If you're still single and looking for a long-lasting love, you may have a problem...
Why when a woman sets her profile status as “seeking a long-term relationship” she gets little to no interest? However, as soon as she changes her status to “casual dating/not seeking a commitment” she is flooded with responses. After talking to friends and colleagues and searching the E-Harmony’s Advice Page, Plentyoffish, Love Detour, Videojug, and too many other sites, I discovered the increasing trend in friends with benefits.
Not to be confused with those seeking the “intimate encounter” scenario because they are married, or in a relationship and are sneaking around, the friends with benefits/casual dating phenomenon suggests that many are not necessarily just afraid to commit. That many see long-term relationships today like an STD, something to avoid at all cost, is startling.
This trend is not necessarily prevalent in the male species. In all fairness, this debate cannot be limited to men only. Studies show that more women are enjoying the trend of casual dating, or simply having a friend with benefits as well. With divorce on the rise, with more partners walking away with the hard-earned revenue of their spouse, marriage is already on the decline. Now, long-term relationships seem to be in jeopardy as well as more people are opting out of the long-established norm.
Why? Both men and women admit to distrusting their partners as one of the main reasons they will not commit. That makes sense, since according to psychological experts the figures on infidelity are skewed as people are generally unwilling to admit when they have cheated. As a result, rather than commit to someone who may eventually cheat on them, break their hearts and destroy their trust, single people would rather come into the relationship with eyes wide open. Thus, many believe that entering a casual dating relationship is one way to avoid heartache by calling the shots and having a say-so in their casual partner’s other exploits.
Casual dating, or becoming a friend with benefits, is simply as the name suggests. It is not a one night stand. For some, it can be.
For many, it is similar to any relationship. However, this relationship is physically, not emotionally charged. That means two people chat, text, sext and communicate in some way before they meet to try to get to know one another beforehand, just as they would if they were actually seeking a long-term relationship.
However, because sex is implied, their communication may veer off to topics about sex long before those involved in conventional dating may do so. Usually, sex happens sooner in this case too. There is no waiting game as the two are in agreement that sex has to happen, unlike conventional relationships. Still, making the decision to become friends with benefits may be more problematic for those involved than many consider.
Why choose this type of relationship in the first place? It could have something to do with the fact that this relationship is thought to be drama-free. I’ve asked several guys who prefer casual dating/not seeking a commitment, or the friends with benefits situation about this. They all agree that this type of dating provides them with the intimacy they seek without the “nagging and whining” their female counterparts tend to do once in a long-term relationship. In other words, they want to have sex; they want to have fun; they want the benefits of a relationship without the consequences involved with a long-term relationship.
In short, they can be close to a woman, hold her and please her. Likewise, they want to gratify their own bodily needs without the emotional rollercoaster most in long-term/committed relationships experience. And in this way, if they have another relationship interest, they are free to pursue this interest, guilt-free.
Why? The fwb (friend with benefits) or casual partner is already in full agreement with this philosophy when she enters the relationship. Likewise, women are beginning to appreciate this trend as some want to date more than one guy at a time.
For some women, this is simply about avoiding a stagnant sex life through sexual exploration. For those with ravenous appetites, for the woman seeking sexual fulfillment without the confines of a commitment, she can enjoy being a casual dater, or someone’s friend with benefits. Sounds perfect, right? For some, it is.
Though many still prefer the attachment and companionship of the real thing to a relationship simply based on sex, with websites catering to this need on the rise, it is far easier for some to push aside conventional dating to opt for a casual dating/friends with benefits situation rather than forge through and reap the benefits of a long-term relationship.
***N. Meridian is a ghostwriter, editor and freelance writer of many subjects. ***