How To Make A 'Friends With Benefits' Relationship Work (Even If You Develop Feelings)

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How To Make A 'Friend With Benefits' Relationship Work (Even If You're Falling In Love)
Love

Pay very close attention...

So you were between relationships and feeling exceptionally turned on. We've all been there, my friend. We have all been there.

Sure, you could always have scratched that itch with your favorite sex toy or seven, but sometimes you need that feeling only the skin-to-skin contact only partnered sex can provide. 

That's when having a "friend with benefits", also known as an FWB, can be exceptionally worthwhile.

The concept of any FWB relationship is relatively simple.

You and a friend you share a mutual sexual attraction with agree that you will occasionally get together and have sex with the explicit understanding things will NOT develop into a romantic relationship in the future. The two of you will enjoy having a hot, sexy time together while the doors remain open for either of you to explore other relationship opportunities at will.

Related: What Does "Friends With Benefits" Really Mean?

It's the execution of this particular relationship dynamic that can be a little bit tricky. A FWB requires A LOT of communication. In fact, you might even argue that in order to have a successful relationship of this kind, you need to be even more communicative than you would be at the beginning of something involving a more traditional courtship stage. 

In order to feel satisfied having purely casual sex with this person, you both need to be upfront about what you want, what you need, and how the relationship benefits you, while simultaneously protecting each of your hearts from damage.

When you enter into a traditionally monogamous romantic relationship, the terms are far less explicit.

I mean, you could go on a first date with a man or a woman and right from the get-go tell him or her exactly what you like, how you like it, and how you expect the relationship to progress... But frankly, that sounds like madness to me (if not great "first-date horror story" fodder for the person with whom you will NOT be having a second date). 

But back to you FWB, if you have this kind of a casual arrangement and you begin to develop romantic feelings for your friend, I believe you have an obligation to tell them how you are feeling.

Related: 6 Brutal Truths About Having A 'Friend With Benefits'

If you fell in love with someone you were dating and they didn't feel the same, wouldn't you much prefer that person be upfront rather than string you along because they think they are being kind?

This is kind of like that but in reverse. It may not seem like a betrayal to hide your romantic feelings from your friend, but if the two of you entered this relationship with clear guidelines, so the most kind and decent thing you can do is to let the other person know if that changes for you — in either direction! 


Frankly, I'm of the opinion that if you're doing the friends with benefits thing correctly, it will never transform into a boyfriend-girlfriend kind of relationship.

That's because the real beauty of the dynamic comes from the operative word in that phrase: FRIEND.

Related: 4 Do's And Don'ts For Making Friends With Benefits Relationships Work (And Last)

Sure, this person is your go-to when all you can think about it sex, but the reason it works so well is that you've specifically figured out ahead of time that this person is your friend and will never be your soulmate.

Above all, if you develop romantic feelings for the person you entered this little adventure with, you must tell them.

It may turn out that they share your feelings, and it may turn out that they do not.

If they don't, will it then be a hassle to find someone new you can have sex with on the regular? Maybe.

But it's better to ditch the sex and save your friendship while you still can than to wind up heartsick because you kept a lid on your feelings for so long and end up ruining both.

Rebecca Jane Stokes is a sex, humor and lifestyle writer living in Brooklyn, New York with her cat, Batman. She hosts the sex, love, and dating advice show, Becca After Dark on YourTango's Facebook Page every Tuesday and Thursday at 10:20 pm Eastern. For more of her work, check out her Tumblr.