Play by the rules.
For many, a friend with benefits is like training wheels for a real, grownup, relationship.
It requires you to be honest to a fault, and to communicate like you are paid communicating professional.
If you do it well, your reward is good sex, on the regs, with no long-term strings attached.
But here's the tricky part: doing it well? That can be nigh on impossible. Especially if you're still dating in the hopes of finding a long-term partner to spend your life with.
Here's the good news, you CAN date and still have a friend with benefits. There are just a handful of rules you've got to keep in mind.
1. Always practice safe sex
This is a no brainer, and something you should be doing anyway (says your judgmental internet friend), but always, always, always, have safe sex. Be it with your FWB or someone you're dating casually. If you have multiple partners, it's literally a matter of life and death. Plus I hear tell that having your FWB's baby can lead to Hollywood asking if they can option your story to make a shitty romantic comedy nobody pays to see.
2. Set a schedule
I know, I know, spontaneity is part of what makes sex with your FWB so damn hot. But if you're looking for a partner and still hoping to keep your FWB on standby you've got to make sure you're actually making time to date.
You don't have to nail down your sex date to the very minute, but pick a day during the week and stick with it.
3. Make some rules
Speaking of which, when it comes to managing a friends with benefit relationship AND dating, rules are very much your friend. Blurred lines are the very last thing you want, so make sure you let your FWB know that you're dating. Find out what he's up to as well. Communication is a hell of a thing.
Setting up rules and boundaries with FWB now will save you some heartache down the line.
4. Pick your FWB wisely
If you're still dating, make sure your FWB is someone you would never date in a million years. I mean it!
5. Know when to pull the plug
The instant that you start to date someone you see a future with, it's time to end your FWB situation. It's not fair to your friend, and it's not fair to you as you embark on a new relationship.
It might be tempting to wait a little longer to see how things play out, but if you do that, you run the risk of hurt feelings all over the place.
When it comes to all personal relationships I'm a huge proponent of the Campsite Rule as coined by the wonderful Dan Savage: Leave your partner in a better state than they were when you found them.