BE PREPARED TO SHARE
Talking about friends, let’s look at this from another angle. Friends is all you are, not partners or a couple. This means both you and your friend have the freedom to do as you wish, with who you wish. Even if you have agreed on exclusive sex, you are both free to go on dates and attend work events with other people. How does that make you feel?
In an article in Women’s Health discussing findings from a published journal about friends with benefits, they found a real issue for women was:
“A difficulty expressing negative feelings about their partner engaging in flirting or sexual behaviour with someone else. They said that although they experienced jealousy, they couldn’t express it as such because they didn’t have the ‘right,’ because they weren’t in a serious relationship.”
Are you able to watch, even support, your FWB as they meet and enjoy other people? After all, this is what a real friend would do.
Further reading: The best hookup sites for casual flings during a separation.
BE READY TO LET GO
This is not marriage. There is no ‘to death do us part’. Which means, there will most likely be ‘an end’.
Talk about what will happen if either of you meet a person you/he/she would like to date. It will mean you can no longer continue sleeping together, but there is no reason not to maintain your friendship.
The same goes if either of you are not into it anymore. Can you extricate yourself from the sex side of the relationship, whilst keeping your friendship intact?
Friendships are one of the beautiful things in the world. By discussing ‘the end’ before it actually happens will allow for a peaceful transition from bed-buddies to just-good-mates.