Friends With Benefits

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How To Do Friends With Benefits (Without Seriously Ruining Everything)

Friends With Benefits

How To Do Friends With Benefits (Without Seriously Ruining Everything)

An awesome friend you can also have great sex with, but with no strings attached?

With no obligation to write romantic cards or texts, spring for expensive gifts or meals, and no expectations of meeting their family? Just casual, fun sex with someone you can have a fun conversation with here and there and that’s it?

It might sound like a perfect scenario. That’s if you do it right, though.

Unfortunately, many people don’t follow the rules — yes, there are rules — and that’s where feelings get hurt and friendships end up ruined.

But how does being friends with benefits work in a best-case scenario? In order to understand this and other aspects of these arrangements, AskMen spoke to a number of dating experts. Here’s what they had to say:

What Does Friends With Benefits Mean?

Typically, a friends with benefits arrangement differs from other forms of casual hooking up by being a situation where the two people were (ostensibly) platonic friends first before adding sex to the mix.

It can be between two people of any gender and sexuality; the main factor is simply that rather than transitioning the friendship to a full-on romantic relationship, the people involved decide to have sex periodically without becoming seriously emotionally connected.

Depending on your capacity for emotional investment and desire for the textbook trappings of romance like cards, date nights and lovey-dovey texting, this may sound like a dream, or a nightmare.

For the people who are into it, it can be a best-case scenario — but it’s also a tricky one to navigate.

Drawbacks of Being Friends With Benefits

In researching his book The Man Puzzle, author Phillip Petree interviewed thousands of men about FWB arrangements, and notes that roughly half of them had experienced one.

“When asked if either partner ended up getting their feelings hurt, 70% said yes, they had,” says Petree. “When asked if the person with hurt feelings wanted more from the relationship, 91% said yes. When asked if the relationship had navigated to permanent, only 6% said it had. When asked why the relationship ended, it was because one person was insistent on making the relationship permanent and the other didn’t want it beyond where it was.”

As these numbers suggest, it’s very common for a FWB situation to become emotionally mismatched. If something sounds too good to be true, it often is, and sadly, a friends with benefits arrangement usually ends without the arrangement lasting — or the friendship.

“Friends with benefits sounds in theory like the best of both worlds, but usually ends up causing unwanted drama and hurt feelings,” says Avi Kahan, co-founder of dating app InviteUp.

“Either you transition to [a full relationship], or stop hooking up when one person feels emotionally unfulfilled,” he says. “So the keys to successfully navigating a ‘hookup’ relationship are 1) Accepting that it’s a short-term situation, and 2) Being honest with the other person and with yourself.”

And, depending on the role this friendship plays in your life, it’s worth remembering that this could impact other friendships, too.

If your FWB is part of a wider social circle for you, the friendship between the two of you crumbling could lead to your mutual friends ‘taking sides’ afterwards — so entering into a friends-with-benefits arrangement isn’t necessarily something to be taken lightly.

How to Make FWB Relationships Work

That being said, there are certain guidelines you can follow to make this sort of relationship — and don’t for a second tell yourself it isn’t a relationship — as drama-free as possible.

Simply using your friend at your convenience and then tossing them aside when you find a better offer is not acceptable, no matter how casual your arrangement may be, but if you enter into it with good intentions, clear expectations and a willingness to navigate it in good faith, you could have a very pleasant setup that works well for all parties involved.

1. Be Clear About the Rules

The best way to do friends with benefits better is to lay down the rules and groundwork right in the beginning — that way, both people have a sense of what to expect from the friends with benefits situation, says Maria Akopyan, a life and relationship coach.

It helps to discuss the fact that once one or both people start developing feelings, the friends with benefits fun is over, as well as the fact that both are free to date others without any jealousy on either part.

“The most successful friends with benefits situations are where both people have their own separate lives, come together casually only for fun sexual trysts and leave it at that. No dates, gifts, social media posts, or anything that might suggest there is more than friendship and casual sex,” says Akopyan.

2. Make Sure You’re on the Same Page

In order to help maintain such an arrangement, communication is key so that both are always on the same page.

And while a solid conversation before you start hooking up is a huge factor in that, it doesn’t end there. Checking in every so often to make sure that you’re both still on the same page. Because it’s quite common for people’s feelings in this kind of scenario to shift.

“In the heat of the moment we may be tempted to say the right thing or agree to something we are not completely happy with just to, well, not spoil the fun,” says Lora Ivanova, co-founder and chief marketing officer of myLAB Box, the first nationwide at-home STD testing service. “If your partner communicates a different expectation than yours, you have to be prepared to back off and seek your fun elsewhere.”

If they are secretly wanting more, there will be trouble down the line.

“Entering into a casual relationship with misaligned expectations is a sure recipe for disaster, so be sure to start on the right footing,” says Ivanova.

3. Reciprocation Is a Must

This is a big one, possibly the biggest — your sex buddy does not exist to appear at your convenience for your pleasure.

They are a human being with needs of their own. Remember that it’s only friends with benefits if both are benefitting.

“Reciprocate and take turns where you’re going to meet up,” says Bobbie Morgan, author of sex and relationship blog A Good Woman’s Dirty Mind. “Some people really tire of hearing ‘Come to my place; I’m horny’ every time [the other person] wants to have sex. Leave the option open, like, ‘Hey, what are you doing tonight? My place or yours?'”

And it doesn’t end there — make sure that both of you are having just as much fun in the sack. Just because it’s not a real “relationship” doesn’t mean one person’s sexual pleasure means more than the other’s. If that’s your approach, you’re heading straight for the eventual ending of the friendship.

4. Be Honest About Boundaries

If you don’t want to know about their other hookups and dates, be upfront about it.

“Let each other know if there is someone that is going to change the situation,” says Stef Safran, matchmaking and dating expert and owner of Stef and the City. “This is not a permanent situation, so remember to not get too used to this person being around.”

5. Keep It Fun

Keep romance out of the fun — but don’t keep the fun out of the relationship. Sounds counter-intuitive, doesn’t it?

“This is one other common pitfall of casual daters,” says Ivanova. “The issue with romance is it creates expectations. It also can confuse your partner and make them think you want or are developing deeper feelings.”

“On the flip side, you cannot skip intimacy completely and move on to sex; this is no fun,” Ivanova adds. “Focus on pleasing your partner, doing things you both enjoy, making them feel good, but skip the grand gestures, elaborate dates and weekend getaways. Save those for if and when you are ready to explore a deeper connection.”

Also, try to avoid falling into routines. “Don’t spend every Saturday night with someone or get too used to them being there at certain times,” says Safran. “You aren’t going to meet someone if you don’t try, so don’t get into a situation where you can mistake this person for something they are not.”

6. Be Respectful

Even if this is just fun between friends, you are friends, and human beings with feelings and you should always consider your actions and their feelings. “Friends with benefits only works if the friend part stays at play. Casual relationships, like any relationship, require trust, empathy and communication,” says Ivanova.

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Source: AskMen


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