Are You Ready To Be Friends ... With Benefits?

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Are You Ready To Be Friends ... With Benefits? [EXPERT]
Learn why a "no strings attached" arrangement is easier said than done ...

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.

If you want to turn a friendship into a full-on relationship, and you're serious about it, then you need to talk about that, too. Your friendship will be altered forever when you have sex for the first time. You have things to lose here, and things to gain; and make some agreements, discuss the above questions, and keep talking about it.

It is possible to re-develop a friendship after the romantic line has been crossed, but it's not always easy. If both of you are in agreement that you were better as friends, re-developing the friendship is easier than if one of you still wants the romanceWant A Relationship? Why You Shouldn't Have Casual Sex

Friendships that go from friends to lovers back to friends can be very close, because you know each other so well. The first thing you need to do is talk about it. Make a deal that you won't do anything that would jeopardize your friendship, and stick to it. (That means, acting as a friend, and not acting jealous if he/she has a date.)

The more emotionally mature you are, the easier it is to re-establish the friendship. Openness increases intimacy. So friends who can talk about everything feel closer than friends who can't. However, friendships have more limits on sharing than lover relationships do. If you've found someone new, you have to consider your sexual partner, too, who might not like his or her privacy invaded.

Surprisingly enough, many people do become friends again after they've divorced or split up. Here are some guidelines for doing that successfully. Are You Just A Booty Call?

  • Go very slowly. It takes time to get re-organized as friends. Talk about your friendship and tell the truth. If it's going to work, it goes better if you go more slowly, and you'll have a chance to build a better foundation than before;
  • Treat it like a new friendship. Start from the beginning, and do it differently—you have to figure out the difference between being lovers and being friends;
  • Be conscious about being friends—talk about what you miss about your friendship—if you cannot talk honestly about what changed and what to do differently, you won't succeed;
  • Make sure your friend wants the friendship as much as you do. If there are unresolved old feelings, you need to talk about them; and
  • If you run into difficulty, seek therapy to repair the friendship and resolve the lover relationship. 
This article was originally published at Tina Tessina. Reprinted with permission.
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Dr. Tina Tessina

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Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D.
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tina@tinatessina.com
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Location: Long Beach, CA
Credentials: LMFT, MFT, PhD
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