Relationships can be complicated but they don’t have to be. For a select number of people, who decide to be friends (but with benefits) relationships are pretty simple. However, the friends with benefits situation is not for all, especially those who don’t understand how to abide by the oft unspoken yet very important rules.
Here are a few guidelines to ensure you stay within the zero-complications-sex zone.
Friends with benefits operate in a feelings-free way. However, this does not occur without the preliminary establishment of rules. Establishing guidelines ensures no one gets hurt and ongoing intentions are understood. Otherwise, it could get awkward pretty quickly if one friend assumes or expects things the other does not. For example, will your arrangement be exclusive, meaning each party does not have this situation with other ‘friends’ too? Will you see each other on set days or is it okay to call or stop by whenever?
Keep It Secret
You may be excited to score such an arrangement and inclined to tell other friends, but that would be a mistake. Once you begin to alert others of your relationship, it will quickly gain traction and be a topic of conversation among even more friends. To keep this news out of the gossip mill, it’s best to keep a lid on it. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that telling a few won’t lead to even more knowing about your personal arrangement.
Keep Feelings Under Control
The second that one of you catches feelings for the other, the friends with benefits arrangement starts to crumble. Friends remain friends but friends who date is an entirely different label. Plus, if the feeling’s not mutual, it may ruin the potential to maintain any sort of relationship in the future. Remember that keeping your feelings under control means not getting jealous if you see them with someone else and not getting suspicious as to what they’re doing if they don’t get back to you or see you for a few days. If you’re feeling paranoid and want to check their phone while they’re in the other room, you’re acting like a girlfriend or boyfriend, and a very scary one at that!
Don’t Talk About It
When you’re not being intimate, act like normal friends. That means talking about work, football, political debates, anything except for relationship things, such as ‘what’s going on’ between the two of you. As mentioned, establish ground rules at the onset and don’t talk about it afterward. The friends with benefits arrangement is pretty straightforward. Talking about it will only invite complexity.
It’s not a marriage. It’s a friendship with a side of sex. Have fun and be safe with your feelings and health. It’s obvious that you should use protection since there are no intimate feelings involved. Getting pregnant is not fair to either party and especially would not be fair to a child. Of course, things happen, so if you’re not in the habit of using contraception, you should probably talk about the course of action in the case of a pregnancy.
Stay Away from Drama
Friends don’t feel awkward in each other’s company. While some theoretically can be in a friends with benefits relationship, they may think otherwise once actions take place. Use your intuition and stay away from drama. If you have the inkling that one of you is not altogether comfortable with the arrangement, and can’t stick to the friends with benefits rules, then it is best to stop. Otherwise, you invite the potential for a sticky situation and awkward moments between the both of you.
It’s likely that your friend is okay with this arrangement because they find you cool enough to hang out with in addition to being sexually attracted to you. That means you should continue doing what you’re doing whether that’s working out, being confident, working hard, being funny, etc. There’s something about you that makes the other person find you sexy enough to have complication-free sexual relationship with you. Congratulations! Don’t spoil it by slacking off in any way, shape, or form.
Keep It Spicy
A sexual relationship free of emotional ties inspires room for exploration. Keep things spicy by being the sexual fantasy figure that the other person wants. That means asking about things they enjoy (and want to avoid) in addition to surprising them from time to time by trying new things and being open to naughty suggestions. A complications-free relationship is not a time to be shy.
Diane Moore has worked as a relationship counselor and understands all the rules and lines that need to be drawn when tackling the subject of friends with benefits. She enjoys sharing her ideas and insights on relationship matters online and writes for a number of lifestyle websites.