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A friends-with-benefits (FWB) relationship may seem so easy and jolly because it has all the goodies of a relationship without the baggage. Just to mention an ugly few of that baggage: you do not need to go to fancy restaurants, send each other gifts on valentine's day, or visit the parents. It's just sex plain and simple.
However, the situation can turn ugly pretty fast when caution is thrown to the wind. Studies have highlighted the importance of respected boundaries and excellent communication, even in FWB affairs. Therefore, you need to understand if this relationship is something you can sufficiently handle - both physically and emotionally.
To aid you in your quest to learn the dynamics of a sustainably healthy and mutually beneficial FWB relationship, below are some of the things you need to address going forward.
Can you handle the emotional Roller-coaster of FWB Relationship?
Big question, isn't it? FWBs seems like an excellent way to get the milk without buying the cow. You have tons of sex without the attachment that comes with the responsibilities of an everyday relationship.
This includes conventional relationship chores like sharing the bills, cleaning the home, and being emotionally supportive. However, human beings react to certain situations differently. The consequence is that not everyone is capable of separating sex from everything else. If you have jealousy issues, are clingy, or see an FWB as your route to have a real relationship, you should not consider going into an FWB.
An FWB is anchored on both partners' ability to live their lives as they deem fit irrespective of the other parties' feelings. They are not your Significant Other, and you do not have a say in what they do with and in their lives.
If either party decides to quit the relationship and start dating someone else seriously, you have to manage that with maturity because you were never dating in the first place. You need to establish the boundaries, define friendship as well as the benefits, and make sure both definitions are acceptable to you and your partner.
Before you begin taking your clothes off, you need to sit together to have an honest no-holds-barred conversation on what you both get out of the arrangement. Netflix and chill may seem ideal for one but not for the other. Conversely, you might enjoy eating dinner together, and your partner doesn't. It is paramount that you iron out all the differences before you begin.
Another important thing is to make sure you speak your mind when you feel an issue doesn't sit well with you; conversely, you should also listen to your partner when they feel the same.
Never start FWB with a person you want a faithful relationship with.
You have no reason to act like it's okay to be in FWB with an individual you'd rather be in a committed relationship with. If you know deep down that you want a faithful relationship with a person, it will be bad advice to settle for a "banging and hanging" affair with the expectation that you can keep things under control. Indeed, such a reckless escapade can materialize into something more substantial, but you should not enter into an FWB with such expectations.
Be Transparent with your Partner about Your Sex Life
It is of the utmost importance to clarify the arrangement of your sexual contract in your no-strings-attached relationship. Do you want an exclusive relationship?
Or you prefer to sleep with each other as well as other people? Ask your partner these questions, including their sexual history. If both parties cannot exhibit that level of transparency, there's bound to be problems coming along the way. Honesty and trust are two critical elements that must be present when you go into such casual dating.
Understand the distinction between an FWB and a F**k Buddy
Let's face it: contemporary culture has effectively blurred the lines between FWBs and fuck buddy relationships. FWBs are good friends who decide to add a sexual element to an already existing healthy friendship.
On the other side of the spectrum is a fuck buddy you have casual sex with - kind of repeated one-night stands. Fuck buddies are people who may be "friendly" but who are only with you for the sex.
You should not expect any loyalty because an emotional connection does not exist - only a physical one. If you kid yourself that you're in an FWB to make it seem less transactional, you may get hurt.
Mutual Respect and Established Boundaries
Although you are not in an everyday relationship, you still need to show and receive respect from a partner who's honest and communicative. Friends with Benefits need this respect and communication even more because there is more likelihood of complications. If there is no respect, then boundaries are sure to be disrespected, causing pain and regret.
Friendship comes first before the benefits
Remember, you are not sex partners who became friends. You are friends who became sex partners. That means you must value your friendship over whatever sexual benefit you both may come to get in the course of the FWB.
If things begin to complicate themselves or a party starts to develop deeper feelings, you both need to put the benefits on the back burner and try to save the friendship. An excellent way to prepare for this is to make sure the benefits do not alter friendship activities.
If you both enjoyed taking a run together as friends, you should not quit the activity just because you have added sex into the equation. There is a tendency for a partner to feel like some "booty call" if the FWB friendship aspect is not adequately kept alive.
Safe Sex is Non-negotiable
Condoms are essential to have healthy sex with your FWB partner. In a "frenebit", you do not want the added complication that comes with pregnancy or the distrust that comes with contracting an STI.
Despite the necessity of having sex with a partner you trust, there is nothing wrong with erring on the side of caution by practicing safe sex.
Have an Expectation of the End
All good things eventually have an end, and this includes FWB. One or both of you might meet someone you'd like to be in a committed relationship with. This means you need to have a conversation on how long you would like the relationship to last.
Setting a timeline on your FWB also helps you both to not catch deeper feelings. A timeline of six months may be ideal and can be extended if you both still feel the need to remain in an FWB after such a time. It would be best if you also considered spending limited time together to prevent a situation where you start to feel a stronger emotional attachment towards your partner.
Do not schedule your Trysts Days in Advance
Although doable, it is not a good idea to plan your trysts days in advance. Doing so will involve scheduling, prioritizing their time like you were in an everyday relationship.
Once you start prioritizing each other, chances are higher that one of you will start nurturing stronger feelings. The best part about FWB is the spontaneity of the sex. You only get down whenever the busy schedule of your separate lives allows you to.
Mutual Friends not included
FWB may seem restrictive, but the restrictions are necessary for the arrangement to survive. On that note, both parties may decide not to tell their mutual friends about the arrangement.
You might share a few details with friends but keep the information brief. You both should never attempt to publicly get each other gift items as that can send the wrong signals in the friendship to people on the outside. Nonetheless, it is acceptable to send gifts to each other in situations where you both have been doing so before the sexual relationship.
Obtain Consent from Your Partner Every single time
Consent is vital for any activity you do together. Whether you had a one night stand or FWB, you both need to seek permission to get down. Consent is multi-tiered and does not only have to do with sex.
You need consent to do other things, like finding out if it is okay with your partner to share certain aspects of your FWB with other people or to leave their items in your apartment. Most importantly, you should never assume consent is a given with sex.
Just because your partner had sex with you today does not guarantee you they will want to have sex with you tomorrow. You must learn to cope with the dynamism and emotional volatility of these relationships.
Keep your eyes Peeled for something Better
Yes, you read that right! The main advantage of an FWB is that it gives you an outlet to let out sexual tension without the commitment of an everyday relationship.
That being said, you do not want to miss out on someone great because you are in FWB. Besides, your needs can change over time. As mentioned earlier, honesty is essential.
If you meet someone you think can add more value to your life than your present Friend with Benefit, you should go for them. It is necessary to evaluate your FWB relationship at intervals to ascertain that your friend is still meeting your needs, and your goals are always aligned. Enjoy!