The concept of cuddle buddies isn't new but there is a right and wrong way to go about it.
The idea of having a "no strings attached" relationship has been in practice for some time but has just recently become acceptable as a mainstream thing. From casual conversations among friends to movies like "Friends With Benefits" and "No Strings Attached," it seems that people are more comfortable than ever with having a "cuddle buddy."
However, such an arrangement isn't for everybody. Before entering into a no strings attached type of situation, it's important to understand exactly what you and the other person will be getting into.
What is a Cuddle Buddy?
In case the name isn't clear enough, this term describes an arrangement where two individuals enjoy an intimate/sexual relationship but without the other territory that traditional relationships come with. Basically, the extent of the interaction is a sexual one and nothing more. No boyfriend/girlfriend titles, no introducing him/her to your parents, making long term plans together, etc.
It's Not a Free for All
As casual as a no strings attached situation may be, there are rules that come with it and unless both agree to abide by them, the end result will be messy. Although sometimes the rules are considered unspoken, it is in both party's best interest to be upfront and vocal about what goes and what doesn't. To prevent any hurt feelings or miscommunication, the following information is crucial for the benefit of any no strings attached relationship.
While every arrangement is unique, following these basic rules will increase the chances of having a positive experience.
Rule #1: Talk About the Rules
Going into a friends with benefits situation without any kind of discussion upfront makes it highly likely that miscommunication is going to occur. Because the two individuals in this relationship are friends and have some type of history with one another (in most cases anyway), it shouldn't be too difficult to know how to approach the subject. Pick a good time when it's just the two of you and you've got the downtime to really talk about what each person wants and doesn't want.
Rule #2: Follow the Rules
Unless both people are in complete agreement and follow the rules, the no strings attached situation won't work. If there is a particular rule or guideline discussed that you think may be hard for you to abide by, talk about it. Keeping such feelings to yourself only tend to cause it to fester and we all know how unhealthy it is to hold emotions in. Compromise whenever possible.
Rule #3: It Has to Go Both Ways
What makes a friends with benefits relationship success is that both people want exactly the same thing: a physical relationship and nothing more serious. All too often people enter into this arrangement pretending they don't want something more when, in reality, they do. They falsely believe that somehow, someway, with time they'll be able to "make" the person fall in love with them and then magically turn the friends with benefits into a full fledged relationship.
Have people in a no strings attached relationship ended up falling for each other and taking it to the next step? Sure. Is it wise to come to this conclusion through such means? Probably not--it's too risky. If you've got real feelings for the person that wants to be cuddle buddies with you, save yourself future grief and turn down the offer.
Even if you think you'll be okay just having a physical connection with that person, your real feelings will resurface and you'll get hurt pretty badly if the other person doesn't feel the same way.
Rule #4: Don't Do Relationship Things Together
You're not in an actual relationship, remember? That means no texting "I miss you," "thinking of you" and definitely nothing with the "L word." No holding hands or cupcaking while in public, either.
That's where the "friends" in "friends with benefits" comes into play.
Rule #5: If Feelings Get Involved, End It ASAP
It sounds harsh but once feelings get thrown into the equation, it is nearly impossible to continue a purely no strings attached relationship. This rule should be one of the first ones discussed and agreed upon from the start. The minute you feel yourself starting to fall for the other person, not only do you need to let them know, the arrangement must come to an end.
The only exception is if the other person feels the same way. In this instance, it's time to start talking about the possibility of becoming an actual couple.
Think a friends with benefits relationship sounds pretty tough? That's because it is--which is why not everyone is cut out for it. And anyone that thinks they are needs to be 100% sure and committed to taking the steps necessary for the arrangement to work out successfully. Having a no strings attached situation isn't mandatory for anyone and each person has his/her own reasons for entering into one.
If you've never entertained the idea or felt the need to be a part of the cuddle buddies movement, more power to you. But if this seems like something worth looking into further, be warned that while friends with benefits can be a blast in the beginning, failing to follow the rules could lead to messy results and the possibility of losing that friend.