A friend with benefits is a person with whom you maintain a positive relationship, but whom you only really see for casual sex. Such relationships might baffle someone who is looking for romantic love, but according to Men's Fitness writer Holly Martin, these types of relationships are trending. A match.com study found that 47 percent of singles polled in 2012 had a friend with benefits, up from 20 percent in 2011. To have a successful friends with benefits relationship, choose your FWB carefully, lay some ground rules, maintain a casual relationship and stay honest about your feelings.
The point of a friends-with-benefits situation is to maintain a casual relationship without complications or commitment. To that end, don’t hook up with a longtime buddy or member of your core friend group. You probably also want to avoid anyone who lives in your building, advises Christine Coppa in Glamour Magazine. If you see your FWB outside of the bedroom on a regular basis, your relationship is likely to move faster than you intended. It’s best to choose someone whose daily life doesn’t intersect much with yours.
Lay the Ground Rules
For an FWB relationship to work, both partners need to agree on what they want. Romantic attachment will change a casual relationship, says Martin, and if feelings exist between you they will only grow stronger. To prevent awkward miscommunication, tell your partner exactly what you’re looking for. Ground rules might include: no speaking about the other people you’re dating, no sleeping over and no going out together. You make the rules -- just make sure that you and your FWB both agree.
Keep It Casual
Once you make the rules, stick to them. Don’t invite your FWB to hang out with your other friends, advises Coppa. Don’t suggest that you both go out to dinner together. Go home after a rendezvous instead of staying to cuddle. And try not to think about who else your FWB might be dating if he doesn’t text back. You both agreed to keep it simple, which means you’re free to go have your own fun instead of worrying about him. Make sure you continue to have your own plans with friends, family and dating.
If your feelings change, you have to say something. Miscommunication happens when one person in a friends-with-benefits situation begins to want more, but doesn’t speak the truth. In a study done by researchers at Michigan State University and Wayne State University, of the friends-with-benefits relationships studied, “One-tenth of these relationships went on to become full-scale romances…about a third stopped the sex and remained friends, and one in four eventually broke it off — the sex and the friendship. The rest continued as friends-with-benefits relationships.” In short, the relationship is likely to change or end at some point, so it’s best to be honest about your feelings if you want to avoid complications.
Emma Wells has been writing professionally since 2004. She is also a writing instructor, editor and former elementary school teacher. She has a Master's degree in writing and a Bachelor of Arts in English and anthropology. Her creative work has been published in several small literary magazines.
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