Nail the “Friends With Benefits” Relationship

Like moths to a flame we keep coming back to friends with benefits (FWB) relationships, even though they often end terribly.  Here are a couple basic guidelines to keep you from becoming emotionally invested in a theoretically emotion-less relationship:

Don’t celebrate holidays together…

With Thanksgiving, Christmas, NYE, and Valentine’s Day all around the corner remember that your FWB partner should not be your go-to date for holiday parties.  You are not responsible for getting her a holiday gift.  Although you didn’t ask for it, the present you gave her was gift-wrapped in attachment.  That may have a negative impact on your FWB situation, especially if you’re genuinely not looking for a relationship.

Don’t spend time with her family…

You wouldn’t want to hear your mom tell you every other night, “Why don’t you and Julie date?!”  Why would she want to hear it from her mom?  If she asks you to do something with her family, tell her you’re sorry but you already have plans.  If she asks why you never want to meet her family, kindly remind her that you’re not dating.  Hopefully she doesn’t get offended.  Sometimes honesty hurts.

Don’t spend the night…

Name one thing more romantic than waking up with someone.  (Okay, when your girlfriend surprises you with tickets to the Steelers game, that’s romantic.  Name something else.)

Don’t depend on her to cheer you up…

After a bad day, don’t look to her to make you feel better… unless you’ll be cheered up post-hookup.  Call her when you’re horny, not when you’re sad.  It’s that simple.

If you do decide to take the plunge and turn your FWB situation into something more, know that it may be uncommon but it isn’t impossible to do.  It’s typical for approximately 20% of FWB couples to turn into an exclusive relationship.  The question is, is your relationship doomed because of its awkward birth from a FWB situation or is it destined to thrive because you two started off as friends?

Research shows that although couples that started off as friends with benefits had slightly lower relationship satisfaction than couples that started off dating traditionally, there are no other major differences between the two.  Both types of relationships have similar communication patterns and levels of anxiety about commitment.

The best way to make either type of relationship work is to remember that there are distinctly different sets of rules.  If you want to stay strictly FWB, don’t get involved with her family or plan sentimental dates.  If you decide to convert to a committed relationship, keep in mind that you’re now part of her emotional support system.  Step up and act accordingly or you’ll be missing out on a lot of what drew you to the FWB situation in the first place, guaranteed.

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