Friends with benefits can be considered a grey area of a relationship that can be fraught with problems and the potential risk of losing a friend forever.
However, it doesn’t need to be that way, relationship expert Dr Lurve explains:
Friends with benefits can be a mutually beneficial relationship that truly serves each party’s needs and desires, while keeping things lighthearted and noncommittal.
Here are the seven rules of making Friends with Benefits work.
1. SET CLEAR BOUNDARIES
Boundaries are something that you should both openly discuss together before actually doing the deed (well, at least if you can anyway).
Have a conversation about what you want and what you don’t want, what you expect and what are non-negotiables for you. Perhaps getting into a scenario where you only meet up after a 3am booty call wouldn’t work for you. So, make sure you voice that and ensure your friend can meet those expectations.
Don’t be afraid to go into detail about the dynamic of the relationship and how you expect it to work. The last thing you want is to get into a position where the situation isn’t working for you or isn’t making you feel good.
Friends with Benefits relationships are meant to be fun, easy and convenient! Setting boundaries can ensure they stay that way.
2. SET YOUR OWN EXPECTATIONS
You really need to be clear about what you want on a personal level before entering into a Friends with Benefits relationship.
Set your own expectations about what you want from it and don’t fall into the trap of expecting the fairy-tale ending. Yes, you may have watched the movies Friends with Benefits or No Strings Attached where the couple realises they’re madly, deeply in love with one another, but it doesn’t always work out that way.
So, in short, don’t get your hopes up!
Don’t go into the arrangement expecting that your friend might suddenly realise they’re in love with you and you’ll live happily ever after. Sure, that could happen, but the reality is you both started out on a platonic level for a reason.
3. COMMUNICATE EFFECTIVELY
Keeping the lines of communication open is incredibly important to make this dynamic work.
Be sure to check in with one another every now and then to ensure you’re both still on the same page. This will allow you to keep those boundaries in check and know when it might be time to move on.
4. CONSIDER EACH OTHER’S FEELINGS
This should be a mutually beneficial agreement where both parties are having fun. If it stops being fun, then you should stop doing it.
Make sure you consider each other’s feelings and the reasons why you’re doing it in the first place. Chances are you’re both doing it for different reasons so take into account what you both want and if it would be working for both of you.
5. DON’T GET JEALOUS
Friends with Benefits relationships could mean that either of you are still dating or seeing other people.
Keep an open mind and remember that the dynamic is supposed to be lighthearted, not filled with jealousy.
The unfortunate truth is it is really common and normal to develop feelings of jealousy when it comes to this type of relationship. That’s because when you are physically intimate with someone, emotions will naturally happen.
But what this means is that you are likely developing romantic feelings for that person – eeeek!!! This means the ‘with benefits’ part doesn’t have the same meaning and it could be time to stop.
6. HAVE FUN EXPLORING
While a Friends with Benefits relationship needs to be based on respect for one another, you can still have a lot of fun exploring.
Use the relationship as a way to fulfil your true desires and fantasies, trying new things and exploring each other’s bodies. By some new lingerie or ask about introducing some porn or sex toys and enjoy the experience. So long as clear boundaries are in place, this can be the fun part.
7. DON’T EXPECT THAT THINGS CAN GO BACK TO THE WAY THEY WERE
If a Friends with Benefits relationship goes on for too long or if one of you develops feelings, chances are it will never go back to normal.
You’ve both shared very intimate experiences with each other so it’s almost guaranteed you’ll look at one another in a new light.
Make sure you’re aware of this going in, so you’re not upset or disappointed about it in the end. With a bit of luck, the experience could strengthen your friendship bond and afterwards you might be happy with the new friendship dynamic.
This article originally appeared on Body + Soul and was reproduced here with permission