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Friends With Benefits: Is It Really Beneficial?

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Have you heard the expression, “the best way to get over someone is to get under someone else?” Many believe this is a good way to distract themselves between relationships. In a city like New York, where everyone is constantly preoccupied with several other things at once and no one has time for a relationship, a friend with benefits can be just the answer. I mean, why actually put in time looking for anything serious, when, like everything else in the city, you can get exactly what you want, when you want it, and with no strings attached? But is having a friend with benefits actually beneficial?

When you have a friend with benefits, you have someone whom you can call anytime of day; not just for a hookup, but also for companionship. You may go out with them to a movie or dinner, but you know at the end of the day, there are no pressures or expectations, and you can both go on with your lives. On one hand, it fills a void between relationships and adds that extra element of fun to an otherwise busy and stressful life, but I believe both people have to set clear expectations from the beginning, and stick to those boundaries.  For some it works; for others, it’s easier said than done.

I believe when two people get into a FWB relationship in which they are sleeping together, one person ultimately has stronger feelings for the other, even if they deny it outwardly or to themselves. One may insist they really just want something casual, but deep down inside, they know they’re just saying it to get intimate with the other person in hopes it will develop into something more. Even if they tell themselves it’s not the case, they have to know that either person could develop stronger feelings when that hormone called oxytocin creeps in. What happens when the other person meets someone else and puts an end to your FWB relationship? Will you be comfortable with that? Or, will it affect you emotionally, even though you tried to fool yourself into believing casual was all you wanted?

Stereotypically, we think women are the ones who are more emotionally vested, but don’t fool yourself. I know plenty of women who won’t stay for breakfast and plenty of guys who become attached easily. They say women want to feel a connection with a guy before sleeping with him, while a guy feels a stronger attraction towards a woman after sleeping with her. So with all things considered, is it better not to even enter into such an arrangement? I used to think absolutely not because it makes you complacent, and takes away time you could be spending looking for a romantic relationship. However, as long as you think about all the possible outcomes before you enter into a FWB relationship, and are sure you’re ready to handle whatever comes your way emotionally, then I say go for it.

In general, people put a lot of pressure on themselves and others when it comes to finding “The One.”  This may lead to unrealistic expectations and perpetual disappointment. However, with your FWB, you have the close friendship and the sex, while simply enjoying each other’s company. Since that person is your friend, you also likely have a level of trust and comfort, which makes the sex even better.   Plus, who knows… when you least expect it, your FWB could turn into your PFL (partner for life)… but don’t count on it!

Based in NYC, Michelle Jerson is a radio talk show host, relationship coach, and founder/CEO of the travel site www.passportromance.com.  On the side, she recruits for an international matchmaking service, and is currently seeking a few good men to join for free! Contact Michelle at michelle@passportromance.com.
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