Friends With Benefits

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Friends With Benefits
If you’re thinking about having sex with a friend, be very careful, because it is not easy to preser

If you’re thinking about having sex with a friend, be very careful, because it is not easy to preserve a friendship once you have sex. We think we can control our feelings, but it's not so simple.

• If one of you becomes romantically attached as a result of the sex, the friendship will probably not survive.

• If you've done it before, and you know you can keep your feelings in check, you might be successful, but what about your friend? Are you sure he or she is aware of his or her own feelings and motives?

• Think about it in advance and talk about it a lot

• Are you going to keep dating others while you're doing this FWB thing?

• What if one of you falls in love with someone else?

• What if you just want out of the deal after a while?

• What if only one of you falls in love, instead of remaining friends?

Keep talking throughout the FWB arrangement It sounds a lot more fun and easier than it really is.

The benefit is being able to have sex with someone you know, rather than a stranger. The disadvantages are: It could be the end of the friendship. One person (usually the woman) could fall in love, while the other (usually the man) doesn't want to pursue more of a relationship. It may keep you from finding a real relationship, because you're too comfortable to look.

For men, FWB is what they want -- sex without responsibility. They also tend to take it for granted, and still be attracted to other women.
Most males have fantasies about having all the women they want. Women, on the other hand, tend to become emotionally attached when they have sex. (Men actually do, too, but they don't want to know they are. That's why they often don't realize they feel something for someone until that person is gone.) Women's fantasies are about a monogamous relationship.

If you start to develop feelings, pay attention! Don't ignore it. Let your partner know, and watch the reaction. If you don't get a positive response, cut off the sex. That's the way to see if the other person is also emotionally attached or not. Don't languish in a friends-with-benefits relationship when you want more. If he suddenly meets someone else and marries her, you'll be devastated.

If you want to cut off the sex, you need to explain why you're doing it. “I'm developing deeper feelings for you, and since you don't seem to return them, I have to stop having sex with you. I'd like to still be friends.” Or, “I can't even be your friend for a while, because I'm grieving.”

Maintaining this type of relationship is not easy for anyone. It only seems easy at the beginning. My office is full of people who had their hearts broken this way. Older people tend to be a little wiser and more cautious about it than younger people, but all ages get hurt.

Don't just let things develop on their own. Definitely talk about it beforehand, or as soon as possible. You need to establish that the friendship is important to both of you, and you don't want to ruin it. You also need to talk about feelings, to open that subject for future discussion.

This article was originally published at Tina B. Tessina. Reprinted with permission.
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Dr. Tina Tessina

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Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D.
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Location: Long Beach, CA
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