Ahh, the age-old “Friends With Benefits” debate. Can it ever really work? Hollywood certainly gives it a bad rap. Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis showed us how sex can complicate a friendship in “Friends With Benefits,” a movie that has scared most of us away from even attempting this merely impossible feat. It sounds ideal at first. Girl meets guy, girl and guy become friends, girl and guy decide they want to have sex without commitment. I mean, who wouldn’t want that?
Even though Justin Timberlake won’t be organizing a flash mob to profess his love for you anytime soon (we can only dream of such), oftentimes the intimacy and the excessive amount of time spent together can cause romantic feelings to arise. And yet, we keep revisiting the idea of this because, well, who wouldn’t want a steady sexual partner while still having all of the freedoms that come with being single? As much as we ourselves enjoy having the freedom to be with other people, it can be hard to imagine your partner doing the same, which is why jealousy often ruins these so-called “agreements.” And you don’t have to be Mila Kunis to figure that out.
So what is the best way to proceed? Can this ever really work? My answer is yes … sort of. It depends on each individual scenario. The reality of the situation is, you can follow all of the precautions and still catch the feels. The heart wants what it wants, and that’s the god awful truth.
But it can’t hurt to try. Here are a few tips:
1. Try to find an FWB who you deem totally “undateable.” Okay, that sounds really bad. Let me rephrase. Make sure you choose someone who you can never picture yourself falling for. Maybe he can’t hold a great conversation, your views on social and/or political issues clash, or maybe he’s graduating in a matter of months and moving far away. The bottom line is, it can never work. “The epic flaw” factor is crucial to a successful FWB relationship.
2. Setting ground rules from the get-go is critical. If you are not on the same page with what is “acceptable behavior,” then fights are bound to ensue. You don’t need to swear to each other via a bible iPad app (sorry, had to use another “Friends With Benefits” reference), but a solid conversation will do. Here’s an example of a good ground rule: “don’t bang my best friend.”
3. Mind your business, mind your business, mind your business. I can’t stress that enough. Certain topics just need to be off limits. Your other hookups are a, “don’t ask, don’t tell” kind of situation. Discussion of these topics will just lead to anger and jealousy.
4. Don’t do relationship-y things with your FWB if you know you can’t handle it. Sometimes it can be nice to have someone to grab a bite to eat with or occasionally cuddle with, but it can also lead to the dreaded “feels.”
5. Don’t reprimand him as if you are his girlfriend, because you’re not. He isn’t your boyfriend either, therefore, he has no right to act like one. You can’t get mad at him if he doesn’t answer his texts fast enough or flip a sh*t when he likes another girl’s Instagram picture or vice versa. The whole reason you signed up for this “Friends With Benefits” thing was to not be in a relationship.You have to know your place and know when to keep your cool.
6. Make sure you have the solid foundations of a friendship. He may not be your boyfriend, but he damn well better treat you with respect. Being rude, kicking you out at night or just being a douchebag in general isn’t okay. You want an FWB you can be cool with, joke around with, and actually like to hang out with. It’s much better that way.
You may follow all of these instructions to the T and still encounter problems. FWB is a risky situation, and you have been forewarned that you may get your heart broken. It is up to you to decide whether or not the risk is worth the reward. Who knows, maybe you’ll end up like Mila Kunis in the end.