Friday, March 2, 2012

DOs & DON'Ts on Friends With Benefits

1.DO Be Honest with Yourself

Before you begin any FWB shenanigans, you need to be aware that this is not a typical (and sometimes not a particularly healthy) sort of relationship. Make sure you are ready for it. Even for those of us who are far from clingy and even prone to scandalous behavior, a FWB situation can be difficult to master. Feelings often get involved, even when you don't mean for them to.

That's why, before starting anything of the sort, you need to be upfront with yourself about your expectations and your limits. Do you really think you can do this without getting hurt? Will you be okay if and when your FWB strays or finds someone they want an actual relationship with?

2.DON'T Get in Bed with Just Anyone

If you feel that you are at a point where a Friends with Benefits situation is ideal and an actual, healthy relationship isn't feasible, then you need to scope out a partner. Maybe you already have someone in mind or who you've already begun a FWB relationship with. If not, finding the right person for a FWB situation can be tricky, and it will take some time -- generally, someone isn't going to hop into bed with you on a weekly or more-than-weekly basis right off the bat, and some people will never be down for the idea ever. But if you are on the prowl, some general rules:

DON'T start a FWB relationship with someone you are already good friends with. In all likelihood, this will ruin your friendship; and things will never be the same. 
DO find someone who is close in age to you and is in the same place in their life. Going for cougars or robbing the cradle might be ok for a real relationship or a one-night stand; but for a consistent FWB deal, it will only cause problems. 
DO find someone you actually like being around. You don't have to adore this person, and you probably shouldn't, but you will be spending a couple nights a week together, so go for someone you can tolerate. 
Obviously, DO find someone you are physically attracted to, as a sexual spark is the entire point of being FWB.

3. DO Be Clear with Each Other

For this to work, you both have to be on the same page. One person can't want more than the other. Talk about what you want this relationship to consist of, and define the situation. If you both understand what this is and agree to keep each other posted on any feelings that develop, this will be a much more enjoyable experience. 

4.DON'T See Each Other Every Day

Being FWB requires a delicate balance. While the two of you are friends, you should try to keep some distance as to avoid getting attached. Don't sleep over every night, and don't start bringing your FWB as your date to parties or friend/family outings. Set some boundaries and limit yourselves. If this becomes difficult for you, consider re-evaluating the relationship, as the two of you may not be suitable for a FWB situation.

5.DON'T Linger

Consistent lingering can complicate things with your FWB. Yes, you are friends; but that doesn't mean you should be sticking around until lunch time on Saturday or parking yourself on the sofa to watch the Today Show before he/she wakes up for work. This begins to feel relationship-y and can be fuel for a fiery end to FWB when your partner gets fed up.

If that train has already left the station, it's not too late to scale things back. It's ok to grab a quick breakfast occasionally or take the subway downtown to your offices together in the AM; but typically when you wake up, try say your goodbyes in a timely manner.

6.DON'T Share Too Much

In the same vein as not seeing each other too often and not overstaying your welcome, be careful not to be too open with each other. There's a difference between friends and boyfriend-girlfriend, and much of that difference has to do with how much you confide in each other.

Keep secrets and most personal details about family, faith and friends to yourself. Avoid the use of "we" or any talk of you two in the future (unless you're talking about changes that need to be made or ending things). You don't have to restrict yourself to small talk, but be guarded.

7.DO Remember You are Friends

With all of these attempts to reduce attachment, the line between "Friend with Benefits" and "booty call" can sometimes become blurred.

While you don't want to invest too much in the relationship, remember that this person is not simply a free piece of meat to be used and abused. The two of you have an understanding, so you don't have the right to kick this person out of your bed before 5 a.m. or call them over after having just slept with someone else. Show some respect. It's a trade off, and sex is not the only commodity. While you may still be on the market, the two of you are friends, after all, and human beings. 

8.DO Be Safe

Safe sex is important in any intimate relationship, not just FWB. Always use a condom with your partner and with anyone else you may sleep with. Be considerate of your FWB's health and protect yourself, as well. Getting a regular STD test and keeping your partner (and all sexual partners) in the loop is essential. If you sleep with someone else or think you may have contracted an STD, let your FWB know immediately. 

9.DO Keep It Short

Friends with Benefits is not meant to last more than a few months. The idea is to meet your physical needs while maintaining a friendship in between legitimate romantic relationships. If things start to drag on, you need to take the initiative and bring it to a close. If you find yourself in one FWB relationship after another, you might need to take a look at what you truly want romantically and why you aren't getting it. 

10.DON'T Be Surprised When Feelings Get Involved

Sometimes FWB works out for both parties, but it often doesn't. You should go into this situation knowing what you want, what you don't want and having open communication about what you two are doing at all times. Do your best to keep emotional distance and avoid activities or patterns that will foster attachment.

Even when you make your best effort, one person is probably going to develop feelings; and things may get complicated. FWB is not a typical relationship type; and it's not meant to be a sustainable lifestyle. Be aware of what you are really getting yourself into. 

Be wise with your choices, people!!;)


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