In a time when rigid social norms for relationships are breaking down, many people have begun to choose “friends with benefits” relationships instead of something more formal and committed.
For the right person, this kind of interaction can be fun, rewarding and freeing. If both people aren’t on the same page, however, this kind of arrangement can be disastrous.
If you’re considering entering into a situation like this, make sure you and the other person communicate clearly about the pros, the cons and your personal beliefs.
- Freedom from commitment – One of the most common reasons for two people to get involved as friends is because they’re mutually attracted but don’t want the entanglements that come with a normal relationship. This kind of arrangement lets them have fun in bed while still seeing other people. It’s a common choice for people who aren’t ready for commitment or who have just gotten out of a serious relationship and don’t want the same kind of pressure.
- Casual convenience – When two friends get together for something informal, they don’t have to go through the same courting dance as two people on a date, or even two friends who are looking for something serious. A situation like this makes it easy to enjoy intimacy with someone you already know well.
- Comfort – A well-established relationship between friends can stay casual without causing problems. While there may be some emotional connection, it’s usually already well-established, so you don’t have to be concerned about whether the other person likes your company. It can be a welcome alternative to hook-up culture or the dating scene.
- Incompatible relationship models – One of the biggest risks of a low-commitment relationship with friends is when your communication goes astray. One person may perceive a bigger degree of involvement with the other, and assume that the relationship is going to become more committed. This leads to hurt and difficulties later on.
- Jealousy – Most people aren’t equipped to handle jealous feelings responsibly, even if they think they’re immune to them. You may find yourself feeling possessive of your friend and jealous about his or her other partners or dates. If you don’t have this problem, there’s still a risk that you’ll suddenly discover that your friend has become jealous.
- Loss of friendship – Because many people divide friendship and physical intimacy into two separate categories, you may find that it’s hard to maintain them both. Even if your relationship was originally intended to be casual, you could find things getting more serious than you intended. In the end, this may end up costing you your friendship.
While the potential problems with this kind of relationship can seem intimidating, that doesn’t mean that you should consider it off limits.
Just make sure you take some time to think carefully about what you want out of the situation, then make sure it matches up with what your friend wants.
This kind of situation could be the right choice if you’re too busy to date, have just gotten out of a messy divorce, or simply aren’t into serious relationships. You just need to be a little bit careful.
Be willing to communicate, don’t let the other person treat you poorly, and make certain that you understand the limits of the relationship.
These simple rules could be the key to making your friends with benefits arrangement work out well.