In TV and movies, the friends with benefits scenario are either the perfect relationship that melts easily into the “real” thing or is a nightmare where one person ends up devastated. Can you be friends and lovers without it ending in tears and endless pints of Death by Chocolate ice cream? The answer is: maybe.
Communication is Key
No matter what type of relationship you want or have, the most important thing is communication. Also important:
- Similar goals
- Well-established boundaries
Any time you are going to be intimate with someone, even someone that you have known for a long period of time you allow yourself to be vulnerable. It may feel awkward at first and that’s normal. Go ahead and allow yourself to feel a little silly because your new partner is probably feeling the same way.
Communication is one of the places where being friends first is going to be a huge advantage. You probably already know how to talk to one another and might even have your own shorthand and secret language. Use that foundation to build up your intimate relationship.
You should definitely have the “feelings” talk before you do the deed. The morning after is no time to realize that one of you is falling in love while the other one is nowhere near that stage. Talk to your friend before you lose it all.
Trust Before Lust
If you can’t trust a friend, maybe you aren’t as friendly as you thought. Adding sex to any relationship changes it sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse. Even if you have been friends for years on end the new aspect of getting down is going to bring up some new issues. Are you ready for them?
Alright, yes. One of the similar goals should be satisfied for both parties. This goes back to the ability to communicate “I really like it when you touch me here” and trust. You should know that your new partner is going to do what it takes to get the job done. Side note: no one wins with an Oscar-worthy performance. Don’t try to massage a partner’s ego with a thrashing, squealing but totally not real orgasm. Be kind but honest.
Oh, and please resist the urge to slip back to friend mode by punching your self-conscious lover in the arm and saying “Better luck next time, Champ!”
The bigger picture is what’s important here. Are you hoping to go from FWB to steady partners with a future? Do you hope to just be friends who occasionally sleep together until one of you meets their special someone? Get on the same page before you get on the same sheets or it could get real ugly, real fast. If you want to still do the friend thing and hang out, then say so.
Well-established Boundaries or The Rules of Engagement
Here’s a super fun part of the friends with benefits thing that never gets accurately portrayed in the media, ever. Your boundaries might include:
- How you introduce one another to friends, family, and others
- Will you be monogamous but not committed?
- What about texting/calling?
- Do you have a line in the sand and if so, what happens if it is crossed?
You may have a group of friends in common or you may know each other’s family. It should be discussed how these people are going to be told or not told about this change. Do you even want other people to know about the intimate moments or will keeping it a secret be just a naughty bit of fun for the two of you?
FWBs can be monogamous especially when one of them has no interest in the dating world but still has physical needs that must be met. Monogamy does not always automatically mean commitment just as the reverse is also true.
Did your friend call you all of the time before you slept together? Did you rarely call or text? Do you want that to change now and if so, how? You might worry if there is a sudden change in calls and texting. Do they think the relationship is more than it was supposed to be? Make sure that you are keeping up with your communication especially if remaining friends is what is the most important thing to you.
That Line in the Sand
Conflicts arise in every relationship, no matter what kind it is and how solid you think it might be. What is the thing that may make you want to walk away from everything, even to the point of ending the friendship?
Can You Stay Friends When the Fire Dies?
Sometimes in the movies, the FWB situation ends in sobbing tears, angry words, and hurt feelings. The couple vows never to speak to one another and the entire friend circle falls apart. You can stay friends with a former lover but it may take time to get back to that point. There is bound to be some awkwardness between you so accept that.
Your friends may also be awkward especially if they know about the sex. Try to keep a positive attitude and eventually a new normal can be established. But, there is a big exception to this. If you stopped sleeping together because one of you changed the rules of the game by falling in love or pushing for more than the other was willing or able to give, you probably will have a harder time getting back to just friends.
Sometimes, you have to let go completely. Sometimes you realize that you don’t work well as lovers at all so going back to being friends is super simple. And sometimes you get so confused that you don’t know what to think and you drive everyone crazy asking questions.
And if you have to just let things go, here’s an article from US Magazine (https://www.usmagazine.com/entertainment/news/2021s-best-hookup-sites/) that goes over the top hookup apps that you can use to find a new FWB partner. Remember, it is better to find someone new rather than having to compromise on every aspect of your relationship just to stay with the same person.
Yes, friends with benefits can be fun but only if you are both on the same page and able to stay on the same page the whole time.