In the world of modern dating, you’ll come across plenty of men and women who are looking for a casual relationship because they’re not ready to “settle down,” and a solution they turn to is friends with benefits. It seems like a great idea! You already know you like the person, you’re comfortable with them, you can both be clear about what you want.
The question is, does being friends with benefits actually work? In reality: probably not.
So You’ve Decided To Add Some Benefits To Your Friendship
There’s a number of different ways that a friends with benefits situation could come up. Maybe you had one too many drinks after a stressful week and find yourself waking up in your close guy friend’s bed, or you straight-up asked that female friend you’ve known for years if she wants to be your FWB. Either way, it’s happening, and now you’ve got to deal with it.
What’s The Difference Between Casual And FWB?
The difference between a casual relationship or an FWB situation is usually how it begins. Were you actual friends first, or did you meet at a bar, go home together, and then decide to keep casually seeing each other when it works for you?
Everyone Believes They Can Make It Work
Pretty much every person who starts up an FWB relationship believes that they’re going to be the ones who can make it work. They’re going to be the ones who keep it fun and casual the entire time then mutually agree to part ways when they meet others, while still staying great friends.
The Problems You Might Face
The best way to deal with any potential problems is to be prepared for them. Understanding the most common problems that people have when entering into an FWB situationship could give you the tools you need to make it work—or at the very least, it’ll let you know you’re not the only one who can’t make it work.
Dealing With Jealousy
One or both of you is inevitably going to have to deal with jealousy at some point during your little arrangement. And then you’ll have to deal with managing that feeling knowing that you kind of don’t have a right to be feeling jealous when you’re not actually together.
You Both Define It Differently
Your expectations for your friends with benefits situation might be different than their expectations, and if you don’t have a conversation about those things before you get involved, it’s going to get messy.
Even If You Set Rules, They Get Broken
To avoid confusion, you’re probably going to have that conversation where you both state what you want, and maybe even half-jokingly lay out some ground rules to follow. That could work at first, but then the rules slowly start to get broken, or things come up that you hadn’t originally addressed, and the confusion comes back.
One Of You Agrees Even Though They Want More
This is a recipe for disaster. You’ve been harboring a secret undying love for your friend for months, then you start up something friendly and casual thinking that’ll be your time to convince them just how perfect you are for each other. Another option is you’re the one truly looking for casual, whereas they’re trying to play the long game and you’re unknowingly setting yourself up to hurt their feelings.
And They’ll End Up Getting Offended
And because one of you has all these secret feelings, they’re going to be more sensitive about situations that arise or problems you encounter that wouldn’t be a problem if this was truly just a casual thing.
It Can Be Lonely
You might think that you’re ready for a friends with benefits relationship, but then the reality hits it: it can actually be pretty lonely to just have the friendly side and the physical side without any of the in-between moments of relationship intimacy.
It Can Create Problems In Your Friend Group
Having a friend with benefits can be awkward for both of the people involved, but it can also cause problems amongst your mutual friends. They might have an opinion on the situation or feel uncomfortable around the two of you.
Emotions Almost Always Come Into Play
As much as you both would like to think that you can keep things fun and casual, one or both people almost always end up feeling some distinctly unfriendlike feelings. As a result, you start acting weird to hide your feelings, or you bring them up and the other person doesn’t feel the same.
How Do You End It?
This can be a tough question to answer. Are you planning to just hook up until one of you meets another person, or is there an end date to the arrangement like when one of you moves away at the end of the summer?
The Exclusive Or Non-Exclusive Discussion
You have to make the decision about whether or not you’re okay with each of you seeing or sleeping with other people. If you decide to be exclusive, that pretty much closes the door on starting up other relationships, so how is one of you ever going to move on or find someone else? And if you’re okay with the possibility of being with your “friend” for an undetermined amount of time, why don’t you just date?
What Happens If Someone Meets “The One”?
You might not be interested in seriously dating each other, but what do you do when someone comes along that one of you is seriously interested in? You’ll have to talk about how to handle a situation like that.
Do You Return To Being “Just Friends” Afterwards?
Once it does come to an end, you have that conversation about how you’ll just go back to being friends pretending that you haven’t seen each other naked. You’re cool, you’re chill, it’ll all be fine. Except…
Realistically, It’ll Probably Be The End Of The Friendship
No matter how much you tell yourself that you’re going to stay friends afterward, something changes. It’s harder than people expect to revert back to “just friends” at the drop of a hat.
The Lines Begin To Blur With FWB
The goal of an FWB situationship is that you’re both supposedly not looking for a relationship and looking to keep things casual, but is that actually possible? Realistically, there isn’t much difference between this and an actual relationship, other than what you choose to call it.
Think About What You’re Doing
So you’re two people who enjoy spending time with each other, who also sleep together. You spend time with your groups of friends, you maybe know each other’s families, you go out for dinner, and you have a physical connection. Do you know what that is? A relationship.
Who Knows? Maybe You’ll Be The 1% That Makes It Work
If, even after all this, you’re still looking to jump into bed with that childhood best friend, then, by all means, get to it! Just don’t be surprised if two years from now, you’re at your wedding laughing about how you thought you could keep it casual, or if you ruin your friendship altogether.