The phrase “friends with benefits” brings about a different mix of reactions for people. Many people cannot imagine a better set-up. Never having to search around for a date, nor feel awkward about making love (or having sex) with someone who you know is a willing partner. Not having to call day in and day out to keep tabs and knowing that hooking up is one of those random events as predictable as summer thunderstorms. However, for men and women – the friends with benefits tag can mean different things. In order for it to work – both people in this odd little relationship status quo must be extremely clear on the expectations and feelings involved. You also have to consider what happens if you fall in love with your friends with benefits partner – or what happens if they fall in love with someone else.
The first responsibility is honesty. If your hook-up partner is someone that you see as more than a friend than a romantic interest long term – make sure they feel the same way about you. It is important that both people aren’t just silently or secretly waiting on the curb waiting to be picked up by “real” feelings. For many people involved in these relationships – the ease comes with the lack of expectations. You don’t have to date around or impress one another and the relationship may start more as a sexual outlet than anything else. At some point however, even great sex loses its allure and the chance of a heightened state of interest becomes higher. By keeping things real and honest the entire time – you reduce the chances of getting hurt.
The second thing to think about is how your ‘real’ dates – the ones with which you have no benefits yet will feel about this little arrangement. If you become serious with someone, are you willing to forego your favorite friend with benefits? This can put you in the midst of a triangle that will have you cheating in no time. And even though you describe your cute college roommate as a long time friend, leaving out the part about wild and random sex is not quite fair to your new love interest.
There are many men and women who just aren’t cut from the cloth that allows them to participate in a friends with benefits relationship. If you are one of them – tending to get attached to this person, having sex at a deep emotional level and finding yourself denying interest in other people – you should reconsider your choice of relationship status. This is one of those things that only you can know about yourself, and you will do yourself a favor to be honest. Many people start out thinking they can stay simply physically attracted, enjoying the freedom to explore their life whilst keeping a safe sex partner for time of need only to find out that they were fooling themselves. Take an honest assessment of your own personality inventory before you decide that this is for you.
There are lots of benefits to these relationships as the name implies. But at some point, you have to wonder what it is about the lack of attachment and commitment that keeps you interested. There isn’t a golden rule about marriage and commitment and it isn’t right for everyone. But distancing yourself from people emotionally on purpose, can signify a deep character flaw that you might want to identify.
What happens when jealousy, one of the most basic human emotions plays itself out in your life? Ask yourself how you will really feel when your friend with benefit partner finds someone new or sleeps around with others. This of course brings you to the subject of sexual promiscuity and safety. If you and your partner are sleeping together after sleeping with others – are you being safe or reckless. Lives can change with one sexual encounter and one sexual disease.
Friends with benefits can be a great way to explore your own needs, desires, and likes sexually. For most people in this sort of relationship, there is an anything goes policy that opens up the world of sexual satisfaction and pleasure. But try to figure out why you can be this way with this partner, and not with someone that you can commit to long term.
The Downside to Friends with Benefits
Are there cons to a friend with benefits? Probably! But most of us are so deeply involved in the freedom of the relationship that there is no time or necessity to pause and consider them. And just maybe that’s a good thing. There are many things in life that we learn about ourselves and others that help us make good choices when it comes to a life partner. The friends with benefits can be a big help in that department, not just sexually but in terms of comfort. When you know it is possible to be comfortable with another person and that you can come as you are without feeling weighted down by expectations and judgment – you learn some of the real meanings of love. It isn’t surprising that so many people fall back to their friends with benefit friend for the long term.
As long as you are honest and aren’t playing games with your self or another person – the friends with benefits can be a fun way to spend your time. The best ways to handle the relationship is to not spend so much time thinking and rethinking things and just go with what feels natural to you and your friend. The end may surprise you in various ways; however, the middle will be something that you no doubt remember for the rest of your life. Along the way, have fun. These types of relationship – easy and unfragmented don’t come often in one’s life.