Since the days of When Harry Met Sally, men and women have been asking, “Can men and women really be just friends?” Well, yes. But in recent years there’s a new development. The “Friends With Benefits” relationship. Which, when explaining it to someone, sounds an awful lot like a real relationship to me. “Well, we like each other and we’re having sex, but we’re not like…into each other.” Wait…what? This is why I am inherently against them. There are literally countless articles written about the “rules” of navigating a successful friends with benefits relationship. I don’t think these “rules” are helpful. Nothing can help you. You’re already doomed.
Unfortunately, when I was a lot younger and less worldly, I was a big cheerleader for the FWB relationship. “You know what you want,” I would cheer. “Get yours, girl!” Except back then I didn’t know how wrong I was. If you were personally pushed into a bad situation because of my pro-FWB stance, I apologize. Here’s the real truth about FWB: someone always gets hurt.
You could get hurt. Science tells us that both kissing and sex release chemicals in our brains called dopamine. Dopamine basically turns our brains to mush and makes us crave that person like they are a freaking drug (Editor’s note: Cue this). Case in point, have you ever felt like you were seriously going nuts all over a kiss with a boy? Well, science says it’s dopamine. And it’s dopamine that encourages you to continuously seek this person out for a connection. The problem with this is that eventually all this dopamine could turn into genuine compassion for another person, and then boom – you’re in a place you don’t to be. A place with feelings.
If you want to tell me that you’re an ice queen and this would never happen to you, then think about the person you’ve been fooling around with. They could develop feelings for you and then you have to be the asshole that breaks their heart. You have to be the one saying the cliched bullshit like, “You knew what this was when we started. Why do you have to complicate it with feelings?” Ugh. No one like saying these things, and no one likes hearing them. And even if neither of you develops real feelings, that doesn’t stop jealousy when you see your FWB flirting with someone at the bar when you expected to be going home with him or her. I’ve had to talk a few friends off a ledge in those situations.
And if neither one of you ends up falling for the other? That’s good. But someone could still get hurt. The next girlfriend that comes around, because you two decided to remain friends, has to deal with you – she’s hurting. The friend who said it was “totally fine” but harbors a massive crush on other friend – she’s hurting. Or, God forbid, what if something happens? Your birth control could fail, the condom could break. My question to all of these “friends” is, are you going to be that close when you have to make a decision that would change both of your lives? I want it to be understood that I’m not hating on all casual sex, but I’m questioning what that would do to the friendship? If, for whatever reason, the friendship ends – wouldn’t you get hurt?
I’ve been preaching about being bold and going after what you want. I still believe that to be true. If what you want is your best guy friend, go after him. But do it from a romantic place, because staying in limbo will literally break your heart every day. Or his heart. Go after what you want. Get it, girl. But be honest with yourself and your intentions.
Molly is a senior journalism/English major at a school you haven’t heard of in a state you haven’t heard of. She’s obsessed with Chandler Bing, English bulldogs, and cheese. Follow her on twitter @gwacamolly, or check out her website accordingtomolly.com.