Can Friends With Benefits Work?
What Are Friends with Benefits?
Friends with benefits are friendships where sex is added to the relationship. While some of the best romances arise from friendships, friends with benefits tries to maintain an emotional distance even as they add physical closeness.
What Happens when You Try to Be Friends with Benefits?
Women need to be careful of the tendency to fall in love with who we sleep with, and sex can lead to a friendship becoming a romance. They also need to understand (and admit it before they have sex) that men are capable of casual sex without romantic attraction while most women are not. Too many women engage in casual sex with men thinking it will lead to love or that it equals love, and then they’re shattered when he moves on to another partner. He’s then surprised, “I thought you said it was just casual, that there weren’t deeper emotions, how can you be angry or upset?”
Fear of the friendship being ruined by casual sex or a broken heart because women instinctively fall in love with their first few sexual partners is why many decent guys get “friend-zoned”. Women need to think about what they want in a partner and not divorce sex from romance. They also need to be open in discussing their feelings with the man who may see a female friend adding sexual benefits becoming a girlfriend; if she then goes off with someone else or rebounds with an ex, he’s angry or hurt.
If he’s a friend and potential romantic partner, don’t enter a “friends with benefits” arrangement because you’re keeping it casual and open. Instead, if you want it to be romantic and start on the path to vetting each other as life partners, ask him to date you, court you or otherwise enter a relationship with an expectation of exclusivity and depth. When you enter a casual relationship, whether sexual or social, you engage in protective behaviors that nearly guarantee you’ll break up. This is why couples that live together with children are three to four times more likely to break up than if they actually married before having kids; the protective behaviors each partner engages in prevents them from coming together for a lifetime.
If you are honest with each other and clear about the relationship, such protective behaviors can allow you to share a bed and remain friends. It also reduces the hurt when that partner leaves, because you knew that it wasn’t intended to be the precursor to a friendship. Such an understanding also reduces the woman’s pain if the one night stand for each other’s sexual gratification is treated as a temporary experience by the other side. Set clear rules like sexual exclusivity to prevent transmission of sexually transmitted diseases, notices as to when the sexual side is over and clear communication about feelings that may develop.
In short, if you want a romantic relationship, do look at your current male friends as potential partners. But don’t add casual sex and expect a long term relationship to arise from a friends with benefits scenario. You’ll only get the long term relationship if that’s the expectation at the start – including sexual relations.
© 2017 Tamara Wilhite