The idea of hooking up with your single, hot female friend seems tempting and unconventional, and yet it’s becoming a way of life. The “Friends With Benefits” relationship is so popular amongst singles today that there’s a rise with online dating sites geared solely to finding your newest FWB.
The reason for the spike in this dating lifestyle is due to society’s need for less commitment and more companionship. Career-driven people still want to do things together — like having dinner and seeing museums — but they don’t want the complications of a serious relationship interfering with their individual lives. Still, the arrangement is much harder than you think. So before delving into online FWB dating, you should take a moment to go over a few guidelines to make your experience enjoyable and void of heartaches.
Don’t Misconstrue Things
Diving into the FWB lifestyle could be a very tricky endeavor. For starters, let’s begin with specifically defining FWB: it’s a situation when friends begin to hook up either occasionally or regularly. There’s no degree of commitment required and there are certain rules to abide by like “the 72-hour rule” — not making plans before 72 hours of actually hooking up. Rather, there’s a strong degree of companionship. This is definitely not the same thing as “No Strings Attached” or NSA. Many newbies often fail or confuse the two types of dating and that needs to be straightened out before you delve into an FWB partnership.
The NSA situation requires even less commitment and almost no emotional connection. It’s solely about having sex. Parties engaged in an FWB — either online or as long-life friends — often fail because the two don’t express what they exactly each other wants and things get very misconstrued. In all honesty, this must be something mentioned in the first few moments of meeting online or in person.
Selecting an FWB partner online — or even elevating a long-term friendship — must be done carefully. You have to think outside the box when you take a friendship to this level. This is a unique relationship. When making the choice online, it is somewhat easier. You simply have to find someone open-minded with similar likes as yourself (i.e. she’s a Star Wars fan and lives by Dr. Who). Of course, there has to be physical attraction and a good amount of communication.
Established friends — even best friends — that have decided to take the plunge into being intimate is way more challenging circumstance. You will have to talk openly, and often, before even considering jumping into bed together. You don’t want to ruin a friendship that you value. A more ideal scenario is to pick a friend that you have less history with. It could be someone, for example, that was a friend of your cousin. The drama scale drops immensely and the pressure is diminished.
Create the Boundaries and Stick to Them
Setting boundaries are an essential part of a building a proper FWB relationship. If you have met someone on an online FWB dating site, then you can’t ignore this guideline. You are just beginning to know the person — you’re pretty much jotting down mental notes on her favorite food, color, and books. You are also trying to find out how often you are going to see each other or whether you will be staying over each other’s apartments or houses. Violating anything you two have laid out will hurt the chances the FWB will last.
Allowing space is another critical part of the boundaries element. The reason you two are friends with benefits is that you want a deep companionship without actually having commitment. You can’t have your partner as a stand-in and invite them to family events or as a date to a wedding. That blurs the lines. Remind yourself that you both want to live your lives without any repercussions. Those are the things that need to be stated from the get-go and that pertains to those you have met online or have known for years.
Resist the Jealousy
Remember those boundaries? Well, that coincides with jealousy. You must prepare yourself that feelings will arise — it’s natural. But you shouldn’t get jealous of your friend when she comments on a guy’s picture on FaceBook or Instagram. If you do find yourself jealous, then you MUST talk to your friend. Those emotional jealousy bubbles will burst eventually. Expressing your feelings upfront will help squash any ill feelings and prevent resentment in the future.
On the flip side, you shouldn’t treat your partner like a mannequin. You two are friends first and have enjoyed each other company on every level — including the more intimate ones. But don’t shut out of your partner completely. You want to give them attention because they are a part of your life.
It’s Not Just About the Benefits
Defining an FWB relationship goes way farther than the sex portion. In an essence, there’s a distinct and legitimate connection between the partners. That’s why you mustn’t make sex that central reason you two are spending time together. That very fine line could be the biggest challenge you will face during an FWB situation. The major test is when the sex stops. Will you continue being friends? Will you continue doing the things that initially brought you two together? Those some of the questions you must ask yourself before — and during — an FWB commences because ultimately you will be cheating yourself.
A point will come in the FWB relationship when you ask yourself another question: Do you want more? The FWB partnership often leads to a full-blown relationship. When the sex does stop, that’s a sure-fire sign that you or your friend has feelings and wants to take it up a notch. Don’t be afraid to speak emotions and express your desires for a more committed partnership. The worst-case scenario is that the relationship won’t elevate. But at least you could move on and save the friendship at the same time.
Above all else, the main key to surviving the FWB online dating field is to keep a level head no matter what and place the friendship at the forefront at all times. The moment you let emotions and egos get in the way is the time the FWB arrangement fails. Just go with the flow and enjoy the companionship wholeheartedly.