The Rules of Having a Friends with Benefits Arrangement
The Rules of Being Friends with Benefits
What exactly are the rules for a successful “friends with benefits” relationship? Can you call it a relationship or are we already confusing the situation and over-complicating things, after all, we just said the word “relationship”?
Friends with benefits arrangements can be a minefield but one that many guys and girls manage quite successfully. Let’s take a look at the golden rules when it comes to being friends with benefits:
Protect your friendship
If you are friends and have been friends for a long time, then the number one rule to being friends with benefits has to be to protect the friendship. It may be that you are girlfriends that have known each other since a very young age, it may be that you are a guy and girl that met at work, became friendly over the coffee machine, and have flirted with an attraction ever since. It may be your best guy or girlfriend that offers everything your dream partner does but neither of you is ready for that kind of commitment. The number one priority before you hop between the sheets is that you protect your friendship. If the friendship is far more important than the benefits then you need to ask yourself if this is the right decision.
Agree on your expectations from the outset
If you have got past the first rule and decided that you are both grown up enough to handle the outcome then you need to sit down and discuss what you both expect from this arrangement. If one of you is expecting a quick leg over while the other is thinking of the color of the bedroom walls in the house you will buy together then you are going to have a problem. Just like Jude Law and Cameron Diaz in The Holiday you need to at least start at with the same expectations (even if that didn’t exactly stay that way).
Carrying on as friends when the benefits have stopped
Actor, Bradley Cooper was able to manage a FWB relationship with his school best friend and carry on their friendship later. He put this down to the fact that they were enjoying being each other before they both went their own separate ways to college. If you don’t see each other every day at work, for example, it can be much easier to maintain your friendship once the benefits have stopped.
Agreeing the boundaries
If a friendship does cross over into a mutually beneficial sexual arrangement then you are going to need to discuss the boundaries. What are your limits and how far are you likely to go? If you feel uncomfortable at the thought of undertaking a beneficial arrangement with the likes of Christian Grey then you need to consider if this is for you. Make sure you discuss with each other what you are comfortable with.
You may be best friends that know everything there is to know about each other but this isn’t going to stop you either getting pregnant or getting someone pregnant or passing on a sexually transmitted disease that you may have picked up unwittingly at the five to two club call! Be sensible. If you really are friends then there should be a mutual respect that means that protection is a priority.
Sex without emotion
For some people, removing the emotion is hard and if your friend is one of these people then run for the hills before you agree to a friends with benefits arrangement. For many though, sex can be just about the gratification and a quick hook up here and there keeps both parties happy for a while at least. Perhaps you have become sick of being let down by guys or girls and you want some sex that is dependable with someone you trust. If it’s just a practical solution to a problem then you can enjoy the sex without the emotion.
Read the signs
If everything is happy and you are all calm, casual and seemingly happy with the situation then the chances are that your FWB situation is working but what happens when something is not right? Perhaps the other person has stopped sending messages and gone all quiet. Perhaps they are behaving awkwardly around you. You need to be able to read the signs and discuss any issues. Maybe they have met someone else and are worried about telling you or maybe they are in too deep and you are going to have to avoid a potential bunny boiler situation. It is important to be able to read the signs and discuss these things openly though.
Accepting when to let go
If you have set very clear rules like the fact that you will both enjoy the benefits until the other one meets someone, it can be tested once the other person actually does meet someone. This is the time when you need to be able to let go and be happy for the other person. If this was just a purely platonic arrangement then it won’t be a problem.
Perhaps there won’t come a time to let go
Maybe there won’t be a time to let go and you decide that you want to make your friends with benefits relationship last. Perhaps it has become exactly that – “a relationship”. In the film “Friends With Benefits” the characters of Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake develop deep feelings for each other and it becomes much more than FWB. This is fine as long as it is what you both want.
In conclusion, you have to make sure that you both know what you are getting into from the outset. Respect each other’s feelings, agree on the terms and boundaries of the friends with benefits arrangement and remember that first and foremost you are friends. If all of this is fine with both parties then all that remains is to have FUN!