"Friends With Benefits" – A Myth, A Rarity, or A Matter of Luck?

Posted by Delaine - March 18, 2009 - Dating & Sex, From the Dating Trenches - 18 Comments

friends-with-benefitsWhen my best friend Hali and I found ourselves newly separated and back out in the dating trenches, we kept hearing the term “Friends With Benefits.”   We both liked the sound of it and decided it was something we wanted.  After all, we weren’t ready for serious, but we wanted to have sex.  Thus a sexual ‘friendship’ verses a love relationship seemed the perfect alternative.

But to this day, such an arrangement has been elusive.  And Hali maintains that FwB is a ‘myth’.  This is what we’ve discovered:

1) one person can end up more emotionally invested in the relationship than the other and wants ‘more’

2) no matter how open minded people proclaim themselves to be, they have a hard time knowing that the other person is still actively dating and potentially having sex with someone else

4) the ‘rules of play’ are grey and ambiguous – is she supposed to wait until he calls her?  Or vice versa?  Or is it open-ended?  And at what time of day/night does it apply?  And how many times can he/she says “I’m busy”, (which is rejection) , before the other person feels disrespected and bows out?

5) the ‘friendship’ part is underdeveloped.  Can they watch movies together or go out for dinner too?  Or is it strictly sexual and only to transpire at one person’s house?  What are the boundaries for sharing other aspects of their lives: work, family, love/sex, interests, dreams etc.?

I’m not so sure I’d go so far as to say the FwB arrangement is a ‘myth’ like Hali does.  Cause I’ve heard men say they’ve had it.   I guess I should have asked them more questions about it – dug a bit deeper and found out what it really looked and felt like.   Cause maybe a level of communication is required in order for it to be fulfilling.  Or there again, maybe a level of DETACHMENT predominates the arrangement, and the word “friend’ needs new definition.

(Written, Year Two post-divorce)