5 Ways To Create A Healthy Friends With Benefits Situation
When browsing profiles, many people see “only interested in friends with benefits” as a red flag, code for douchebag.
But…we at DatingPositives know that FWB situations can be fruitful, fun, long-lasting and positive...if they’re approached the right way.
Here are 5 ways to create a healthy friends with benefits situation.
1) Remember the friendship part.
“It’s called FRIENDS with benefits for a reason,” said author, speaker, and activist Zachary Zane. “You should be friends first, which means don’t treat them (or allow yourself to be treated) in any way that you wouldn’t treat a friend.
2) Call out the BS early.
“I feel like often we allow our FWB to cancel last minute, be rude, or any number of things that would be unacceptable if a friend did them,” Zane added. “If they’re not treating you like a friend, then be done with them.”
There is a disturbing trend wherein people in a FWB situation think they can get away with treating a sexual partner like crap. Nope! You still deserve respect as a FWB. The minute that isn’t happening, call out the BS and move on.
3) Be open and honest about your intentions from the start.
Courtney Brame, a sexual health advocate and founder of the nonprofit Something Positive for Positive People, says that by setting clear intentions and boundaries together from the beginning resulted in an amazing friends with benefits relationship while he and his FWB were actively meeting other potential partners.
“I met someone online and clearly stated I was looking for someone also living with herpes who was ok with a purely sexual relationship without condoms,” Brame explained. “We agreed that the end goal was to have our sexual needs met while we dated other people. We decided that when either of us began to be sexual with another person or were getting into a relationship, that we’d let the other know and terminate the agreement.”
With a FWB, as with any other kind of relationship laced with sex and/or intimacy, there’s always a risk of someone getting hurt. However, that risk is significantly lower if everyone is on the same page in terms of future expectations. Don’t get someone’s hopes up by pretending you may be interested in a formal relationship down the line if that’s not the case. Be real!!
4) Keep checking in.
Brame explained that throughout his FWB relationship, he and his FWB continuously checked in.
Again, just because you’re in a FWB situation doesn’t mean you owe someone zero emotional labor. You don’t have to be the person who goes to the animal hospital with them when their dog gets sick, but you do owe your FWB honesty, including updates on how you’re feeling about the relationship.
And guess what? The more honest and open you are, the less anxiety there will be, and the better the sex will likely become.
“My FWB and I experimented and did all kinds of fun crazy stuff consensually and with our intentions on the table, it was safer to be vulnerable and connect. That transparency made for some damn good intimacy and we were honest about what was happening,” said Brame.
“Upholding the agreement and not being shady were all key. And when it was time to end it there were no fears of hurting feelings because it was all out there from the beginning.”
5) Maintain boundaries.
With sex and intimacy, it can be easy to slip from FWB to a situation that more closely resembles a traditional relationship. If you’re getting along, treating each other with respect, and the sex is great, it may be tempting to accompany your FWB to a family gathering or to meet their friends.
But…proceed with caution. Remember what you initially signed up for and what you both agreed upon. If you both decide that you want to take those next steps, great. But if not, don’t blur those boundaries. That will likely result in a messier parting of ways and the potential loss of a friendship.