What is a ‘Friends with Benefits’ Relationship?
The deal of a “friends with benefits” (FWB) relationship is very much in the name which pretty much says it all. It tends to occur between two people who are physically intimate with each other but aren’t in a proper romantic relationship – this means that there are no strings attached. Whilst you both still trust and care for each other, there is no particular emotional attachment involved and tends to be considered as a sort of open relationship where both parties might see other people simultaneously.
This glamourized hook-up has become more and more popularized in general pop culture, whether it is on TV or in movies, but it might be harder to grasp how this actually occurs in real life, and whether it is the right thing for you. If you aren’t looking for any kind of commitment but still want to enjoy the fun perks of a relationship without getting emotionally invested in it, then here are some tips and tricks on how to get you started on an FWB relationship.
How does one find and start a Friends with Benefits relationship?
1- Pick Someone Appropriate
Don’t go for the neighbor who has been happily married for over 30 years or the work colleague who still bursts out in tears over their recent breakup. Choose someone who is available and ready to start an FWB relationship. Choosing someone single is the most obvious choice, but it should also be someone who you could expect to live up to all the fun and spontaneity an FWB relationship promises.
Contrary to what the name suggests, you don’t have to be friends already to start out your FWB relationship, although it might be helpful to know and trust each other already asking someone to become FWB
Most FWB relationships spawn out of a hook-up, it is, therefore, safe to assume that having had sex with the person at least once before even bringing up the interest might be best. This will also allow you, as much as them, to determine whether you would be even interested to carry on with such casual sex. Having said that, not all hook-ups end in an FWB relationship, so there does need to be a shared sexual interest for it to succeed.
2- Set Out your Expectations from the Start
This is potentially one of the most important points since not all FWB relationships were created equal. Some people start off barely knowing each other’s names, others might be childhood friends, but no matter the level of intimacy, it is imperative to set out your expectations and boundaries from the get-go. Don’t assume that you already know what the other person wants or expect them to have the same expectations as a previous FWB had.
Even though you might feel a big relief from having them express a mutual interest in having an FWB relationship, don’t think that it’s all in the bag yet. Use this opportunity to get some more awkwardness out of the way to decide if the sex has an overnight stay and breakfast included, or whether it is more of a quick daytime meet up.
The first thing you should make very clear is that you will not be “dating”. You can then agree on limits which are suitable to your degree of emotional attachment and will ensure that neither of you get hurt in the process. Nevertheless, you should not forget that an FWB relationship is all about having fun and letting go of some of the rigid boundaries of a conventional dating life.
3- Communication is Key
No, this does not mean that you have to send them a goodnight text every day but you should be open and clear with each other before and during the relationship. Even though no commitment is involved, try to keep the other person updated on your ongoing sexual adventures so that there aren’t any unpleasant surprises. You might also wish to discuss your previous sexual history to ensure that your experience is not just a fun one but also a safe one.
Additionally, people tend to get caught up on the “benefit” part of the relationship, but you should remember that it cannot survive without its other half. Make sure to check up on the person from time to time to maintain your friendship, without however getting too emotionally attached. This might be a tough balance to reach but definitely one that’s worth it.
What are the Rules of Being Friends with Benefits?
Respect each other’s Boundaries
This true for you as much as them. Always know your limits and make sure the other person knows them too. You should never sacrifice mutual respect just because you are not in a“proper” relationship.
You might not be the Only One in their Lives This might be hard to get used to, especially if it is your first casual relationship. As much as you should make sure that you can deal with this emotionally without getting jealous or hurt, you should also exploit it to your own advantage and have some fun exploring.
Stay Protected Whether you are doing it with one friend or many, communication is always key to ensure appropriate safety. You should take the time to discuss the protection you will use or any STDs you are worried about.
Don’t Start an FWB Relationship Looking for More
You should respect the expectations of what an FWB relationship entails. If you want to date the person and hope that this might be a way in, don’t do it. Chances are that you will just end up getting hurt and pushing them away even more.
Keep it Casual Don’t start an FWB relationship if you will get jealous of the first person they hook-up with. Whilst there is nothing wrong with that, this is all about keeping it casual and keeping out the “love”. Of course, you should enjoy each other’s company, but you should not expect them to provide any sort of emotional relief or support. Although the occasional talk or hang out is alright, they should be kept brief and proper dates avoided. Don’t spend too much of your time with them, instead feel free to see other people and expect them to do too.
Know When to End It
If one of you wants to start dating someone else seriously, or if you’re just not interested anymore, let them know. Whether you want to hold on to the friendship part or not, it’s best to end it when needed, especially if one of you feels like they are getting too attached. You don’t have any strings to get rid of, you just have to tell them. Have fun at the end of the day, it’s all about having fun. Make the most out of it and enjoy the flexibility as much as possible.