Friends with Benefits: Can It Really Work?

Many people consider having FWB because they are single and time-poor, or maybe they’ve just come out of a long relationship and aren’t ready for commitment. Most people need a timeout after a long-term relationship before they start dating again or before they feel the need to enter into another serious relationship.

We believe that FWB relationships can work, but only under the following circumstances.

  1. Honesty is vital. Both parties must be honest with each other regarding what they want and expect from the arrangement.
  1. Communication must be ongoing. At some stage of any FBW relationship things can change. Passionate connections can grow and there’s a strong chance that over time either or both of you will want more from the relationship. So it’s important that ongoing communication regarding how each party feels is necessary.
  1. Rules and boundaries must be defined. Rules and boundaries should be defined in the very beginning to avoid future complications, especially since the absence of issues is often the main attraction for initially entering into a FWB relationship.
  1. Always practice safe sex. If the two of you agree that you won’t be sexually exclusive with each other, you need to practice sex safe to decrease the risk of contracting a sexually transmitted infection.
  1. Be aware of the risks. While there are numerous risks associated with a FWB arrangement, the two most prominent ones would be that things won’t work out and you’ll ruin a great friendship and/or one of you will begin to have deeper feeling for the other and will get hurt when the relationship stalls at the FWB status.
  1. Acknowledge FWB relationships typically don’t last very long. When entering into this type of relationship, you’ll probably both agree that having casual sex with a trusted friend just couldn’t get any better. But over time things usually change as one may develop feelings for the other or find someone else that they want to be with. 
  1. Be aware that jealousy may become an issue. It’s human nature for someone to experience jealousy if their partner – FWB or otherwise – is either dating or having sex with someone else. Even if you’ve decided upfront that the prospect of sharing your ‘friend’ may not be entirely acceptable, it’s a necessary conversation to have.
  1. Don’t do it with a coworker. When the FWB relationship ends, there is typically some awkwardness, which means that you won’t be able to work together. In the unlikely event that the FWB arrangement progresses into a committed relationship, this can also be complicated if you’re coworkers.
  1. Only consider a FWB relationship with someone you typically wouldn’t fall in love with. While this should be the general rule of thumb, it doesn’t always work. In the best-case scenario, you need to be physically attracted to have sex with them. So it’s theoretically a fine line between the person you might consider for a FWB vs. a committed relationship.
  1. Explore your sexual horizons. Some couples in a committed relationship have a problem sharing their sexual fantasies due to fear of judgment or embarrassment. A FWB arrangement is a great way for both you and your FWB to explore taboo topics and experience the fantasies that you wouldn’t otherwise consider with a partner.

Friends with benefits can work, although it’s not for everyone and there’s certainly potential for complications to arise. So if you think you’ve got what it takes, go for it!