What Is Friends With Benefits?
For those of you who have not had the pleasure of watching the romantic comedy of the same name, starring Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis, you may be wondering what on earth the term ‘friends with benefits’ dating means. In the 21st century, ‘friends with benefits’ (FWB) refers to two good friends who have a casual, ‘no strings attached,’ intimate relationship.
There is no commitment, no romance or future obligation. Both parties are free to date whoever they want, when they want and they simply meet up for friendship and to fulfil their innate desires. FWB could be construed as being the ideal solution for a commitment phobic individual who is afraid of tying themselves down to one individual. You get all the benefits but without the hassle.
Friends With Benefits Rules
Unsurprisingly, FWB dating is more often than not a recipe for disaster. One partner inevitably ends up getting more involved than the other. This can lead to feelings of confusion, rejection and even jealousy. Often, the person getting hurt is the woman. At the risk of stating the obvious, men and women are wired differently. For men, they are committing a physical act that does not require love or commitment. Women, on the other hand, are far more emotional creatures and tend to associate intimacy with love.
Ultimately, whether they are conscious of it or not, a woman is typically seeking a permanent relationship. ‘Getting busy with it,’ without all of the romantic trappings, often results in them feeling cheap and used. The emotional consequences for a woman engaging in a FWB relationship can be considerable. Indeed, the woman may find the ‘matter of fact’ approach adopted by the man to be rather heartless. ‘Giving themselves’ to a man tends to change everything for the female of the species.
Finding Friends With Benefits
There are many dating websites which are now specifically targeting this relatively new market. They match up like-minded individuals who are essentially looking for a no commitment physical relationship. Typically however, FWB refers to a pre-existing friendship that shifts from a platonic level. It usually suits people at certain stages of their life, often before or after a committed relationship.
Although the term is commonly associated with people in their twenties, there are an increasing number of divorcees getting in on the act. Regardless of age, both parties need to open-minded and on the same wavelength as regards their ‘non-relationship.’
A friends with benefits relationship is fraught with potential problems. Below are some of the most common.
Anyone who is not in a monogamous relationship needs to be sensible about the risks of catching a multitude of diseases and must take sensible precautions. Even if you are not sleeping with anyone else, the arrangement allows your friend with benefits to sleep around should he, or she, wish.
- Unplanned Pregnancy
Even for those who are being sensible, there is always that small risk that your contraception fails. You both need to consider in advance what you would do, should this occur. You may discover that you both hold entirely opposing views on the matter.
- Your Family and Friends Will Disapprove
Well, most of them will. There are always exceptions to the rule! On the whole, they will not approve of your friends with benefits dating arrangement. They will struggle to understand the nature of your relationship to the extent that you may be too embarrassed to tell them and may feel compelled to keep it a secret.
- You Both Have Different Expectations Of The Arrangement
One of you may be viewing the arrangement as a short term stopgap whilst the other sees it as the start of a permanent, long term relationship.
- One Of You Will Have Stronger Feelings Than The Other
In fairness, this can probably be said of most relationships and the dynamic does tend to change over time. However, you are signing up to an arrangement whereby you are unable to get romantically involved. This can lead to feelings of jealousy, resentment and hurt.
- It Can Stop You From Finding A Committed Relationship
Whilst you are involved in a friends with benefits relationship you may, albeit unconsciously, be preventing yourself from finding Mr or Mrs Right.
- It Can Destroy The Friendship
A pre-existing friendship can be destroyed and may result in animosity between the two parties.
Given the potential for such a relationship to cause such harm, the question begs to be asked, why would anyone enter into a friends with benefits relationship in the first place?
The FWB arrangement is clinical and cold. Whilst it may suit some, it is definitely not to be recommended for the majority of individuals out there.
What are your thoughts? Have you ever been in a friends with benefits arrangement?