Friends with benefits changes dynamic of friendship

by Ricky V. Gillam

These days, no one is really 100 percent single. Everyone wants to have multiple options and doors open when it comes to dating.
People seem to have one or more potential suitors they entertain. They may not be sexually intimate with all of these them, but they have interest in keeping them around. There is usually one person someone trusts enough to assist in their physical needs.
Typically, this person does not have a title of boyfriend or girlfriend; often the relationship is summed up as being friends with benefits (FWB). What does that mean? Often there is ambiguity in that term. Is it truly possible to have this type of relationship with someone and not develop deeper feelings?
In my personal experience, it seems as though one of the two usually ends up becoming more emotionally attached than the other person.
Some have referred to this occurrence as “catching feelings.” There are fundamental difference in comparison of two acquaintances hooking up, versus two platonic friends becoming intimate.
With acquaintances you have less at stake, and nothing really invested. Feelings were not there from the start to begin with. With a person who is an actual friend, you have to be prepared for the whole dynamic of your friendship to become compromised. You take a risk in doing this.
It’s a common misconception the woman is the one who becomes emotionally invested more often than her male counterpart becomes.
The man is given a bad rep in these situations because he is perceived as using the woman for sex, or leading her on to think he wants more than just sex is.
This is not often the case. True, men are the hunters and pursuers, but woman have the power in a romantic relationship.
She holds the key to and ultimately decides whether FWB is a go or if any kind of sex is will be had in most instances.
Women usually set the precedence and terms regarding the structure of the FWB relationship. Which includes giving the green light on whether the sexual connection takes place or not.
Ideally, things should go smooth for the duration of the FWB relationship… however that rarely, if ever happens. After this “situationship” is in place her expectations try to creep up, and more demands are made by her. This alone could make things awkward, especially if the guy is not ready to concede to any of the initial demands, but he may feel pressured and even somewhat betrayed due to terms of the “no strings attached” agreement seemingly being breached.
Blurred lines are inevitable when other forms of intimacy or acts of endearment are exchanged or displayed, such as spending the night, going out to social functions together, or really just doing stuff that couples would do without being an actual couple.
All relationships should be mutually beneficial and mutually rewarding.
I wonder if the term friends with benefits could even be an actual thing. A more accurate phrase would be long term fling, or curious friends. I try not to practice that type of dating, but unfortunately it seems like this is what the majority of dating has become. If you do find yourself in a FWB relationship, I implore you to keep the lines of communication open and expectations clear from the start. This could potentially limit misunderstandings and/or conflict. It seems as though no one wants to relinquish the power or give the title of exclusivity in a relationship these days. As for myself I have lived, loved, lost and learned, and I still consider the ideal partner for me as someone that is my lover as well as my best friend. I am still optimistic, and perhaps even a hopeless romantic, but it is something I’d like to think is on the horizon. As far as FWB is concerned, if you choose to participate in this type of non-relationship be sure to have realistic expectations and make them transparent, and most importantly do not forget to have fun in the process. Good luck!

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