I’ll be upfront. I’ve only done the friends with benefits thing once, and it sucked. I’m a serious commitment kind of girl. If I’m going to date someone, I want it to lead somewhere. That said, I understand that not everyone feels the same way, and sometimes you just want a consistent hookup who will treat you like a human being. It sounds simple, sure, but we like to make things far more complicated than necessary when sex is involved. Friends with benefits can be a healthy, fun, enjoyable situation for everyone involved, as long as you keep a few rules in mind.
1. Be on the same page.
My ill-fated FWB fling was awful because we didn’t really define our relationship as such. We had started off as acquaintances, and ended up making out at a party. Then he texted me saying he wanted to see me again. And suggested dinner and a movie. Naturally, I assumed that meant he was laying the groundwork for dating. But after the “date”, I didn’t hear from him for another week, and didn’t see him until a week after that. You’re probably reading this and rolling your eyes at my naivete. Like, duh, I should have picked up on the fact that he just wasn’t that into me. I should have asked him what it was that we were doing, and saved myself a whole summer of insecurity, instability, and hurt feelings. Communicating can save us a lot of turmoil, so sometime in the beginning stages of your FWBship, define it.
2. Keep it shallow.
FWBs are supposed to be stringless, carefree, and fun. So it’s probably not the best idea to make your FWB someone you’d be comfortable sharing your deepest problems and secrets with, or heaven forbid, an ex. Distant acquaintances are the best candidates, and keep your non-sexy time activities minimal. It’s fine to do dinner and a movie, but don’t start integrating your FWB into your daily life – a successful FWB situation is heavy on the benefits, light on the actual friendship part.
3. Be honest with yourself.
We all want to believe that we’re strong enough to avoid falling for the other person. It’s just casual, sexy fun.But, let’s be real. Sex is intimate. Repeatedly engaging in an intimate act with someone repeatedly? Is likely to bring some feelings to the surface. Which is fine. The thing is, it’s also totally possible to not develop any sort of roantic feelings, and if two people with two drastically different perspectives keep hooking up, it will get messy. So if you feel yourself becoming attached, let the other person know and disengage. Prolonging a one-sided dalliance will only lead to heartbreak and despair.
4. Think short-term.
FWBs are generally meant to scratch an itch while each party looks for something more permanent. This arrangement is meant to pass time, kind of like a marathon of Keeping Up With the Kardashians, but with less investment. Don’t think too far into the future, because who knows when you, or the other person, will grow out of the arrangement, or find someone they’re actually interested in dating
5. Be considerate
The key difference between a booty call and a FWB relationship is the implication that the two parties have established that they like each other enough to see each other on a semi-regular basis (also, that they meet outside the bedroom occasionally). So if you find yourself gravitating toward someone else, break it off with the FWB gently and honestly. Or if you just find yourself over it, deal. There’s no reason to prolong a situation out of cowardice or fear of ruining a relationship (especially if you took rule #2 to heart).