The line between friends and romantic partners can be blurry, and a friends-with-benefits (FWB) relationship can be a great way to navigate that gray area. However, it’s important to remember that FWB relationships come with their own set of challenges and considerations.
To have a successful and enjoyable FWB experience, it’s crucial to establish clear boundaries and communication.
This article will explore 13 essential rules for an FWB relationship, covering topics such as consent, honesty, and the importance of open communication. By following these guidelines, you and your FWB partner can navigate this unique type of relationship with ease and satisfaction.
Friends with benefit relationship
A friends-with-benefits (FWB) relationship is a type of romantic relationship where two individuals engage in a sexual relationship without the expectation of commitment or a romantic relationship.
They are “friends” who also have a physical relationship, but the connection is primarily focused on the physical aspect and there is no expectation of a future romantic commitment.
In this kind of relationship, both parties are free to date or see other people, and the relationship is typically maintained on a casual basis.
13 rules to make friends with benefits work
In this section, we’ll be discussing 13 essential rules that will help make friends with benefits work. Setting clear boundaries and following certain guidelines can make the friends-with-benefits relationship a more fulfilling and enjoyable experience for both of you.
1) Be honest about what you want from the relationship:
Have a candid conversation with your partner about your intentions and what you’re looking for in the relationship. Be upfront about whether you want something purely physical, or if you’re open to exploring the possibility of something more long-term.
This can help in avoiding misunderstandings or hurt feelings later on where one person may want to keep things purely physical, while the other may only want to explore the possibility of something more long-term.
2) Respect each other’s boundaries:
Establish clear boundaries with your partner and make sure to communicate your limits. This can include setting boundaries around physical contact, time spent together, and communication.
This helps to ensure that both partners feel comfortable and secure in the relationship. Setting boundaries can also include discussing what is and isn’t okay in terms of communication, such as when and how often to check in with each other.
3) Communicate openly and honestly:
Open and honest communication is a key element in any relationship, and it’s especially important in a friends-with-benefits relationship. This means talking about your feelings, desires, and any concerns you may have. It also means being open to hearing your partner’s thoughts and feelings.
Good communication can help both of you to pinpoint the red flags in your relationship before it snowballs into a big problem that may affect the other areas of your life.
4) Don’t get too emotionally attached:
While it can be difficult to avoid developing feelings for someone you’re physically intimate with, try to keep the focus of the relationship on the physical aspect and not on emotional attachment.
So, do not express your love or affection too much and deliver sweet surprises which might lead your partner into misunderstanding. However, it is important to remain understanding and empathetic to your partner when they encounter setbacks in life.
In short words, you should only do what a friend will do and never more than that.
5) Make sure you are both on the same page:
Have a conversation with your partner to ensure that you are both on the same page about the nature of the relationship. Make sure that you both understand and agree on the terms of the relationship and are comfortable with the setup.
For example, both of you might have to accept that you are not each other boyfriend or girlfriend, and you will not invest too much emotionally in each other because the relationship is geared towards a more physical one. If you want to keep the relationship discreet, make sure both of you are on the same page and no one will disclose or share about the relationship with friends or family.
6) Show respect and understanding for your partner’s feelings:
When you show respect and understanding for your partner’s feelings, it helps to build trust and create a more enjoyable experience for both partners. This is important to create a positive dynamic and a sustainable relationship
This means actively listening to your partner when they express their feelings and being empathetic towards their experiences. It also means being respectful of their boundaries, whether they are physical, emotional, or otherwise.
When it comes to physical boundaries, make sure to check in with your partner about what they are and are not comfortable with. For emotional boundaries, make sure that you understand what makes them feel safe and respected in the relationship. This way, you can ensure that your partner feels heard and respected.
7) Avoid making assumptions or expecting certain things from the other person:
It’s important to avoid making assumptions about what your partner wants or expects in the relationship, and to avoid making assumptions about what will happen in the relationship. This can prevent misunderstandings and unexpected changes in the relationship.
For example, you may assume that your partner will want to spend more time together or that they are looking for a more serious relationship. But, they might have different expectations and don’t want to see each other as much, or they’re only interested in a casual sexual arrangement. Or you may assume that you both can be comfortable with not seeing or talking to each other for weeks, whereas for your partner it might be a deal breaker.
8) Be open and honest about dating or hooking up with other people:
Being open and honest about dating or hooking up with other people, it can help ensure that both partners are comfortable with the arrangement and that there are no misunderstandings or hurt feelings.
For instance, if you are seeing someone else, it is best to be upfront about it with your friends-with-benefits partner, so that they are not caught off guard or surprised. The same goes for if your partner is dating or hooking up with someone else. By being upfront and honest about it, you can avoid any surprises or hurt feelings, and make sure that both partners are comfortable with the arrangement.
Additionally, it is also important to check in with your partner and make sure that they’re still comfortable with the arrangement, especially if they start seeing or hooking up with someone else.
9) Be willing to end the arrangement if it stops being beneficial for one or both parties:
A friends-with-benefits relationship is a temporary arrangement, and it is important to be prepared to end the relationship if it stops being beneficial for one or both parties. This means being willing to have a conversation with your partner if the relationship is no longer working for either of you.
For instance, one party might feel that they have developed feelings for the other and want to pursue a more serious relationship, or one party might feel that the arrangement is not meeting their needs anymore. In these cases, it is important to have an open and honest conversation about how each person feels about the relationship and to be willing to consider ending the arrangement if it no longer feels right for either party.
10) Use protection to prevent unwanted pregnancies and the spread of STIs:
Using protection is a critical aspect of any sexual relationship, and this is particularly true in a friends-with-benefits relationship. Using protection, such as condoms, can help to prevent unwanted pregnancies, which will complicate the relationship and the spread of sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
If one partner is not comfortable with using protection, it is important to have an honest conversation about the risks and to consider whether or not to continue with the relationship.
11) Don’t let your FWB relationship affect your existing friendships or other relationships:
It’s important to keep your friends-with-benefits relationship separate from your other relationships. This means not letting the relationship interfere with your existing friendships or other romantic relationships. This can help to avoid conflicts of interest or misunderstandings and can help to keep the relationship focused on what it is: a casual, physical arrangement.
For example, you should avoid introducing your FWB partner to your friends or family, especially if they are not aware of the nature of your relationship, as it may lead to confusion, conflict, or disappointment. Furthermore, you should keep your FWB relationship separate from your work and other social circles, as it can lead to ethical and professional issues.
It’s also important to remember that the FWB relationship is not the same as a romantic relationship, so there should be no expectation that your FWB partner will be your emotional support or companion like a romantic partner would. By keeping your FWB relationship separate from your other relationships, you can maintain a clear boundary and avoid any potential conflicts or misunderstandings.
12) Don’t pressure your partner into doing anything they’re not comfortable with:
Pressuring your partner into doing something they don’t want to do can lead to feelings of discomfort and disempowerment, and can ultimately damage the trust and dynamics of the relationship. Additionally, It could lead to a one-sided relationship where one person’s needs and boundaries are not respected or met.
Thus, it is important not to pressure your partner into engaging in sexual activities that they are not comfortable with, this may lead to an unhealthy and non-consensual relationship. It’s also important to respect your partner’s boundaries around communication and time spent together, such as if they prefer to keep the relationship more low-key or not discuss personal matters.
13) Remember that the FWB relationship is temporary and not a long-term commitment:
A friends-with-benefits relationship is typically established to have a sexual and/or physical relationship without any romantic expectations or obligations.
So, it’s important to set expectations for the duration of the relationship and to be aware that it is not a commitment in the long term. It’s also essential to be aware that feelings may change over time and the other party may want to end the arrangement or to turn it into something more serious.
Having a clear understanding of the nature and duration of the relationship can help to avoid misunderstandings and unrealistic expectations in the future.
What are the main boundaries you should set for friends-with-benefits relationships?
Having a friends-with-benefits relationship can be a great way to enjoy the physical benefits of a relationship without the emotional commitment. However, it’s important to set boundaries to ensure that both partners are comfortable and respected.
In this section, we will discuss the 6 main boundaries that should be set in a friends-with-benefits relationship, including physical, emotional, communication, social, time, and safety boundaries.
1) Physical boundaries:
Setting limits on the types of physical activities that are acceptable in a friends-with-benefits relationship can help to ensure that both partners are comfortable and respected. This can include things like setting limits on sexual activities, such as whether or not certain acts are allowed, or if certain acts are only allowed in certain situations. It can also include limits on how often and under what circumstances physical contact is allowed, such as agreeing not to engage in sexual activities while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
2) Emotional boundaries:
Setting limits on how much you share about your personal life, your feelings, or other emotional topics, and on how much time you spend together can help to ensure that the relationship stays focused on what it is: a casual, physical arrangement. This can help to prevent one party from developing feelings for the other and can help to avoid misunderstandings and hurt feelings.
3) Communication boundaries:
Establishing what types of communication are acceptable and how often can help to keep the relationship focused on what it is, and can help to avoid misunderstandings or hurt feelings. This can include things like limiting communication to certain hours of the day or avoiding certain topics, such as discussing personal matters or asking about other relationships.
4) Social boundaries:
Setting limits on introducing your FWB partner to friends, family or social circles can help to keep the relationship focused on what it is, and can help to avoid misunderstandings and hurt feelings. This can also help to avoid any potential conflicts of interest or complications with other relationships.
5) Time boundaries:
Setting limits on how often you meet, how long you expect the relationship to last, and how much time you want to spend together outside of sexual activities can help to manage expectations and can help to avoid misunderstandings and hurt feelings.
6) Safety boundaries:
Discussing thoughts and feelings on using protection and getting tested for STIs can help to ensure that both partners feel comfortable and respected, and can help to prevent any unwanted pregnancies or the spread of STIs.
What should you not do with friends with benefits?
Friends-with-benefits is typically a non-exclusive, physical arrangement and it’s intended to be temporary. Thus, it’s important to avoid mixing feelings and emotions into the relationship, as this can create confusion and dissatisfaction for both parties.
It is common for one party to develop romantic feelings for the other, this can happen when people spend a lot of time together, share physical and emotional intimacy, and may lead to attachment. When this occurs, it’s important for that person to communicate this and to consider if they want to continue the friends-with-benefits relationship or if they want to pursue a romantic relationship.
It’s important to have an open and honest conversation with your FWB partner about your feelings and try to understand their perspective as well. The important thing is to establish a clear understanding of what each of you wants and expects from the relationship and what are your feelings towards the other person.
If both parties want to pursue a romantic relationship, it’s worth exploring that possibility, but if the other person is not interested, it’s important to respect that and accept it, and maybe you should end the friends-with-benefit relationship altogether to stop catching feelings for your partner.
Do friends with benefits ever become a couple?
It’s possible that a friends-with-benefits relationship can evolve into a romantic relationship. This can happen if both parties develop romantic feelings for each other during the relationship, and decide to take things to the next level.
However, it’s important to remember that friends-with-benefits are a casual arrangement, and not all such relationships will evolve into romantic ones. In some cases, both parties may prefer to keep the relationship casual and may not want it to evolve into a romantic relationship.
If one of the parties does develop romantic feelings for the other and wants to take the relationship further, it’s important to have an open and honest conversation about it with your partner. It’s important to understand their perspective and also to be prepared for the possibility that they may not have the same feelings or may not be interested in pursuing a romantic relationship.
It’s important to remember that a friends-with-benefits arrangement is not a guarantee for a romantic relationship. It’s important to be open to what the relationship may become, but also to not have unrealistic expectations.