Another blog about relationships (or lack thereof) this week, but stay tuned for more travel themed fare in the coming weeks.
It seems a spate of movies have come out recently about friends with benefits like ”No Strings Attached” and even the upcoming film actually called “Friends with Benefits.” Granted, I haven’t seen either of these movies, but since they’re romantic comedies I’m assuming the couples get together in the end after realizing they truly love each other and want more than just sex. But, honestly, has that ever happened to anyone in real life?
Women often allow a “friends with benefits” situation to happen in the hope that it may awaken a guy’s deeper feelings for her. Unfortunately, it can often have the opposite effect and shove you permanently into the “not girlfriend material” category. And if either person has feelings for the other, (s)he runs the risk of getting thoroughly hurt. AskMen did an article about the pros and cons of friends with benefits and said:
“Tip: …if you want to give [the friends with benefits] thing a shot, remember the importance of honesty from the get-go. If one of you is going into this secretly hoping for more, then the problem of dishonesty arises, and that person is probably in for a nasty disappointment when it doesn’t play out that way. And trust me, nine times out of 10, [friends with benefits] never develop into anything more. It’s much more likely that just the opposite will happen.”
And on the flipside, what about the friendship? That same article found that the most successful friends with benefits are actually acquaintances rather than true friends. It’s easier in that case to walk away once the “relationship” has run its course. Overall, AskMen says, “Being [friends with benefits] can be fun and rewarding if both parties are clear that it’s only about sex. Otherwise, it’s a dangerous proposition.”
How do you know if it will work or become a dangerous proposition? The reason it falls apart so often is actually an interesting one. In 2008, a study found that jealous people are actually more likely to get involved in a friends with benefits relationship than those who do not view themselves as a jealous person. As Psych Central explains, “Perhaps those having sex with a friend wonder how many other sexual partners their ‘friend’ has and want to feel that they are ‘special’ and ‘unique.’”
So, ultimately, does the friends with benefits relationship ever work out well? I think it depends entirely on the two people involved. Ironically, the most successful ones I’ve seen are between people who have dated, realized they don’t work as a couple, and then continued to enjoy a physical relationship until time or a new person brought it to a somewhat natural conclusion. On the other hand, I’ve also seen lots of instances of women lying to themselves about being comfortable with the situation while secretly holding onto hope for more.
After reading some of the studies out there, I think the golden rule is to ask yourself three questions before ever getting into that kind of relationship:
- How important is this friendship to you and are you willing to risk losing the friend if things go badly?
- Would you be upset if you learned the other person was sleeping with someone else? If that would bother you, then don’t get physical. And, in that case, you should also take a step back to examine what you want from your friendship with or without sex, since you typically shouldn’t be jealous over a platonic friend dating someone.
- What do you expect to get out of being friends with benefits? The answer should be nothing, other than some hopefully fun nights. If you’re expecting anything else, then you’re headed for disappointment.