11 Rules for Friendship with Benefits
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Kicking off a friends-with-benefits relationship can be a lot of liberating fun. It's a free hookup between two people who trust and like each other. It doesn't mean that it's easy.
There are many factors that can make friendships with benefits difficult to define. Every situation is unique. These relationships share one thing in common: the need for good old-fashioned communication. It is always a good idea for couples to discuss their expectations. Maybe not in bed!- and even establish some guidelines for what will happen before it happens. This is a lot of open discussion before the fun stuff. However, things can get complicated if the parties aren’t on the same page. We asked the experts for their best advice for navigating a friends-with-benefits situation with minimal drama.
Clear your goals.
"When deciding the rules of a FWB relationship it's best for you to be transparent, open to compromises and not be judgmental," Emily Morse (Sex With Emily) says.
You don't have to be casual to make your partner happy. Be strong and stand up for yourself.
Do not expect it to become a relationship.
You need to be able to accept this as it is. Dawn Michael, Ph.D., a relationship expert, says that it is important to understand one's true intentions and feelings before entering into such an arrangement.
Keep checking in with your feelings periodically.
Morse says, "Let your friend who has benefits know that you want you to be on the same page." This is an important step to ensure you don't hurt each other down the road.
Ellin Bolin, relationship coach, says that if you find yourself enjoying too much and don't want to spend as much time with your FWB at times, it might be time to reconsider the situation. If you are getting attached to your partner, it is time for a conversation.
Also, try to read your partner's emotions.
"These conversations -- "Hey, just wanted to check in with you"--can help prevent future meltdowns, strengthen friendship, trust, and vulnerability with each other," says Xanet Pailet, a sex and intimacy coach.
Morse says, "Plus it will keep one person reading into the relationship more often than the other." If emotions change for either of you, have another conversation and reevaluate your FWB relationships. A FWB relationship can change much faster than you can say "I met someone else," so make sure to check in with one another as often as possible to avoid any misunderstandings.
Discuss how you will talk about it.
If you are part of the same circle of friends, make sure to outline your PR strategy. Is it something you keep secret? Do you plan to tell the truth when you go out with your friends at the bar? This is something you shouldn't be concerned about.
Set some ground rules.
Are you going to sleep over? Booty calls--yeah, or nah? Is it weird to grab breakfast from the fridge in the morning? These things can cross different boundaries depending on the FWB situation. Be sure to plan ahead and don't be afraid of gently cutting it off early.
Be clear about where you want to draw the line.
Even if you have the most amazing orgasms, it isn't like having a romantic partner. That means that pillow talk and spending time one-on-one with your partner outside of the sex session is not possible. Rhonda Milrad, a relationship therapist, says communication is all about the hows and whens of hooking-up. "You're not trying to build an intimate relationship. You are having fun and enjoying each other physically."
Recognize your comfort zone.
You don't have to keep it casual if you want to consent to certain things. Jeannie Assimos is chief of advice at eHarmony. You can be more open about your limits, but don't hesitate if you need to.
Be sure you're using protection.
You might find yourself hooking up in L.A. with more than one person depending on your expectations. That's fine! Be sure to be safe. It's important to inform your partner if you are in a heterosexual relationship. If you are in an ongoing, non-exclusive relationship, discuss with your partner how often you plan to be tested for STDs or STIs.
Morse says that while there are many casual relationships, only 6 percent reported being in a casual relationship only with one partner according to the Skyn Condoms Millennial Sex Survey. You should let your new FWB know if you are in more than one relationship and use condoms each time.
Discuss the end.
Wendi Dumbroff, relationship expert, suggests that it is better to discuss the end of sex before it happens. What if they find someone they are interested in being exclusive with? What happens if you meet someone? What happens if they decide to stop? Although it can be difficult to see the end of something, it will save you a lot of heartache if you acknowledge that it may not last forever. It's okay to let them know that you will talk about it with another person if they meet you. This will reduce the risk of your friendship being ruined if you stop boning.
Make sure it's enjoyable.
Despite the many negative aspects of our current sociopolitical environment, there is one blessing: we can have sex wherever we want and whenever we want. And it doesn't necessarily have to be someone we are in a committed, long-term relationship with. Sex can be a great way of de-stressing, it has many amazing health and beauty benefits and it's a lot of fun. What happens when your friends-with-benefits situation becomes boring? It's time to quit. This is what makes casual arrangements so special.