The lines can get blurred when it comes to these types of relationships, as sex and love can complicate things.
Whether it’s a friend or someone you hang out with every often and fool around with, a friend with benefits scenario can satisfy your sexual needs. It’s more than a one-night stand but less than boyfriend/girlfriend status, yet it fills a need without diving deep into anything meaningful.
The lines can get blurred when it comes to these types of relationships, as sex and love can complicate things. But if you draw clear boundaries, these temporary dynamics can be a sexual way out.
If you want to hang out and hook up, there are 10 things to keep in mind:
Don’t have unrealistic expectations
If you go into friends with benefits situation expecting it to become something more, you are going to end up disappointed. If you and your sex partner agree to this kind of relationship and you then don’t know why they won’t date you, it’s because that was never on the table.
If you are uncomfortable with casual sex that doesn’t have a chance of developing into a relationship, don’t venture into friends with benefits arrangement. Don’t make the mistake of hoping that your FWB will turn into something more.
Do capitalize on their benefits
Another FWB mistake is friends not capitalizing on their benefits. Both parties have an open, commitment-free, no-judgment-zone relationship where they could do anything they want to or have wanted to. To really capitalize on your friends-with-benefits situation, use that time to explore, try and see what you like.
Don’t make any assumptions
Assuming what another person feels or wants is dangerous to any relationship. If you both go into a sexual relationship with eyes wide open and full communication, then there can be no misunderstandings.
It is a tightrope you walk if you have been very close for a long time. Misunderstandings can end the entire friendship. If you are more casual, then the stakes aren’t so high. Either way, there should be some serious grown-up open discussion around the subject.
A lack of self-awareness can lead to a lack of communication. Sometimes, we think we are fine with a situation because we haven’t really done our self-work. People regularly accept an FWB situation in the hopes that more will develop, and sometimes they don’t even know at first that’s what they are doing.
Speak up if feelings develop
If feelings weren’t part of the initial negotiation but develop anyway, say something. It might mean the end of the FWB arrangement, but it means less hurt down the line. Maybe the other person feels the same way. You won’t know if you don’t talk about it. So talk to your friend.
Put friendship first
An FWB arrangement probably means you will go back to being friends when you are tired of hooking up or when one of you starts dating someone else. Throughout the FWB period, focus on being a good friend who’s also good in bed so it makes transitioning back to being friends seamless.
Don’t maintain FWB past its expiration date
The whole point of FWB is that it should be fun. If you are hooking up and both people are having a good time, keep going. If it starts being stressful, confusing or not that fun, it’s probably worth high-fiving and transitioning back to a traditional friendship.
It’s not always sexy to have a ‘what are we doing here?’ talk before you hook up for the first time. But if you have been together a few times and you want to keep it going, make sure you are both on the same page about expectations.
Are you hooking up with other people? Are you dating other people? Could it turn into a relationship? Ask the questions otherwise, someone’s probably going to get hurt and your friendship could get really awkward, really fast.
Set ground rules
By definition, an FWB scenario means it’s an open relationship. It’s up to both parties to define what that means. Does FWB mean you don’t owe an explanation to the other person in regard to anyone else you are sleeping with?
It’s up to you to say what works for you. This is something you can ask. Having a conversation before you are physically intimate with them minimizes the possibility that one person may be building a connection while the other is thinking it’s just physical.
If you are thinking it can be FWB at first and then discover that you would like to have a monogamous relationship, you should express that you may be interested in that. Setting the stage for a relationship in this way comes with a very likely chance for you to be disappointed if the other person is not open to this. Be clear and direct with what you want or may want from the beginning. Communicate your needs clearly.