Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Rules of "Friends With Benefits"

While I am eagerly awaiting the release of Justin Timberlake's (I LOVE him btw!) new movie "Friends With Benefits", I wonder whether or not men and women are capable of maintaining such relationships.  Romantic comedies try to convince us that friends with benefits (FWB) will eventually fall in love and live happily ever after.  Although they may go through some bumps along the way, they express their love and get it together in under 2 hours.     
Regrettably, most real life FWB situations don't turn out as well.  

So this got me thinking.  Can a FWB relationship be a good thing?  In my opinion, yes, but it depends.  There are many factors which will determine whether or not friends can have sex with each other yet keep their original friendship in tact.  I am not suggesting that friends should use each other for sexual gratification or that an arrangement such as this is for everyone.  The truth is, most friendships will not be able to withstand the complexities that are a direct result of having sex.  Emotional turmoil will keep most FWB from returning to their normal friendship.  Therefore, entering into a FWB relationship with your friend is probably not a good idea. 

But, for those who throw caution to the wind and have no-strings sex with their friends, a few things to consider:  
Rule #1: Establish some ground rules
Both parties should agree on their own FWB etiquette.  There needs to be a clear understanding of what is/isn't okay.  Do you spend the night together?  Are your encounters spontaneous or planned?  Are you sexually exclusive (if so, what is the point of being FWB)?  Do you tell other people?
These are better answered before sexual activity occurs.  Each party should know what is expected of them in order to decrease the potential for drama in the future.

Rule #2: Communication is key!     
I get that the point of a FWB situation is that you don't have to talk about relationship stuff.  But, in order for it to work, you DO have to talk about relationship stuff.  After the ground rules are set, continue to discuss the situation.  It is important to check in to see if it is "still working" for both parties and how to proceed if it is not.

Rule #3: Know when to say when
Remind yourself that this person is first and foremost your friend and the goal is to remain friends.  Therefore, you may have to put their needs ahead of yours.  Is he/she acting differently?  Do you have a feeling that they are wanting more/less from the situation?  If so, it may be time to end it.
Unfortunately, most FWB relationships only benefit one person.  The one who can remain emotionally unattached and doesn't equate sex with love.  Usually the male will have an easier transition in and out of the FWB situation.