Can It Really Work? How To Have A Successful “Friends With Benefits” Relationship

December 19, 2012  |  
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Having a friend with benefits is one of the greatest perks of the modern age. You get all the physical and emotional health benefits of having regular sex, you keep your libido up between relationships, your self-esteem sky rockets, and you don’t have any of the emotional roller coasters of a real relationship. BUT, that’s only if you do things right. Here’s how:

Be honest about the relationship

The number one rule that must be followed or else the FWB relationship simply cannot exist is being honest about the fact that that’s what it is: a FWB relationship. Make sure nobody is secretly holding out until the other one falls in love. Make sure it’s understood that meeting the parents and trips to Ikea are not in the cards.

Set the boundaries

Every FWB relationship is different. Figure out what works for you. Do you have to hang out before having sex? Or are booty-calls acceptable? Do you hang out after? Do you spend the night at one another’s places? Set these boundaries in advance (even if it’s awkward) so that nobody ever feels cheated or disrespected.

Keep looking elsewhere!

So you don’t start accidentally looking to your FWB for boyfriend type behaviors, be sure you’re still on the prowl for a real relationship. Or, at the very least, for other guys to casually date.

Don’t do this with your best friend

Be real: when this thing ends (and it will end) you can’t have this guy that you used to have lots of sex with hanging around, when you get a real boyfriend. And you probably don’t want to hang around him when he gets a real girlfriend. The best plan is to have a FWB who is, honestly, a disposable friend. Because there will come a time to dispose of him.

Be ready for an expiration date

On the previous note, know that this thing has an expiration date. There will come a day when one of you meets someone else that you want to get serious with, or even just realize that if you don’t end things soon, you’ll feel like you’re in a long-term relationship. Know that the expiration date will probably come unexpectedly. One of you will just lose interest, or even blow the other one off. Don’t fight it. Know that it’s a part of the game.


Like him a little

Even though you’re not meant to fall in love, at the very least pick someone you have fun chatting with and throwing back some drinks with. A lot of the fun of a FWB is the sexual tension leading up to the actual act, and that comes from a little flirting and mental stimulation.

Do not prioritize him

Don’t start cancelling on friends or other plans to see your FWB. That’s when you immediately start having higher expectations for the relationship. Only meet up with your FWB when it’s convenient for the both of you. That’s what this is about: each of you getting someone out of it. Not about necessarily giving to the other person or compromising.

Don’t plan ahead

If you start planning your rendezvous a few days in advance, it will begin to feel like a real relationship. You’ll even have to say the words to your other friends, “Oh no sorry I can’t come out that night. I’m meeting up with insert name of FWB here” and then it will really feel like a relationship.” Keep your meet-up’s spontaneous. Give maybe a morning-of notice.

See each other infrequently

It’s difficult to get emotionally attached to someone if you only see him or her once or twice a week. Good. Keep it that way. If he’s around too much, he’ll inevitably learn too much about you and visa versa and you’ll become invested in each other. That is a mess you don’t want.


Have good sexual chemistry!

Otherwise what’s the point? You shouldn’t have to work that hard to enjoy sex with your FWB. The majority of the reason you’re doing this is for the sex, and for the big O. If he can’t provide that for you, you don’t owe him the courtesy of sticking around.


Release your inhibitions

This, if anywhere, is the place to get exactly what you want in bed. That’s why you’re doing it! Ask to play out your wildest fantasies, go through every page of the Kama sutra. This is a great, non-judgmental space to learn even more about your body and the body of a man. Have fun with that!

Don’t get mad

You can’t. He’s not your boyfriend. So, don’t get mad if he’s not listening to your story, or if he cancels on you at the last minute. He doesn’t have to always keep plans, or be a great listener in order to fulfill his duty as a great FWB. And if you start getting mad at him, you’ll start to feel more like a nagging girlfriend than a FWB to him.

Make sure you have no issues

Be sure you’re not carrying on this FWB relationship to make another guy jealous, or to avoid your pain about a breakup, or to ignore the fact that you’ve been single for a decade. If you’re doing this to avoid, ignore, or cover up a problem, that problem will only attack you tenfold when you feel guilty about dragging someone else into it.

Do wear condoms

Why complicate things? You don’t really want to ask him if he’s sleeping with anyone else, and he doesn’t really want to have to ask you that. So long as you’re safe, the other information is irrelevant.

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