What are the Benefits and Drawbacks to ‘Friends with Benefits’
What are the Benefits and Drawbacks to
‘Friends with Benefits’
Friends with Benefits is a very broad term that can be defined in many different ways. Some of the most common definitions can include (but are not limited to):
- Two friends who decide to engage in sexual behaviors and maintain their friendship status.
- People who are dating exclusively, but both agree that the relationship will not end in marriage.
People who are ex-partners who decide to continue to interact intimately although they no longer consider themselves a “couple”
These perceived simple definitions regarding friends with benefits style of relationship are typically not that simple in most cases. While there can be an array of benefits, it is as important to be aware of the list of challenges. This knowledge can help identify whether your behaviors lean on the side of healthy and explorative or unhealthy and avoidant.
Based on a number of reports, these are some of the identified benefits to a “Friend with Benefits” relationship
- Openness — These relationships reportedly present people with an opportunity to engage in a healthy friendship and sexual relationship. Within these relationships, that initially spawned as friendships people report feeling the freedom to share ideas and thoughts with one another, engage in laughter and enjoy each other’s company. While the additional sexual component has the possibility of damaging the dynamic, people report that sex doesn’t have to damage their open and friendly dynamic. The opposite is reported, one “couple” reports that it provided them with an opportunity to explore their sexual preferences.
- An alternative to traditional Commitment — As the definition for ‘Friends with Benefits” is subjective so is the concept or beliefs surrounding how commitment is defined. Some “couples” report being committed to the preservation of their friendship. Other commit to maintaining a monogamous relationship sexually with the freedom to date others. Then there are other individuals who construct their own unique form of commitment based on rules they have determined.
On the other side of the spectrum are the reported challenges to “Friends with Benefits”. The most common reported challenge is honesty, particularly honesty surrounding feelings. Frequently people in these relationships experience fear and/or shame. In this relationship lifestyle, these emotions can result in the following:
- People really hoping that this relationship will evolve into a more traditional relationship with all of the perceived rights of a ‘boyfriend’ or ‘girlfriend.
- An inability to communicate the change in heart that sometimes occurs in relationships, i.e. one person begins to fall in love with the other.
- Feeling shameful for engaging in sexual behaviors with someone identified as a “friend” or for the lack of desire to engage in a traditional commitment.
- Experiencing fear regarding the friendship’s ability to withstand the theoretical strains of this type of engagement.
These are simply guidelines or ideas to consider before engaging in a “Friend with Benefit” relationship. To take this idea one step further and determine if it is it right for you…