One tricky ‘grey’ area in relationships is the Friends with Benefits situation – after all, you like someone enough to be (ahem) intimate with them, but at the same time – for whatever reason – a committed relationship is not on the cards. We’ve all heard stories about this kind of situation ending badly -with one person catching feelings, or of jealousy rearing its ugly head – and so we’ve put together some tips for how to manage a FWB situation in the most mature and stress-free way.
- Check yourself – First up, it is helpful to do some self-reflection and consider if you are emotionally ready for this – and with this person. If this is someone you have been with already, and you still have feelings for them, a FWB arrangement is likely to be painful and upsetting for you – since you’re possibly wanting a committed relationship instead and might feel hurt if other people are involved. Some questions to ask yourself are: Am I ok with them seeing other people? Do I want more from them, or am I ok with keeping it casual?
- Check your partner – The same applies to your FWB! Do you feel they are ok with this arrangement – really – or perhaps are they hoping it will turn into something more serious? Are they the type of person to respect boundaries and keep communication open? Remember, you may both be sleeping with other people at the same time, so it is important to be clear and respectful with your FWB about boundaries such as sexual health, and when you will be seeing each other.
- Lower your expectations – If we’re used to a long term relationship, a FWB situation might feel a bit…disappointing – since at its core, it is about sex over emotional closeness. If you can remember that this is what you’ve signed up for, and clarify what you want from the situation, you can focus on the good parts of it – rather than feeling hurt or disappointed that your FWB is not asking you about your day.
- Communicate! Just because you’re not in a committed relationship doesn’t mean that communication is off the table! Clear communication is essential for a good FWB situation – setting expectations at the beginning for the arrangement, giving feedback about how it is going, and talking things through if there are issues of jealousy or you are both thinking of making things more official. Many, many great FWB situations fall over because of the lack of clarity and expectations – and you may end up losing a friend as well as a lover if things don’t get talked through.
- Have Fun – we might have made this whole thing sound like a lot of work – which its certainly not! A good FWB arrangement can give you the good things about a relationship (sex, fun, excitement) while you can dodge some of the less-good stuff (boredom, resentment, trust issues) – and can help you to learn how to ask for what you want.
If you are interested in exploring therapy to talk through sex and love, but do not have the time or money to go to a traditional therapist, then you should explore Relish. Relish is a relationship coaching app meant for modern couples and individuals who want to get the absolute most out of their relationships – with themselves and their partners.