We’ve seen the term friends with benefits thrown out on dating apps, social media platforms, and casual dialogue with friends, but is it possible to engage in a no-strings-attached romantic relationship without any emotional consequences? Some prefer to take a loose approach when getting to know someone romantically before rushing into tacking on a relationship label. However, the idea of friends with benefits can get a bad rap sometimes, as there’s an assumption that this relationship dynamic is only for people who aren’t serious about commitment and are emotionally unavailable.
While this may be true to a certain extent, others believe that there are some upsides to engaging in friends-with-benefits situations and scenarios. Regardless of your stance, it’s essential to understand that these relationships are usually non-committal and non-monogamous. Some highlights of friends with benefits include (if done correctly) a consistent sex partner without the emotional strings attached of a long-term relationship commitment and genuine fun and connection without the added pressure of deciding how you fit into each other’s lives.
What do friends with benefits mean?
Simply put, a friends-with-benefits relationship is where two individuals who have a previous connection hang out casually and have sex without romantic feelings involved and without any talks of long-term commitment down the road. This dynamic usually works for people interested in spending time with each other but don’t care to pursue one another romantically. As mentioned, a FWB situation is non-non-monogamous, allowing the individuals involved also to date and have sex with other people as well. Although there’s a lot of casual sex in these relationships, there’s still a level of commitment to kindness – as you choose to share your body with another individual consistently.
How can you determine if a friends-with-benefits situation works for you?
If you aren’t ready to commit yourself emotionally to another person, this dynamic may be best for you. Additionally, if you aren’t interested in a relationship’s formal and informal obligations or willing to invest financially into a seriously committed partnership, a friends-with-benefits scenario would be right up your alley. Also, someone who has had negative experiences in previous relationships and isn’t ready to open up emotionally can benefit from the physical benefits of an FWB relationship. Also, those with no interest in romantic attraction may be drawn to these relationships, including people already in open romantic relationships, solely looking to fulfill sexual needs.
How can you have a healthy “friends with benefits” relationship?
Be transparent with yourself: Knowing what you’re getting into when delving into a FWB situation is essential. Are you a person that can handle consistent sex without a commitment, or do you need more assurance? It’s also necessary to be clear on the definition of friends with benefits, as it means something different for everyone.
Define the relationship: If you decide to engage and participate in a friends-with-benefits situation with another individual, work together to define the relationship. You should determine what you want to get out of the relationship. What are expectations around intimacy, exclusivity, and safe sex, given that multiple partners will be involved? Share your boundaries; this includes emotional limits, sexual protections, and where you’ll meet occasionally.
Check-in with each other to communicate: While it’s a “no strings attached” situation, you should still care about your emotional well-being and the other individuals involved. Expressing your emotions consistently is a surefire way to avoid others getting deeply hurt by the situation.
Practice empathy: There are many ways to set boundaries, ask for the needed space, and stay true to your needs without being unkind. Although you and your FWB partner committed to causal sex, that doesn’t serve as an out to be emotionally insensitive because you are friends and should be mindful of their emotions. Care for yourself and others.