Friends With Benefits: How To Avoid The Traps
A “friends with benefits” arrangement is most often the result of you and a girl you’ve known for a long time having sex. The two of you acknowledge that you’ve crossed a line from which you can never retreat. However, neither one of you is interested in going from friendship to commitment. Becoming friends with benefits is a compromise that suits your mutual desire for casual, no-strings-attached, hassle free sex.
But before I get to that, I must first advise you to rule out two kinds of girls for this arrangement: your next door neighbor and your work colleague. Your proximity to both is certainly an advantage. If you struck out at the club, it is comforting to know that you can return home and get some action there—just a few steps from your doorway. And what man hasn’t fantasized about getting a lunch break blow job in his car, in the dark interior of the office park.
However, the disadvantages of hooking up with your neighbor or co-worker outweigh these conveniences. For one simple reason: the premise of FWB is no-strings-attached sex. Doing it with a girl you have to see every day and work closely with puts you constantly under her gaze—a condition bound to lead to complication.
Now, on to the traps themselves. Don’t convince yourself the relationship is more serious than it is. Popular myth has it that this is a problem more for women than men. But that isn’t the case. After sleeping together for a while, you may come to feel you can have her whenever you want—that her body is yours and you should be able to make booty calls as it suits you. If it’s three in the morning and you get a return text saying she’s not available, you will be tempted to make demands. Don’t. Remember, she’s just as free to sleep around as you are.
If you meet someone you’re actually interested in dating, you don’t need to immediately break off with your FWB. You should not assume that the new person you’re with wants to be exclusive. Talk things through with her. Don’t give up your old ways until you are certain you can actually adopt new ones.
Dealing with friends and family can be tricky. You and your FWB may be part of the same circle of friends, but you’ve decided to keep the fact that you’re fucking secret. To avoid the risk of getting into awkward situations it is best that you not show up together (or apart) at every night out and party. This will give you needed space, and it will also make it harder for any of your friends to suspect anything. If your FWB is not already part of your social circle, don’t invite her in.
You don’t have to do sleepovers. In fact, you are better off not doing them. This is one of the more powerful traps in FWB arrangements, and one that is quite easy to fall into. It seems so harmless, but the fact of the matter is that a sleepover has a kind of intimacy and closeness that works subtly on the feelings. No matter how many times you tell yourself that it’s just sex, you will develop an emotional attachment to her if you spend whole nights with her in bed. This is just biology and can’t be helped.
Keep the relationship in the bedroom. As I said before, if you are part of a group of friends you can’t totally avoid social contact. However, don’t push it by engaging in date-like activity. Coffees are fine; even watching a movie before having sex is okay. But no candle lit dinners or other gestures of romance. It will only confuse you and her.
Last, be smart on social media. She may be on your Facebook feed, but you should be very careful about what you post on your wall. Don’t go bragging about the action you got last night. Even the most flippant remark can be enough for your mutual friends to work things out. Post nothing at all on her wall.
Making FWB work requires your discretion and tact. It can be great fun. And it can help you satisfy your basic need for sex if you’re not in the mood to either play the field or get into anything serious.
About Christopher Reid Chris was born in Washington, D.C. and lives in Britain. He works as a blogger, essayist, and novelist. His first book, Tea with Maureen, has just been published.