Friends with benefits (FWB) is a new phenomenon where you are not in a monogamous romantic relationship, yet enjoy the sexual benefits of being in a relationship. It sounds good, in theory. However, being in a FWB relationship is a delicate balance of romance and “friendship”. To maintain this balance there are certain rules to follow. Here are five rules to follow when entering a FWB relationship:
1. Do not become FWB with people you already have an established friendship with. Adding sex to the equation of friendship can complicate things. You must weigh having sex with your friend to the consequence of losing your friend. Is it worth it?
2. Do not become FWB with someone you see on a daily bases. That means do not become FWB with your neighbor or colleague. The point of having FWB is that you get the benefits, but not the responsibilities of a relationship. Therefore, do not put yourself in a situation where you are obligated to interact with your “friend” outside the compounds you choose.
3. Do not cuddle. While I believe cuddling is not limited to true relationships, (Click this link to learn more about Cuddling with FWB) cuddling, for many people, does add an emotional and a deeper level of intimacy not necessary for a FWB situations. I suggest avoiding cuddling and sleepovers. Cuddling and sleepovers add an emotional intimacy most people are not prepared to handle with a FWB relationship.
4. Recognize that you are in a FWB situation, so do not become angry if he starts to date or have sex with someone else. Although, it may sound selfish, FWB should be used to get your immediate needs met. So get what you can from the situation, but realize you have options and so does your “friend”.
5. Check your emotions at the door. Again FWB are used to get your immediate needs met. So you should not invest in the relationship. Show the person respect and treat the other person, as you want to be treated. However, falling in love with a FWB is a mistake, especially if the other person is not at the same place you are emotionally.
So lets get real for a moment. These are great rules and they should allow your “situationship” to work for a little while; however, the phenomenon of FWB is just that, a phenomenon – a gray area and a walk on a tight rope. It requires two people to be self-aware i.e. aware of their emotional baggage, their vulnerabilities, their relationship goals, and their relationship desires. Essentially, FWB requires an emotional awareness, so that you do not become emotionally involved, but only physically involved.
However, here is the problem, most people are not self-aware. Most people do not take the time to reflect and process how their past experiences and their emotions impact their behavior. Many people do not know what they want from a spouse. Instead they have vague ideas about their ideal mate, but they really do not know what they want. So it is difficult for people to compartmentalize the temporary and no strings attached nature of a FWB relationship.
The flip side to this is that regardless of how self-aware you are, as a human, you were built to experience emotions. So when you engage in the most intimate physical expression of love with someone, you are transferring energy intentionally and unintentionally. Sex is a physical, emotional, and spiritual experience.
FWB can be a beautiful situation, if both people are on the same page. However, make sure you understand the parameters of the situation. FWB can become dangerous if you are using it to supplement a true relationship. Supplementing a true relationship with an unemotional and no strings attached relationship can leave you emotionally vulnerable and disappointed. Instead I suggest taking your time to find someone that you do not have to guard yourself against. Being with someone where there is endless possibilities is easier than being with someone when you know the relationship is going nowhere.
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