What is a friends with benefits relationship and is it right for you?
There’s a lot of buzz around the term “Friends with benefits relationship” and w’re here to make it clear! While a flick is a short, one-time, and one-dimensional activity, “Friendship with benefits” is an ongoing, multi-dimensional activity. This friendship is more common in young people (and others) who are not yet ready for a long committed relationship, but want a relationship that is more than sex or just friendship. But even in this case, there are no free gifts.
“Friendship between men and women is impossible. There is passion, hostility, admiration, love, but never friendship.” Oscar Wilde
“No man can be a friend of a woman he perceives as attractive. He will always want to have sex with her.” Harry from “When Harry Met Sally”
Casual sexual intercourse includes sexual encounters that are not part of a binding relationship. Researchers Joseline Wentland and Elka Rising divided casual sex relationships into four main types: One-night stand, Booty calls, Fuck buddies, Friends with benefits. Each type differs from the others in the degree of romantic superficiality and the temporal aspect.
A one-time fling is a superficial sexual encounter, which usually takes place between two strangers after a hurried acquaintance. “fuck meetings” are spontaneous encounters that are not planned in advance and result from a urge for a sexual encounter.
As the encounters become more frequent, the participants are considered “fuck buddies, and maintain a superficial friendship that is mainly limited to sexual encounters.
“Friends with benefits”, on the other hand, is first and foremost a friendship that is joined as a bonus of the sexual addition. While a flick is a short, one-time, and one-dimensional activity, “Friends with benefits” is an ongoing, multi-dimensional activity. This friendship is more common in young people (and others) who are not yet ready for a long committed relationship, but want a relationship that is more than sex or just friendship.
I am yours and mine, but only temporarily
“I had some ‘friends with benefits’ with whom I had tumultuous sexual encounters. None of these relationships developed into a romantic love that could have threatened my marriage.” -A married man
“Friends with benefits” relationship includes two main aspects of romantic love: friendship and sex, and is also different from romantic love in two basic aspects: a low level of commitment (e.g., in the question of exclusivity) and a shorter duration. As with love, “friends with benefits” relationship involves concern for others that does not usually exist in other casual sex relationships, but it is not deep love because friendship lacks continuous and lasting commitment, and includes mostly casual and short encounters.
To avoid high commitment, which is natural in intimate relationships, involved in “friends with benefits” relationship advise newcomers not to develop expectations, set clear boundaries, limit time together no more than two hours for a meeting, talk on the phone no more than twice a week, avoid emotional conversations, do not stay to sleep at night and do not develop a romantic relationship.
“Friends with benefits” relationship expresses an intermediate state between casual sex and romantic love, and as with the intermediate states, it is unstable and relatively short. But sometimes this friendship is not a matter of weeks or months, but of years.
A study of people who have been in such a relationship for a year or more found that about a third of the participants did not continue after the first year, while those who did continue to become regular friends over time. In contrast, most of the participants who wanted to turn the relationship into a romantic relationship did not survive for long.
However, due to the restless nature of our social environment, there is also value in the relatively short duration of “friends with the benefits” relationship because although it includes emotional closeness, it does not necessarily have a strong emotional connection that characterizes romantic relationships.
But sometimes this closeness gives rise to the desire, at least in one of the spouses, to upgrade the relationship to romantic love. When this desire is one-sided, it can poison the relationship and set an example for what Oscar Wilde calls: “kill what we love.”
How do women feel in such a relationship? Here are some random descriptions of women who were involved in “Friends with benefits” relationship:
“‘Friends with benefits’ relationship is very enjoyable to me. I was looking for sex more than friendships, but in the end I found ‘benefits’ much more enjoyable when there is friendship, probably because trust is higher and there is less jealousy.”
“I have a friends with benefits relationship for more than four years. Our only expectation relates to mutual enjoyment and respect. He is married and I am divorced and still recovering from 20 years of abusive marriage. This arrangement is perfect for us. It is the best relationship I have ever had with a man.”
“I currently have three different ‘friends with benefits’ relationships, and they are all successful. We are all in our forties, and we know how many partners each has. The sincerity and openness I have with each of the ‘lovers’ is far greater than I had in my previous monogamous relationship. “I feel no less wonderful. We all know that the relationship will not develop beyond this stage.”
“I’m in a ‘friends with benefits’ relationship now and we are very good friends. We chat, have lunch, go out for a bit and sometimes even have sex.”
“My favorite relationship is ‘friends with benefits’ because it has no obligation to visit his family, no expectations for falling in love, no one asks when we will move in together, when we will get married and when we will have children.”
“I have a lot of tempting offers but it does not suit me. I enjoy sex, but think intimacy makes it better. Plus, I love morning sex that is not in ‘Friends with benefits’.”
“I had this kind of relationship, and I fell in love with him pretty early. He did not. It tormented me for a long time until I ended the relationship.”
“Such a relationship always ends when someone falls in love, but I don’t think you should have sex with someone who can’t fall in love. ‘Friendship with extras’ is never good.”
“My ‘friend with extras’ was (and still is) my best friend.”
Fear: Uncertainty and conflicting expectations
“Friends with benefits” relationship is a type of compromise, in which the person gives up deep love and is in a secondary romantic priority. But this may be a good and fun compromise. In economic terms, this friendship reduces costs and profits: The price of maintenance is low – the species is given at low risk and without real maintenance and commitments, and the return is also smaller and shorter.
“Friendship with extras” is characterized by a high level of uncertainty and conflicting expectations. Research has found that women, more than men, hope that the relationship will develop into a romantic one or that the friendship will deepen. Men prefer that the situation does not change.
Although these complex friendships require more communication than in a normal relationship, due to the casual nature of the relationship, communication between the spouses is often poor, thus intensifying the uncertainty.
Is it possible to have a lot of “friends with benefits” relationships? Although this friendship has no significant commitment, friends still want to feel unique and therefore their number is limited. These friends do not necessarily want to know everything about each other, and a certain level of positive illusions may benefit the relationship.
“Friends with benefits” relationship is not suitable for everyone and every period in life. It is especially difficult when friends are married or when they want to start a family. The optimal circumstances for this friendship are those of young people before marriage and adults who already have adult children.
It seems that in the future many people will refuse to give up deep love or romantic freedom altogether and will want to create more flexible relationships like “friends with benefits” relationship that benefit both worlds but also include problematic complexity resulting from the connection between them. After all, even in this case, there are no free meals.