Friends With Benefits. Is it for you? When I was newly divorced and re-entered the dating scene I didn’t know what the phrase “friends with benefits” meant. I was dating a man 17 years older than me and was rather flattered he wanted to wine and dine me. I had been married since I was 24 years old for 9 years and dated my first husband for 7 years prior to that at 15 1/2 so I was quite inexperienced. I thought because I dated this fellow several times a month I was in a relationship with him. I would brag to my co-workers that we were dating and our relationship was going very well. Then an office mate asked how often we see each other and what we do when we go out. I said about 3 – 4 times a month. She retorted I wasn’t in a relationship that we were just hooking up for sex. She then added we were “friends with benefits.” I was confused then later shocked and annoyed by the realization that that was exactly what we were. We had lovely dinners that ended up at his place for exciting sex and that was about it. Phone calls during the week asking how my day was going were non-existent and he never planned the next date in advance. When I brought this to his attention he said he liked allot of sex and wanted the freedom to be with other people to have that. That special feeling of being the only one was zapped like a flash. I was hurt and angry but knew I wasn’t going to change the circumstances. I stayed in that relationship on and off while dating other people for about 2 years. I learned what I needed to learn about myself and relationships. I don’t regret it as it contributed to my evolving into the person I am today. I believe he would be 73 years old today. That seems really old, however, he was a fit and very handsome older Gent back then. My experience with that relationship enables me to help individuals in similar situations make decisions about whether to be in a relationship that includes being friends with benefits.
If you choose to maintain a Friends With Benefits kind of relationship the following are some helpful tips to keep your emotional well being in check:
1. Think about whether or not this is really what you want – If you decide you want to try and see if this is something that would work for you then implement tips 2 – 5.
2. Develop Rules – Set some rules so expectations are in place for understanding about boundaries and limits regarding how often you see each other, what dates look like, is seeing other people allowed, etc.
3. Communicate – Keep discussions open to continually expressing thoughts and feelings so both of you know what is going on with each other during good and challenging times. Knowing how to dialogue about issues is a key to any relationship going the distance.
4. Beware you might develop feelings – Even if you are into this just for the sex keep in mind when there is physical touch…kissing, stroking, massaging, and intercourse, Oxytocin develops in the brain and feelings start to develop and an emotional connection can be misconstrued for something other than what you initially started out to avoid. Oxytocin develops for both men and women so it’s just not women who start to fall for their partner after sex.
5. Always practice safe sex – For obvious reasons. Friends with Benefits tend not to want to commit so they typically have other partners. It’s very important to protect yourself from the STDs that can spread.
Friends with benefits can offer freedom and fun while it lasts. Who doesn’t want to indulge in that. Be mindful you can become emotionally involved if you are not seeing and socializing with other people. Having an exclusive relationship with a Friends with Benefits partner can be dangerous for you as you can develop love feelings for someone who isn’t interested in the same.
For more information on dating and the pros and cons of dating Friends with Benefits please contact me at (858) 735-1139.