TO MY LOVER AND FRIEND, MAYBE THIS CHAPTER WILL NEVER END.
Ever had that one person who keeps mysteriously popping back in your life multiple times? Not to mention they always get the timing perfectly right as well. Whenever I find myself back on the singles market, he suddenly returns once again. It's as if he receives a notification straight to his phone the moment I'm through with the last guy. I don't know if it's pure coincidence or the universe is trying to tell me something. One thing's for sure, no matter what the circumstances are, we've always found ourselves in some sort of deadlock relationship... yet it's one of the best relationships in my life so far.
WELCOME BACK TO MY LIFE
It was just a few weeks ago when I received his WhatsApp message: "I just saw you crossing the road! 😄" — as soon as I saw his name flash up on my phone, I laughed, and I knew. I knew that it was time to revisit this particularly interesting chapter. We hadn't spoken since I brushed him off 10 months ago (and quite abruptly too), so I'd be lying if I said I wasn't happy to hear from him. He's one of those friends where even if it's been years of not talking, when you finally reunite it's like you only saw each other yesterday. When I got home it hit me: currently the longest "relationship" of my life has been with him. The one who I've never officially dated but have been in an on/off, "Lovers & Friends", leaning-more-towards-the-friend-side, type of situation. Boyfriends have come and gone, but my "friends with benefits" (an unspoken agreement between us) has stood the test of time. In this week's post, I want to share my brief account along with a few thoughts on why I think FWB might be one of the most satisfying and sustainable relationships (if approached in the right way!)
OH HOW THINGS CHANGE!
It's been over 3 years since we introduced the "benefits" to our friendship, the first run lasted about 6 months. After that phase I said to myself (and even wrote about it) that I wouldn't consider going back to this arrangement again. Why? Well as we all know, FWB relationships can come with complexities, which is why there's so much skepticism around it. I totally get it, I've experienced the emotional confusion and frustration first hand. The truth is, FWB won't work if you're emotionally unstable, don't have good communication and are not honest about what you're actually looking for. That was precisely me at the time! Most of us have issues in some form whether we like to admit it or not, it's just that we haven't quite addressed them fully and/or have suppressed the thoughts and feelings. With that said, once you've gone through self-reflection and have dealt with yourself internally — that new found confidence, power, self-worth, knowing what you will and will not tolerate increases the quality of your life significantly, thus enabling you to deal with and approach situations far more effectively. I certainly feel like a different person to who I was 3 years back. Thank God! So if I ask myself the question, "Would I explore the FWB territory again?" — yes for sure, currently reigniting the flame! 🙈
A SOFT SPOT
Amongst my friends, I'm known for being quite ruthless: "boy bye" means "boy BYE!" 👋🏼 However, with my FWB, I've never reached that point. There were times when things dropped off for a while, because one of us had a partner, we've had the odd moments of miscommunication but we've never had a major bust up. Somehow we always find our way back to each other, and it amazes me that of all the guys who have been in and out of my life, he's been the most consistent. He'll always follow through with what he says and genuinely doesn't play games... though I could never see myself with him in a romantic sense. Honestly speaking, the dude has some red flags, he's simply not relationship material — nonetheless I respect him and value our friendship immensely. The "friendship" part has always taken precedence over the physical side of things, which is probably why it works so well. My soft spot for him usually kicks in when he takes his top off and reveals those superb abs and brilliant biceps! LOL 😍 But he's also just a good guy. We get on like a house on fire, some of my best nights out were with him, he always looked after me when I had a little too much to drink, we'd go for evening drives whenever our days became a little stressful, we "Netflix and Chill", have deep conversations, crack plenty of jokes, and have great sex! Sounds nice huh? (It really is!)
You might be wondering: how can you have sex with the same person, that you're obviously attracted to, over and over, without falling for them? Or at least, how do you not get jealous when he's around other women? Many assume that one side is secretly hoping that the sex leads to something more serious. Others see FWB dynamics as having compulsive sex to cover up for being emotional devoid people. But why do things have to be so black and white? It's absolutely possible to find a middle ground in this arrangement, you just have to find the right person for it to work. I'd also like to highlight that I don't see my FWB every day, maybe once a week at the most? I'm not some kind of nympho, so small doses of him works best for me. Research says that FWB are pretty common, but I reckon the successful are few and far (I might be wrong here!) There are many facets that need to be considered and discussed before you both deep-dive even further, this includes: your self-awareness, honesty, setting boundaries, expectations (not having too many/not being realistic), the expiration date, and so on. I'll go into more detail in another post!
I’m not dismissing the benefits of committed, long-term, loving relationships. But both dynamics are valuable in their own right. Personally I'm at a stage where I need to put the brakes on my dating life for a bit, so FWB is ideal because it requires a low level of commitment, it's convenient as he's close by, we have a mutual understanding, there's a strong level of trust between us, and it just so happens that he reappeared back in my life (again!) — talk about right place, right time! It's perfect for people who share a high level of intimacy, but don't want to take it any further. It's private and exciting, but still tender and affectionate. And perhaps the reason why FWB are often so sustainable is because they lack the soul-baring vulnerability and intense emotional investment, rather it's lighthearted fun with someone you care enough about.