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Should You Have A Friend With Benefits?

Benefits of Having a Friend With Benefits

Tempting?  Someone you can hang with, no strings attached.  No expectations, great sex, and the freedom to pursue other relationships. It's all good until one of you falls for the other, or one of you gets bored. Friends with Benefits are ultimately time-limited. Think about it: If the person had all those other things you were looking for, you'd be in a relationship. Still, they can have their place in the dating world. A FWB offers an exciting change if you've just ended a long term relationship, and want to enjoy someone's company without commitment, especially if you are clear from the start that it's time-limited, and that it almost always ends with someone getting hurt.

Friend with Benefits or Booty Call?

Sarah (names changed) met Jake at a concert in New York City when she was fresh out of a long-term relationship and happily getting her feet wet in the dating pool again.  He was the brother of a male friend of hers. Jake was tall, husky, and handsome in that boy-next-door way. And he was a bit younger than Sarah. Quite a bit. This didn't seem to deter him in the slightest, and in fact he told her that he preferred older women. Sarah and Jake met during the off-again phase of an on-again-off-again relationship he had with a girl he had been dating for 5 years. Jake invited her over to the place he shared with his brother, and they hit it off immediately. They liked the same music, had some distantly mutual friends, and lived just close enough to make hanging out convenient, but not too convenient. Hours would pass quickly as they listened to music, had a few drinks, and talked a little. Emphasis on a little. It was comfortable, but realistically, they both knew that there were too many differences between them to really consider a relationship. She was a parent, a health professional, a homeowner. Jake worked (and lived) in his brother's successful home business in a rural setting, didn't go to college, and spent most of his spare time on things she had no interest in. Plus there was the issue of that pesky on-again, off-again thing. So they did what Friends with Bennies do-- got naked as much as possible and enjoyed each other's...attributes. It was a great ego-boost and helped Sarah's confidence level at a time when she needed it. It was all fun and games till the girlfriend came back into the picture and he wanted to continue the FWB thing anyway.   Sarah told Jake it wasn't her thing, and she was outta there. No hard feelings. She told him to call her when they broke up again. But then the 2 a.m buzzed booty calls started, (which, by the way, rarely tempt to us girls to dress and meet you for booty.)  Game over. Except that Jake seemed to have become emotionally attached, and kept calling Sarah even though she felt that it had run its course. He even broke up for good with his intermittent girlfriend, telling her that he wanted more. And herein lies the problem with FWB relationships; one of you gets bored, or gets more attached than the other. What started out as mutually gratifying will usually end up with someone being hurt.

Booty Call

Booty-calling--is exactly that. Calling someone you used to date, or had a one-night stand with. Maybe your booty-call  is even a friend who just got dumped by a boyfriend and is looking for revenge or retribution. This is the kind of FWB who isn't really a friend at all. This is the guy or girl who doesn't even make a pretense of being interested in your career, your life outside of the boudoir. You don't go out for dinner or drinks or pre-plan your next rendezvous . The booty call might be initially gratifying in that kind of exciting no-strings-attached newness, but ultimately, hard to keep going, and generally unsatisfying. Lisa Ann, 34, from Ann Arbor wrote us about wanting to be more than a booty call:

...It started out by us going home together after an evening of drinking after our local softball game last summer. We called each other after that randomly, hooking up for hot sex. It was new for me to do this, and exciting. He never stayed over, and I never asked him questions. I actually wouldn't mind getting to know him better, but he just laughs when I ask him if he wants to actually do something together. How can I get him to see me as a viable date or girlfriend material?

Once You Go Booty, You Can Never Go Back

Once Lisa entered into this relationship dynamic, she lowered her value-factor with her one-night-stand from the softball game. She made herself too easy, thereby telling him through her actions that she was willing to be That Girl who he calls when he's horny, lonely, or drunk. The same is true for the guy who decides he wants to be more than just a sex-toy for his FWB. Girls may be more forgiving in this way, since many tend to be more relationship-focused than guys, but generally speaking, if either of the sexes wants to change mid-stream, it's too late to shift dynamics.

Can FWB Ever Work Out?

1. Can you tolerate being a place-holder "until someone better comes along"? 2. Can you decide on a set of mutually agreeable "rules" about:

  • Protected sex
  • Multiple partners and jealousy
  • When its OK to contact each other
  • Public Displays of Affection
  • An ending agreement if/when one or the other wants out

If you choose to enter into a Friends with Benefits situation, just be aware of the pitfalls first.

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