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Romantic relationships can be complicated, messy, and emotionally draining. For these reasons and others, singles are increasingly turning to "friends with benefits" relationships. In such relationships, two consenting adults generally enter into sex-based, no-strings-attached partnerships.
Though FWB relationships can be freeing and sexually gratifying, they are often tricky to maintain. If one partner "catches feelings" for the other, for instance, the arrangement may fall apart. To maintain a successful friends with benefits relationship, both partners have to accept the boundaries and limitations that come with such an arrangement.
Are you cut out for a friends with benefits relationship? If you can stick to the following guidelines, an FWB relationship just might be for you.
1.) Neither of you wants to pursue a serious relationship at this time.
If you're only entering into a friends with benefits arrangement because you haven't been able to find a committed partner, you’ll probably run into trouble. From the outset, you and your potential FWB should be clear on the fact that your relationship is purely sexual. If you suspect that you might develop feelings for your potential FWB, it is better to avoid entering into any kind of arrangement with him or her. Those who seek romance and commitment should remain in the standard dating pool.
2.) You can keep each other at arm's length.
Contrary to the name, you probably shouldn't be friends with your FWB. Entering into a sexual relationship with good friends is a bad idea, as ending the arrangement may have a negative impact on your friendship. In general, it is best to find a new acquaintance who is both trustworthy and congenial. Avoid picking someone who is enmeshed in your circle of friends and family members.
Though it may seem cold and impersonal, you should avoid becoming friendly with your FWB. Casual conversations and chatty texting should be kept to a minimum; meeting friends and family members is usually off-limits. Dating activities, like grabbing a meal or seeing a movie, should be avoided, too. Unless both you and your hookup partner are open to advancing your relationship, you should avoid activities that foster emotional intimacy.
3.) You've accepted that the relationship will likely be temporary.
Friends with benefits relationships usually aren't permanent arrangements. These connections may last just a few weeks or months, depending on whether or not you or your FWB are also seeking romantic relationships. Other FWB relationships may last for years or play out in between unsuccessful romances. Regardless of the outcome, you should enter into an FWB arrangement expecting it to be temporary. Don't enter into a friends with benefits relationship in hopes of it becoming more serious. If you're really interested in someone, try dating them instead. Protect your heart to ensure that you won't be devastated when the time comes to move on from this relationship.
4.) You won't be jealous when they start dating someone else.
Friends with benefits relationships don't involve romance for a reason. Usually, both partners have agreed that they're looking for a fun, sexually-charged relationship free of romance, emotions, and personal investment. Most people in FWB arrangements are not closed off to future romances, however. As much as it may hurt, you will have to accept that your hookup partner does not see a romantic future with you. Either of you may begin developing feelings for someone else during the course of your FWB relationship. Unless open relationships are involved, it is generally best to end an FWB arrangement when one of the partners begins dating someone more seriously.
If the prospect of being dumped for someone's new flame sends shooting pangs of jealousy through your heart, an FWB arrangement might be the wrong choice for you. It takes a certain level of detachment to accept a relationship without emotional commitment. If you're a jealous or highly emotional person, friends with benefits relationships will be difficult for you.
5.) You can accept that sex won't always happen.
Though a friends with benefits relationship usually revolves around sex, it is important to acknowledge that sex won't always happen when you or your partner want it to happen. One of you might be busy or not in the mood. Though spontaneity can add excitement to an FWB relationship, you don't have to be at your partner's beck and call. Don't get sulky when things don't go according to plan. Don't tolerate a partner who emotionally manipulates you, either! A solid friends with benefits relationship should involve sympathy and respect for each other's boundaries. Maintaining a sexual relationship with someone is a privilege, not a right.
When managed with care, friends with benefits relationships have the potential to be both fun and fulfilling. If you're between relationships and are looking for a less serious, more sexual connection with someone, pursuing an FWB relationship just might be the solution you're looking for.
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