We know the old song and dance. Being friends with benefits can either be an awesome arrangement or a ticking time bomb. The question is: do we want to take part? Learn what to expect and know when to bow out. Most of all, lay down the ground rules with your friend right from the start. Do you want to be exclusive? How often can I call you over for Netflix and Chill? Can we binge Star Wars in the order I think is canon or is that too date-ish?
If you’re thinking of having a friend with benefits, think about some of the pros and cons of this relationship.
Pro: It’s a fun relationship without the emotional baggage.
Let’s face it — There’s a lot less drama with your friends compared to with your significant other. It’s easy to be insecure with someone you want to date, which in turn results in tension. With a close friend, you know each other’s quirks and flaws, and you don’t have to keep appearances. Order the burger at that restaurant you love! Fart and blame the other person! Wear those comfy sweats instead of that new scratchy shirt! The rules of dates don’t apply here (within reason, of course).
Con: Sometimes feelings get in the way.
One of the greatest downfalls of a friends with benefits relationship. Despite all the fun and games, we know sex is a very intimate and emotional thing. Who wouldn’t get attached (no pun intended)? If this happens you have one of two choices: take a chance and tell them or break off the agreement. Never stay friends with benefits with someone with the expectation that they’ll fall in love with you. Keep your feelings close and your wits closer.
Pro: You have less awkward conversations.
Have you ever wanted to tell your partner “You’re not quite hitting it right” or any other insecurity both in and outside the bedroom? There’s a lot of pressure to be perfect with your boyfriend or girlfriend. However, it’s a lot less awkward talking about your kinks and quirks with your friends. I’m sure you’re a lot more honest with your friends than your significant other when it comes to the bedroom. It’s like having a therapist! All of the pros of having someone to talk to with none of the judgement.
Cons: You have to figure out how to act outside the bedroom.
You two bang and then you hang. It’s a seemingly simple agreement, but your other friends might not be as understanding. To avoid lectures of “You’re too good for him” and “Why don’t you two just date?” most people hide their Friends with Benefits status.
This is where the relationship truly feels like you’re walking on a tightrope; especially when you hang out with a group of your friends. “Can we hug? Nah, maybe that’s too much. Handshake? Too formal.” Soon enough, your friends are onto you and you’re answering a hundred texts about the hows and whys of your relationship. If you find yourself feeling awkward and lost, just relax. They’re still your friend. You’re just well acquainted with all of them now. Including that mole on their left butt cheek.
Pro: You can date on the side.
Even though you hook up with your friend, that doesn’t automatically make you exclusive. That’s the beauty of being friends with benefits. Unless you’ve agreed otherwise, having a friend with benefits is all the perks of having a partner without any of the stressful commitment. You shouldn’t have any trust issues as long as you set the rules right from the get go. Have some fun with your pick of the lot.
Con: You can date on the side.
Sadly, this isn’t without its downfalls. Although one partner might be okay with you sleeping around, others might not be so open. Remember what we said earlier about feelings? Not to mention that multiple partners might lead to an uncomfortable doctors visit. Practice safe sex, folks! Be smart and remember to keep your heart and the bedroom as separate as you can. And for the love of God, if you decide to fully commit and date someone don’t keep hooking up with your friends. If you can’t, chances are you’re going to have some pretty awkward conversations with your partners. And probably some injuries.
Pros: It’s a good chance to experiment.
Do you prefer the comfy bed or the couch? Are you the type to keep your socks on or off? This is the perfect opportunity to test out what works for you and what doesn’t without any of the judgement. Try that sex position you found on Cosmopolitan. See if eating pineapples really makes a difference. Experiment at will. Plus, you’ll know exactly what you want for any future commitment. Win-win for both parties.
Cons: It can ruin your friendship.
The final destination that we all fear. It’s one thing to lose a boyfriend or girlfriend. We cry, get angry and eventually heal. It’s an entirely different thing to lose a friend; especially one who knows you more intimately than ever. Despite all the reassurances that nothing can get between you two, anything can happen. Keep communication open and don’t be afraid to voice your concerns to your partner. Most likely they’re worried, too.
I hear so many things about friends with benefits being toxic or a waste of time. In my personal experience, being friends with benefits can actually be healthy if you’re smart about it. It’s not a relationship everyone can handle, nor is it for the weak of heart. Just because you’re friends doesn’t mean you’re both immune to heartbreak. If you can’t be honest with your friend, then why start this kind of relationship in the first place? Communicate and be honest.