I’ve seen this scenario a thousand times and I’ve even been there myself – two people agree to engage in all of the advantages of a relationship without an actual commitment, better known as friends with benefits.
Oftentimes someone develops deeper feelings and ends up heartbroken when those feelings are not reciprocated. Having both witnessed and experienced this, I have to ask myself, who is really benefiting?
More often than not there are two different roles in this arrangement: there’s the person who clearly wants nothing more than to have the compassion and affection of another person without commitment or titles, and then there’s the person who, despite the current arrangement, still has hope that things could eventually transform from friends with benefits into a full-fledged relationship.
Now, I have seen some exceptions to this scenario. In some friends-with-benefits cases, both parties move on to other successful relationships and some are even able to stay friends after the fact. Unfortunately, I have very rarely, if ever, seen a friends-with-benefits setup end in a committed relationship.
That’s not to say it doesn’t happen, but on the off-chance you are pondering an FWBA (Friends-With-Benefits-Arrangement – came up with that myself), here are some key tips that will make it more successful:
1. Think about what it is you really want.Before entering into an FWBA, make sure to clarify what you truly desire in your present and future love life. If you find you may eventually want your prospective significant lover to be your committed significant other, you might want to think twice.
2. Be honest with yourself and the other person involved.
Whenever I’ve seen someone suffering from heartbreak resulting from an FWBA gone bad, it’s usually because they weren’t honest with themselves about how they felt. Not coming to terms with how the other person may feel about you is another culprit. Make sure to be realistic with yourself and your expectations, and always be honest with the other person about how you feel; you will save a lot of time and potential suffering that way.
3. Keep communication open.
This is the most important thing to remember and an extension of #2. People tend to experience disappointment in this situation because they assume their FWBA partner-in-crime feels one way, when in fact they may feel completely opposite. Either one of you may still secretly be shopping around for the right person, all the while continuing your arrangement. As soon as something changes, whether it’s your feelings toward each other or the discovery of another budding relationship, make sure you tell the other person ASAP. Openness and honesty are key, as they are in any other relationship.
I hope you find these tips helpful in your pursuit of Mr. or Ms. Right Now. Remember, you’re human. It’s natural to want someone in your life. How involved they are in your life is entirely up to you. Happy dating all!