Ahh the Friends with Benefits relationship! The holy grail to many people. Many have tried to reach this so called “optimum” area of existence but have failed miserably.
So what goes wrong when people try to get into the Friends with Benefits relationship game and how can we avoid it? Is there truly a way to achieve the Friends with Benefits Status?
CRUCIAL – Make it clear when you are about to get into a Friends with Benefits relationship that you are not looking for a long term relationship. Duhh! Right? You would be surprised how many people get into this type of relationship with a good friend who has a real crush on them only to break their hearts later and ruin a good friendship. It is so important to let the other person know what you are thinking.
This relationship can begin in one of two ways – two people meet and frequently sleep together or two friends decide to upgrade their already existing platonic relationship.
The former scenario is not really Friends with Benefits because you are not really friends. You are lovers! And that is the relationship plain and simple.
You will either begin dating or it will fizzle out and you will each go your separate ways. For the purposes of this piece, we are speaking of the latter case.
If you are already platonic friends, and you decide to upgrade to a Friends with Benefits type relationship, ask the other person if it will be long or short term.
Will it be something that will continue until one or both of you find yourself in a relationship with someone else?
Friends with Benefits is best when kept to the short term. If the other person starts dating someone, then it should end. It may restart again if the person then breaks up with the person they were dating but that can be discussed at that later date.
One of the main reasons why these Friends with Benefits relationships don’t work for most people is jealousy. You are sleeping with your friend and then they start sleeping with someone else – will you get jealous?
Ask yourself that question before getting into this type of relationship. If you won’t get jealous, then you are ready for this relationship. If you will get jealous, then you should make that clear to your friend.
But most times, people who say that they won’t be jealous end up being jealous. This is because jealousy is a basic human emotion. You have to be pretty mature as a person to recognize jealousy for what it is and not succumb to it.
It is therefore important to establish rules on the onset of the relationship. If you will get jealous and if you decide to keep it exclusive then why not just date the person?
And if you want to keep the relationship non-exclusive then you should make that known to both parties. Certain open minded people can keep open relationships because they discuss each aspect in a clear and friendly manner so that there are no misconceptions. Learn from them!
If you are trying it for a short time but find that you cannot be intimate without having some emotional connection to a person, then you are part of the normal population for whom this type of relationship cannot work unless you change your mindset.
Does that mean that you should avoid and disdain the Friends with Benefits relationship? No, I put it to you that this type of relationship has its advantages and that you should try to incorporate it into your life but think about it slightly differently.
Make a friends with benefits relationship work by simply looking at it as a pre-dating relationship. In the old days, there was no such thing as dating.
Your parents would find you a spouse and that was that. Slowly dating began to emerge and then premarital experimentation reared its beautiful head.
Dating and premarital hanky panky was seen as a way of finding if you were compatible with your partner before you got married.
Friends with Benefits can become a way for you to find out if you are physically compatible with a person before you decide to emotionally invest yourself with dating them.
Dating should be medium to long term and Friends with Benefits should be short term. Understand though that there is a point to the Friends with Benefits relationship and that it is finite.
It can either end in termination or an upgrade to dating but even with termination, it is easier to revert back to platonic friendship from a Friends with Benefits relationship than it is to become friends after you break up a traditional romantic relationship.
Remember Jerry and Elaine from the TV show Seinfeld? They tried it and it did not work for them but that does not mean that it cannot work for you.
I know couples who are Friends with Benefits with other couples or women. In such scenarios, everyone participates in the fun but the key is to separate love and physical intimacy.
So if you are looking to have this kind of relationship, your maturity is key! You need to set the ground rules with the other person first before taking the plunge.
The funny thing is that most often, this kind of relationship is tried in college or in a person’s early twenties when they are not mature enough to pull it off. This frequently leads to jealousy and heartbreak.
So before trying a Friends with Benefits relationship, why not just try dating the person in question? If they are against dating then you can try the Friends with Benefits thing as a precursor to dating (as mentioned above) but remember jealousy can easily rear its ugly head so be careful and don’t take it too seriously.
Please be safe and always use protection even when making love to a known friend. It is very important to always be careful in this day and age. You should also make sure to be upfront about everything. Problems mostly occur from lack of honesty.
Truth is your insurance policy when it comes to relationships. That way, if things turn ugly, you can always say that you were up front and open about expectations.
Be safe and well