WAYS TO MAINTAIN A SUCCESSFUL 'FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS' RELATIONSHIP.
Two weeks ago I wrote a piece about my FWB re-entering my life, and how it's been one of the most fun and sustainable relationships. As mentioned in the post, many have the assumption that these arrangements always end up in messiness and tears. I get that, we’re only human after all, sometimes one of us catches feelings, then realise we want more. This kind of relationship isn't for everyone. It's not easy to make work but when it does, it's very pleasant! But you really do need to be in the right headspace before jumping in! On top of this, I'd say there are a few other foolproof ways to approach a FWB situation.
It's worth noting that I've only ever had one experience of a FWB. Honestly, I'd love it if I was able to use a slightly larger sample size when dissecting this particular topic, but as I've said before, I believe successful FWB relationships are few and far between. It's nice to have a person in life where you're physically attracted to them, have built a solid friendship, yet you could never see yourself dating. Sounds odd but it works!
So whilst I'm no FWB practitioner, I'm for sure a passionate dating and relationship blogger who's looking to provide you with some wise words of advice on how to avoid confusion, frustration and awkwardness. Now before getting in too deep with your friend... have a read through my list of Dos and Don'ts.
CHOOSE SOMEONE WHO IS HONEST AND KNOWS HOW TO COMMUNICATE
As well as your friend, this person is someone you’re getting intimate with, therefore honesty is imperative. You must also keep the lines of communication open. If you’re seeing other people, tell them. Don't limit your discussions purely on the physical side of things, but be honest about how you feel emotionally. If you don’t feel emotionally attached to them, then phew — that’s ideal! But if you're starting to develop feelings for them, tell them before it gets sticky! If you keep this information to yourself, you will get more attached. And that’s when these type of relationships tend to fall apart. ENSURE YOU'RE EMOTIONALLY STABLE
Firstly, I would highly recommend avoiding any sort of FWB set-up if you've just come out of a relationship or you're still not over your ex. It's common for people to want to add something to their life to fill some sort of emotional void. This is a recipe for disaster in a FWB type of relationship. Going into a FWB means you have to keep your body and your heart separate... it's by no means an easy thing to do, and if you’re someone that can't keep your emotions and feelings in check then this is probably not for you. Really try to understand where your head is at... if you can't even figure that out, abort mission. KEEP YOUR EYES AND HEART OPEN FOR NEW RELATIONSHIPS Just because you’re in a FWB relationship, that does't mean you shouldn’t be closing the doors on other people. Don’t miss out on someone who has relationship potential — don't feel guilty about speaking to other people or going out on dates. Remember, your FWB isn't your boyfriend, they're your friend and you don’t owe them anything romantically.
TERMINATE THE "BENEFITS" ONCE SOMEONE FINDS A PARTNER While we're on the subject of keeping your eyes and heart open; as soon as your FWB has a new partner, you must stop the benefits. If you choose to continue... well, you're no longer FWB, you now have the title of a side chick/side dude! And you don't want to be that person right?
KEEP YOUR FWB ARRANGEMENT ON THE LOW Let's be real, people are nosey and love inserting themselves in situations that don't concern them. If you want to make your FWB work, it's best practice to keep it on the low. Once you start sharing information about your FWB, other people will want to keep talking about it! People will start putting thoughts into your head that never existed, increasing the likelihood that you'll become confused about what's really going on. There's also a risk that you'll begin talking about your friend as if you're dating them... reminder: you're not! PRIORITISE THE "FRIENDSHIP" PART Don't forget that this is a person you value, respect and enjoy having in your life. If maintaining the friendship is important to both of you, it'll work out. You don't want to lose what you have as friends. The "F" always comes before the "B" — so make sure friendship is the priority! Benefits are just an added bonus.
INTRODUCE THEM TO ANYONE A FWB faux pas is introducing them to your friends and family. This is unacceptable behaviour. If you start introducing your FWB to people who matter in your life, you've set yourself up for an interrogation... especially if they like your friend! Save yourself the drama and keep the relationship between you and your friend.
MAKE YOUR EX BE THE FWB
Oh my God. There's one individual in your life that should never be a candidate for the position of FWB... that's your ex. Firstly, they're not your bloody friend... I don't care what you say. While you think it might be the easier route, ie. comfortable territory, you've slept together before, this situation will get messy... rapidly. With FWB... or EWB in this case, you have no power to be calling the shots, you can't tell them what they can or can't do because it "hurts your feelings". So if you can't handle that thought... you should run from this idea. In fact, you shouldn't even entertain it!
ACT LIKE A GIRLFRIEND OR BOYFRIEND
The difference between a successful FWB situation and a disastrous one is when you start stepping over those boundaries. If you feel like you want the added benefits that a girlfriend or boyfriend would provide, ie. date nights, someone to message you all the time, etc, then you need to drop your FWB and start searching for what you really want. As a rule, you should never force your FWB into a role that is outside the arrangement... this will only lead to disappointment!
MAKE THEM FEEL LIKE A BOOTY CALL
Remember, your FWB is first and foremost your friend, so don't start making them feel like shit by treating them like a quick hookup. FWB share mutual respect, it's not about texting them "u up?" at 3am or only working towards one person's schedule. FWB involves concern not only for yourself, but also for your friend.
GET JEALOUS OR BECOME NEEDY If seeing your FWB talking to other people bothers you, it's a sign that you're becoming emotionally attached. Another important thing to mention is to not get too comfortable or have too many expectations. Expecting to see them consistently, being disappointed if they cancel on you, asking too many questions about their love life, and hoping they prioritise your needs is a no-no! The whole point of having a FWB is the freedom to do whatever you want outside of "sexy time", and that goes for both of you!
HANG OUT TOO OFTEN You don't hang out with your friends every day, so why should it be any different when it comes to your FWB? Your social life with each other should be at a bare minimum. Getting into bed together twice a week at the very most is the ideal scenario — although I would recommend once a week! When you start spending too much time together, it'll make those dreaded lines blurry as f***.
THOU SHALL ENJOY THYSELVES
So hopefully this has got you thinking about how to navigate a successful FWB relationship, and whether it's even the right thing for you! The most crucial part is making the ground rules clear before taking the plunge. If you have an existing FWB, enjoy it — because a good one can be very hard to come by!