Do friends with benefits actually have any ‘real’ benefits? Does the friend come with a health insurance plan? Dental? A 401(k)?
What could actually be beneficial to rolling around in the hay with a good friend other than a few hours of pleasure mixed with years of a ruined friendship?
It all started out when a friend from out of state called me crying. Lisa is currently going through a divorce.
(Obviously that’s not her real name, but you knew that. She’s part of the blogger witness protection program.)
Anyway, Lisa is terribly wounded and hurt. Anyone that’s gone through a divorce or breakup knows the pain and hurt associated with the loss of love.
It’s heartbreak agony.
While out for dinner with a friend one night, she was introduced to her friend’s friend who had also walked in with some buddies.
Immediately they hit it off – as friends.
She had phoned me several times since their initial meeting to tell me about their close friendship, and confessed she was possibly developing feelings for him, but knew it was too soon at that point in her life for anything with anyone, so she was not about to cross over the friendship line.
That is…until one day she did, and it was great and there was chemistry – BUT!!!! how would they ever get out of the friend zone even though they no longer were platonic?
So here’s the real question: Can friends with benefits ever really work out?
My only real experience with this topic was in high school. I had this platonic best guy friend who I used to hang out with all the time. One day we made a bet over something stupid, and I, of course, lost. Had I won, I would have gotten a free lunch, but because he won – he got a kiss.
We crossed over the friendship zone into the FWB zone.
At that very moment, neither of us were in any relationship and we decided we would be “friends with benefits,” hook-up buddies with no strings.
What could possibly be harmful with that, right?
The friendship ultimately ended because he fell and I did not. Months later, I was getting crank calls at all hours of the night – no, we did not have caller ID at the time – listening to “Tainted Love” on the other end of the phone. It was miserable, and to this day we do not speak.
When such a relationship exists, there are only a few ways it can turn out:
1. Both remain friends even after the benefits are long over.
2. One person winds up falling for the other.
3. One person finds a real partner.
4. The friendship burns and crashes.
FWB zones have no rules, regulations or boundaries. Flying in the FWB zone is as murky as sailing in international waters where there’s limited jurisdiction and sovereignty.
These kinds of relationships have a short shelf life, and once they’ve exceeded their time limit, well, they become like milk gone bad. Just plain ol’ soured. Eventually one or both people fall in love or one or both people find someone else.
Here are some reasons to stay away from the FWB district:
1. When you begin a relationship with no boundaries, you usually stay there.
“When you start a game with zero rules, it’s hard to go back and reestablish any.”
2. You sell yourself short when there is no commitment to seeing where things might go.
“When you’re giving yourself, your body and your time to someone, without knowing you’re going to receive something back, it devalues both parties significantly.”
3. If the chemistry is that good, then it has the power to sway you emotionally.
“Our bodies are scientifically built to release certain chemicals and hormones during physical intimacy that make us feel bonded and connected towards the person we are with. When you are ‘just friends’ it’s terribly confusing to have your body scream I want this person and your mind telling you that’s your pal.”
4. One person ALWAYS gets hurt.
“There’s always one person who falls faster or harder. No matter what guidelines are set, emotions take over and the original terms of the agreement quickly become null and void. Usually both parties grow attached, but they do so to different degrees.”
So if you want to embark on a casual, no-strings attached relationship where there’s just sex; no commitment; get in, get off, and get out — FWB is the way to go. While this may be a dream come true to most — it can quickly turn into a total nightmare if not handled correctly.
I like to think of “friends with benefits” as more of a docking station rather than a permanent place to park your boat. Use caution and tread lightly. And, remember, if it’s worth raising his mast, then maybe it’s worth lowering your anchor.
Until next time,