Sunday, January 22, 2006

"Friends With Benefits"

About this Friends-with-Benefits situation... I know what the components are: friendship + fooling around. But I've never been able to understand it fully. Maybe I'm looking at things in black-and-white, but the way I see it, if you're attracted to someone, and you like their personality and want to hang out with them, why isn't that called--or why wouldn't you want it to be called--a relationship? Which of these elements is present in a relationship that is not present in a FWB scenario?
  • Trust
  • Attraction
  • Mutuality
  • Convenience
  • Understanding of the rules
  • Respect
  • Concern

I suppose if both people are equally invested in the casual nature of the relationship as FWBs, then it's fine. But how do you ensure that both of those people are on the exact same wavelength at the exact same time? And how do you prevent attachment?

Is such a relationship by definition limited in duration, until the whim of either party expires, or can it go on for years as long as both parties acquiesce? And again, absent the formal declaration of an agreement, does such a tacit arrangement constitute the very commitment the pair of FWBs are seeking to elude? One last question...is FWBs more generally acceptable in the college-age population? Can people in their thirties and forties engage in these kinds of relationships with impunity, or is there always ultimately a price to pay? I'm sure other people will have opinions on this. So I'm going to board a boat and let the sparks fly while I'm away...who knows? Maybe I'll even give you some guest bloggers...

61 comments:

Anonymous said...

Excuse me, are we allowed to use the term fuck-buddies here?

I mean, if you're going to hang out and have a form of physical relationship with a friend, why not commit entirely to one's instincts?

Not that I'm an expert at all, but my guess is, Esther, that sometimes a person may like someone in many ways but not in enough ways or at least not strongly enough to commit to that person. Why would someone do this? Well, it could be that one needs the physical part of the relationship. It could be that someone is very lonely and being intimate (to any degree) helps to quell the hunger for closeness to someone else. It could be that hormones are raging and the body's instincts are providing guidance. Etc., etc.

As to why with a friend? Because it's fairly safe. Then again, being with a friend who isn't prepared for this type of relationship or who seeks more, would probably ruin the friendship, I would guess.

:)

Drew_Kaplan said...

I pretty much agree with anonymous. As per your list, I also think the attraction may be lacking, or perhaps, for some, there may be other factors.
As to your age question, I think college is perhaps one of, if not the, best times for FWB, though I imagine high school and post-college to also be times for this, but I think after college, it's not as simple.

Caryn said...

Which of these elements is present in a relationship that is not present in a FWB scenario?
* Common goals. (If you know what you want in a relationship, and you know that person isn't looking for the same thing or that that person isn't it). And if neither is looking to be monogomous, then it won't stop the other from searching for that relationship.

But how do you ensure that both of those people are on the exact same wavelength at the exact same time?
* You talk about it.

And how do you prevent attachment?
* Is attachment bad? Having a bond probably makes it better. You can communicate better, be more honest, and the 'benefits' can be more meaningful if shared with someone you actually like.

Is such a relationship by definition limited in duration, until the whim of either party expires, or can it go on for years as long as both parties acquiesce?
* I think it can, yes.

And again, absent the formal declaration of an agreement, does such a tacit arrangement constitute the very commitment the pair of FWBs are seeking to elude?
* Maybe there is a declaration of an agreement. Maybe an FWB is a kind of relationship, and if it's one that both parties are looking for, then yeah, maybe it is a commitment to a relationship, even if it's not the kind of commitment that will lead to marriage, but it's quite possible both parties are OK with that.

One last question...is FWBs more generally acceptable in the college-age population?
* Yes, it is pretty widespread in college, but I don't think it has to be limited to that.

Can people in their thirties and forties engage in these kinds of relationships with impunity, or is there always ultimately a price to pay?
* I think if two people communicate well and trust one another and have a bunch of other compatible qualities, I think it can work out without major trauma. I've seen it happen more than once. I've also seen it fall apart, so I'm not sure what the secret is.

Caryn said...

[Posted my other comment before I came to work and was thinking about it on the train here.] Post-college, I also think it takes a good amount of maturity, self-knowledge, as well as an ability to be very honest with oneself to make something like this work. And that honesty might lead one to decide something like this isn't right right for them and won't work. Very interesting topic, Esther.

annabel lee said...

Interesting topic. I tried the FWB thing for about 30 seconds (okay, a few weeks) but ended the benefits just before a second date with a guy who seemed to have some potential.

I think the whole concept comes about when two people are compatible enough to be friends, but not compatible enough to be much more than that. It was a weird thing, at least for me, and I don't know if I'd go back to it or not.

Anonymous said...

I think an FWB relationship can come in when you are attracted to a person physically but know that there are major obstacles emotionally or mentally between the two of you that would cause the relationship to never blossom beyond a casual friendship. If there is awareness that the relationship is going nowhere beyond the FWB phase, and there are no other significant relationships that the two people in question are involved with, then the FWB comfort can be, if not completely fulfilling, at least some kind of amelioration for loneliness. It's sad that we need it at times, but does serve a purpose.

Jennifer said...

"If you're attracted to someone, and you like their personality and want to hang out with them, why isn't that called--or why wouldn't you want it to be called--a relationship?"

Because at least one of you is not in love and wanting the other one on a long-term basis. That's what it boils down to.

"But how do you ensure that both of those people are on the exact same wavelength at the exact same time?"

You can't, really. You might both start on the same wavelength, but things can and do change.

"And how do you prevent attachment?"

Damned if I know. Continue to date others (whether or not you sleep with them), only spend time with that person when you want sex, don't "get to know them" too well, don't treat them as your psuedo-boyfriend- all of that may or may not work.

Unfortunately, a fair number of people do get attached, either because they end up liking the person a lot more than they had or thought they would, or they're one of those people who gets too attached just from having sex, etc. Which is why FB'ing can be a hard thing to maintain.

"Is such a relationship by definition limited in duration, until the whim of either party expires, or can it go on for years as long as both parties acquiesce?"

Yes and yes.

"And again, absent the formal declaration of an agreement, does such a tacit arrangement constitute the very commitment the pair of FWBs are seeking to elude?"

I don't think so. The commitment they want to elude is love, so...

"One last question...is FWBs more generally acceptable in the college-age population? Can people in their thirties and forties engage in these kinds of relationships with impunity, or is there always ultimately a price to pay?"

Don't know, exactly, on the college kids thing. In my area, people either have a one-night hookup or are official boyfriend/girlfriend, with no middle ground. I doubt it would be acceptable here to have an FB, somehow. (Don't ask me why.) The people I've known who did have FB's were in their 30's.

I do think, however, that there is always a price to pay. If you treat someone as a boyfriend in some way- as a fuckbuddy, or a constant companion that you are sexually attracted to but not boinking yet, or whatever, for a long enough time... most of the time, feelings are going to happen.

I desperately wish I could have an FB relationship, especially since my life is too ugly and messy right now to bring an Official Boyfriend into the mix. But, alas, I will get too attached and fuck it up, so I have to completely abstain.

Rachel said...

I really don't think it is possible for there to be no emotions from either side. Regardless, there is like a "dog peeing on a hydrant" effect that I always notice, and you tend to have one or the other getting possessive. It is a nice thought, though, to think that you could have a nice, string-free relationship that quells any needs...

Chutzpah said...

Often it comes down to somone wanting to have their cake and eat it too, and the other person wanting to be eaten.

When you are the person having who wants the cake and to eat it as well, it's great. But, when you are the person who wants to be eaten and the other person makes it clear that he or she will eat you but you are not the cake he or she wants to have permanently, it's hurtful.

Sorry if that made no sense,I'm having sugar withdrawal from my new year's resolution/pre-college reunion diet.

Chutzpah said...

Oh, and as per usual... the sexual inuendo was clearly intended.

Chutzpah said...

Hypothetically speaking: here are two scenerios to illustrate that 1) old people (out of college) like sex and 2)how the elements of mutuality and common goals are key.

Situation 1: x is a 39 year old woman getting her swirl on with a 24 year old guy. X and guy both clearly understand that they have nothing in common except the mutual desire to have sex. This goes on for two years during which time they become friends and develop trust and communication, on a superficial level, but they keep the understanding that they are not dating and they rarely do anything together outside the bedroom. They don't "talk" like friends do.

Situation 2. X is a 39 year old woman who adores a 36 year old guy who she has a tons in common with. However, 36 year old guy has no desire to ever get to know someone else's children and barely even wants to have one of his own someday. He digs X and doesn't want to hurt her, but she has three little pieces of baggage he doesn't want to handle. He comes around on an infrequent basis to laugh, sing, dance, eat, watch tv, have sex, talk etc. Doing fun things outside the apartment remind him that they really connect on other levels, so he avoids this. This goes on for two years during which time they each send each other a million mixed messages; try a couple of different forms of open relationship vs. monogamy; and finally cease talking when the infrequency of sex causes her to accuse him of being gay when most probably he isn't, he just doesn't want to hurt her by having her get used to him being around on a regular and reliable basis; or, he possibly he might really be bicurious, bisexual or confused and doesn't want to fess-up. She will never know. It could be a combination of factors.

Situation 1 is fuck-buddies. Situation 2 is a fucked-up dysfunctional failed romance. Now where's the cake???

Chutzpah said...

or maybe 36 year old guy just thinks X is fat and wants a thin younger chick.

now x is in the mood for ice cream.

Chutzpah said...

blogging while under the influence of NyQuil should be a misdemeanor, but it's less of a transgression than IMing.

Passionate Life said...

FWB makes a statement about yourself. You just don't really care about the other person as a human being. This is about your own selfish needs and you disguise it by rationalizing, "well the other person is getting something out of it as well." Nope, you are just using the other person for self gratification. Call it what you like. You are not doing it for anybody else's benefit, this is about YOUR pleasure. Be honest. Calling a horse a car does not make it so.

If you use someone like that, I think the last thing you should be called is a "friend." True friends don't use friends for their own selfish purposes.

Caryn said...

Passionate Life, how do you figure? While I agree that two people who are only using one another for sex are not real friends, that isn't the picture that Esther has painted. She's describing a scenario where two friends have respect, trust, care and understanding between them (aka "care about the other person as a human being"), as well as sex. Why would the sex categorially negate all of the friendship elements of the relationship?

Passionate Life said...

Caryn,

Because if you were a true friend and really cared about the other person you would not have meaningless sex with him or her. Sex is not a harmless transaction. There is a reason that human beings have such a strong need for connection and love.

Take a look at this excerpt from an article on the subject:

"I had talked to hundreds of single women in their 20s and 30s for a book, and most expressed a profound and ineffable sadness about the discrepancy in what they wanted to believe about sexual opportunities available to them, and what they actually found to be real. One disillusioned woman told me bluntly: "Junk sex is no better than junk food.''

My interviews coincided with the publication of The Cosmo Report -- a compilation of experiences of women who had been encouraged by Cosmopolitan magazine to believe that for hip, with-it women, good sexual experiences were possible without even a glance toward love. More than a 106,000 women who answered a questionnaire said they were lonely and depressed and felt they had bought the rewards of the sexual revolution at an exorbitant price."

http://www.jewishworldreview.com/cols/fields053100.asp

Here is some of my thoughts on the subject from an old post of mine:

"I have always believed that physical contact between a man and a woman creates an intrinsic sense of hope for the woman in particular. Regardless if the man and woman have a discussion that their relationship is not serious; the physical contact causes the woman to start feeling that, “Maybe he will love me.”

When you kiss someone, touch them tenderly, or more – you are saying something very powerful. You are sending a very strong message without words. You are sending the message that, I care for you, I think your special, I can see your uniqueness, I value your heart and soul, and I love you. This message is an eternal one. That physical contact is saying that you are so valued and loved; it has no expiration or time limit. Regardless of any words spoken between you to the contrary, that physical contact is creating a willingness to be vulnerable and give completely of yourself because you want and believe the message that the physical contact is sending to every nerve ending in your body.

That is why when a physical relationship ends there is such devastation and crushed feelings particularly for women. The unspoken promise has been shattered. The powerful loving eternal message has been a big fat lie. No wonder it creates so much pain and devastation."

A TRUE friend would not hurt you in such a way. Even if it means giving up on his own selfish desires, he would look out for you first. That is a true friend.

Caryn said...

Thanks for responding, Passionate Life, but I think, again, you're making the logical fallacy of begging the question. You're assuming the sex doesn't mean anything, and Esther is positing that it does to a degree because these two people care about one another. Again, I agree that meaningless sex isn't a very compassionate or friendly route, and it's not healthy for people who are looking for deeper and more meaningful connections, emotional and physical. But Friends With Benefits lies in a gray area, where two people do care about one another, and that's what makes this so interesting, because it isn't as black and white as you make it to be. (Of course, we could go back and forth like this for a long time because I think you and I probably have very different views of sex and relationships.)

Passionate Life said...

Caryn,

You are saying that because there is more of a "relationship" then it will hurt less when you see this FWB who you care about sleeping with someone else?

Lets say there are three degrees of "relationships."

1. - One night stand with a stranger.

2. FWB - A friend who you "care" about and you are having a sexual relationship with.

3. Boyfriend/girlfriend or spouse relationship.

My understanding is that you are talking about #2. That is the scenario I was referring to. I am saying that intimacy builds the physical message you are telling your lover. Regardless of what the oral agreement was (temporary nature), emotionally the physical intimacy is saying something else. (permanent nature, that is built into our yearning for love and security).

That is why it hurts when you see your FWB sleeping with another person. It will feel like a breakup when she or he starts dating another and stops seeing you. Its human nature.

I know we would all like to believe that FWB can work, it would be very convenient. But wishing doesnt make it so.

Treifalicious said...

I lean closer to Passionate Life on this one - FWB can ONLY and I mean ONLY work if both parties at the same time don't really care about each other. Or more accurately, there is a very shallow level of caring on the part of both parties.

I have learned from some experience, self relflection and observation that I can ONLY tolerate someone I am seeping with dating, let alone sleeping with, someone else IF AND ONLY IF I don't really give a shit about the person. If I really care about the person and they are someone I could remotely consider being with long term I get very jealous possessive. Moreover, I have seen men do it as well. They want it to be a FWB, but when he finds out that you are also sharing your "benefits" with some other guy he isn't so happy now is he?

And what would that say to you if a guy you were sleeping with knew you were sleeping with someone else and was "OK with it"? Would you look askance at him? I think that I would think less of the first man in that situation, which would then dampen my desire to sleep with him.

Everyone wants exclusivity from the other person while retaining the freedom to screw around with others for themselves. It's basic selfishness that exists in all human beings, part of looking out for one's own interests. The end of selfishness and looking out for ones own interests first like that is the beginning of love.

Caryn said...

I see the points you are both making, and they are valid. I don't agree, most likely because of my overwhelmingly positive experiences with FWB (which, despite what you say, have been full of warmth, caring and friendship, and neither jealousy nor exclusivity; nonmonogamy is something I embrace). I recognize that my experience is probably uncommon -- but obviously not impossible. This has been a nice discussion. Cheers!

Datingmaster, Jerusalem said...

this is about sex
you've been around long enough
the famous line: men use love to get sex,women use sex to get love

the proof: after the wedding cake, women offer very little sex
come over to my site and find out all about it

Nice Jewish Guy said...

What an interesting topic. Esther will have quite a time wading through all these comments when she gets back! (Any personal insights, there, Est?)

I agree with both Passionate and Treifalicious here, reluctantly. I have had a couple of 'relationships' on both ends of the spectrum. The first was with a friend who cared for me (which I really believe), but who was not in love with me, though she claimed she wished she could be. I never understood that. I couldn't understand how caring + liking + sex didin't equal love. It didn't make any sense to me, and it hurt. Yes, she had been clear that the physical relationship was occuring in a state of "unreality", and that that what we had was not to be called love, but that was semantics. So, yes, I got attached. I was probably heading that way anyway. And the whole circumstances of the relationship were not ideal for love as well, but that's beyond the scope of this comment.

The second was a situation where I hooked up with a casual friend (more of an acquaintance, really)..also circumstantially more detailed than for this post, but it happenned. The diference here was while we had a connection and chemistry, and I cared for her as a person, it was sort of superficial. I didn't know her deeply or for a long time; we hadn't had lengthy, deep conversations, or even been out on a date. We were not on the same religious level (ironically!). In short, I wasn't emotionally invested in her as I was with the prior example. So seeing her with another guy wouldn't hurt me hardly as much as it did with #1. And that is why, at least so far, while I have considered pursuing that second relationship further, if for no other reason than sex, I have not. Because I know that down that path most likely waits hurt, confusion, and angst.

As the first relationship was winding down, and I was struggling to understand why it was, why the equation of caring + shared values + friendship + lust did not produce love, I was told something that struck me as very profound, and that is: love is not the sum of its parts. And now I can see that unfortunately, it is true. Will it stop us from pursuing FWBs? Likely not. Human nature, and our powerful sexual urges being what they are, this will be something that will always be an issue.

And I agree to a large extent with DatingMaster's opinion: that men use love to get sex and women use sex to get love (or affection and closeness, to a degree, some of the time.) If only we could find a happy medium..

Needsabetterjob said...

For the male, bec. of the ease of available sex, this makes them less eager to tie themselves down to the marriage level.

The sex, clouds their ability to love, to go beyond, their boyish feelings of horniness.

I would reccomend that women should go back to the era where love and sex went hand in hand. I cannot say that you should not have physical contact if there are mutual feelings and plans for engagement and marriage, that is something personal between the 2 of you.

Of course, this is may not work for all women, but I am speaking in a traditonal Jewish context.

I think we would all be better off as a society to be more dignified about these matters.

It is something intensely american to be so open and emotional about personal matters. Europeans, Asians, etc.. are much more private on this, less likely to have causal sex, sex w/ out the intense and deep feeling of love and friendship, and I prefer their approach.

Nice Jewish Guy said...

Needsabetterjob,

I'm not saying I disagree with your main point (nor am I saying I completely agree), but... are you kidding? Europeans and Asians less likely to have casual sex? What planet do you live on? Have you heard of Paris? Thailand? Malaysia? Have you heard of the sex clubs in Japan, Hong Kong, and China? The nude and topless beaches in Nice?

Don't assume that the Europeans are any more chaste than Americans. If anything, they are less so.

Caryn said...

Nice Jewish Guy, I was thinking the same thing. I think Americans are more uptight about sex than many other countries ... which is ironic because it also seems to be more talked-about here than other places. Guess we here in the U.S. just don't know how to mind our own business? :P

Needsabetterjob said...

Those places you mentioned are for tourists, Thailand yes I know about the buying of young women by fat westerners.

Just because people sit nude on a beach does not mean that they are then hooking up in the bushes w/ someone they just met on the beach...

Our society and culture is too emotive as oposed to the others I mentioned. We pour our hearts out w/ people we hardly know at all.

Ask any English person if you don't beleive me.

annabel lee said...

Just for the record, FWB does not always mean sex. The friends involved may choose to draw boundaries for exactly the reasons that some other commenters here have mentioned...

Treifalicious said...

The thing about "traditional family values" that so manypeople seem to go back to is that evidence (from talking to some older p[eople about themselves and their parents, etc) that back in the day, a LOT of people married in order to get laid. It is said that religious men look forward to marriage for exactly this reason.

That or you had people getting married ONLY and SOLELY because teh woman fell pregnant (the proverbial shotgun marriage that follows fooling around in the cornfield at night). It seems that people, both men and women, were less happy then.

Think about the last shallow relationship you had with someone that was mostly about sex. Imagine you were shackled to them for teh rest of your life. How likely would you be to stick it out for the sake of the kids? The very kids whose arrival that got you into the miserable marriage to begin with.

Not to mention that marriages like this often derailed many dreams and professional ambitions.

Frustration like this is why the '60s happened. The only real problem is that people haven't changed as much or as quickly as they thought they would have back then. I suppose this would be bound to happen when social change is spearheaded mostly be peopel under 30 who had not seen as much of life and its realities yet.

For all the nostalgia about teh "good old days" people try to feed you, there is a major dark side that your elders are likely not hnecessarily telling you about and you should be glad to not experience it.

Nice Jewish Guy said...

Needsabeterjob,

You are so wrong. Caryn, you are right on. In European and other countries, sex is much less a "big deal" than it is in America. We talk about it more because there are still remnants of Puritan taboos about it, which just makes it more titillating. But just watch TV in the UK and see what goes on during commercials, never mind shows. The British are uptight about many things, but sex isn't one of them. And don't even get started on the French. Where do you think the term French Kissing came from?

If you need further convincing, look at HIV infection rates. Read this from the WHO's web site, from two years ago yet.

<<"Europe and Central Asia are at the centre of the fastest-growing HIV epidemic in the world. There is no time to waste - European Ministers must urgently scale up and roll out effective HIV prevention and treatment programmes," said Dr Peter Piot, UNAIDS Executive Director. “Given that the EU will form the biggest trading bloc in the world, covering more than 500 million people, it is in the EU’s best interest to prevent the AIDS epidemic from crippling Europe’s social and economic development.”

Over 1.5 million people are living with HIV in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, compared to only 30,000 in 1995. Young people, who make up 40% of the population in the region, account for the majority of HIV infections among injecting drug users. A large number of them also engage in unsafe sex, increasing the risk of HIV. There is also evidence that people are having sex at a much younger age without protection. The percentage of people reporting premarital sexual relations more than doubled between 1993 and 1999, from 9% to 22%. Only 10% of girls in Tajikistan have ever heard of HIV/AIDS.>>

That was just an excerpt. Page at:

http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2004/pr14/en/index.html

I don't know why Needsabetterjob feels like he needs to believe that Americans are so much more prurient than our European counterparts. But it just ain't so.

Treifaliciuos is also correct that a lot of people got married just to get laid. I believe that this still holds true within the frum community, where people are urged to marry very young and with little or no experience. The difference here is that the taboos against divorce are still stronger in the frum world than outside of it, which may account for the (IMO spurious) lower divorce rates in the frum community.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Treifalicious that the FWB scenario can work (probably for a long while, though maybe not forever) if you care only shallowly about each other.

Here is a scenario: the never-married bachelor guy, well over 40, who will clearly never marry but still wants some sex. For him, the FWB situation is ideal, and certainly even preferable to any further commitment. And for a woman with no better alternative -- well, it could last for a while, as long as she continues to have no better alternative.

Bilwick said...

I'm glad to hear that the concept of "Friends With Benefits" is catching on. I sometimes jokingly say that I invented it under another name: "incestuous friendship." I'm a single male Baby Boomer who got in on the Swinging Seventies just as the era was about to end, and always felt gypped that by the time I overcame much of my shyness with the opposite sex, they started settling down and getting monogamous. There used to be a joke in the Seventies that when a woman told a man, "I couldn't go to bed with you--you're more like a brother to me," the man would come back with, "Well--how about a little incest?" Hence, my term, "incestuous friendship." If I didn't really pioneer it, I'm sort of an expert in it, because it seems to be more my milieu (or would it be "forte"?) than the romantic relationship. I'm not proud of that; it's just the way it is. Women are hardwired for romantic relationships leading to cohabitation and/or marriage, and I'm too much of a loner for that. However, the incestuous friendships, or Friendships With Benefits, that I have had, have generally worked out pretty well for all concerned. As a woman I knew, who specialized in FWBs (or as she called them "relationships of convenience"), once advised me, when I asked her what was her key to the successful ROC, "It isn't so much 'what' as 'who.'" That is, it takes the right people to enter into the incestuous friendship and have it work out to their mutual benefit without recriminations and false expectations. In my case, I have discovered that the friendship part has deepened with the "incest" part, increasing the intimacy of the friendship. As for "how do you avoid a deeper romantic entanglement?" I've never particularly tried to avoid it. The friends I've been "incestuous" with have largely been women I just never would fall in love with, but if I did, that would be okay. I have had occasion where at least one FWB did find herself falling in love with me, and the feeling was not mutual; but she readjusted her expectations of the relationship, and the sex and the friendship have both never been better. I can't say my experiences have been typical--I'm an "atypical" person on many levels, and so my expierences seem to follow suit--but I offer them for whatever interest or worth they may have.

Caryn said...

Interesting perspective, Bilwick. But the overuse of the term "incestuous" to describe it doesn't sit well with me at all. Ick.

Bilwick said...

Sorry for the "ick" factor, Caryn. I'm merely using the vocabularly I invented and gotten used to. Had the term "FWB" been around circa 1980 I'd probably be using that more often. Apparently the "i" word conveys images of guys in wifebeaters violating their young daughters. I guess being at heart a Romantic I have more of the 19th Century Byron-Shelley reaction to the word. I also have the feeling that some of the older women who have been my FWBs did have some incest fantasies that were being exercised in their sexual relations with me; one of them as much admitted that having me as a "lover" was like having a nice young nephew, only one she could shtup without moral or legal consequences or penalties. We all have our kinks.

Anonymous said...

Actually I think the "friends" in FB is a misnomer. This is just someone with whom you have mutually satisfying sex--it's not awful that you don't care what they do the rest of the time, because the feeling is mutual. It's literally just about getting your freak on, booty call, etc. That's a friend the way a bartender or supermarket cashier is a "friend"--any conversation is just there to make the transaction more pleasant.

I also personally feel that the ideal FB arrangement is analogous to the ideal communism. Human nature just doesn't follow that pattern and most if not all attempts will inevitably lead to hurt and conflict.

Bilwick said...

Anon: Be not so quick to judge relationships you're not part of, and the participants in which you do now know. There may indeed be Friendships With Benefits where there is no true friendship, but that has not been the case with my FWBs, and not perceiving myself a demigod I have to assume there are at least some other FWBs where the friendship is also genuine. Unless you have some mystical power to get inside people's heads and read the thoughts feelings of not only every FWBs you've observed, but also every FWBs in the world, you are generalizing with insufficient data. There may be more valid types of relationships than are dreamt of in your philosophy. "Human nature," which you freely generalize about, individualizes itself as distinct, separate individuals, not all of whom want to, can or should be in marriage or "serious" relationships. (Personally, I'm serious about all my relationships, even the casual ones. Ponder that you should, young Anonymous.) Some of us would like to be in such a relationship, but haven't found the right match. Others, like myself, may have higher-than-average solitude requirements or other factors that make marriage or even cohabitation-sans-clergy ill-advised. For these people, the FWB would seem like a positive and life-enhancing alternative to random, "Mr. Goodbar" type couplings.

Autumn said...

Yikes, looks like everyone has their own idea of what FWB is. My opinion is that not that many "actual" friends have sexual relations, if so, it's probably a drunken one night stand and forgotten about it later.

I think most FWB are found online or through bars, I imagine. Either one of the two (more than likely the male) didn't want a relationship, so the woman settles for a FWB thing. She realizes he'll never change and moves on after a couple of months, and probably never tries FWB again.

It probably could happen the other way around to though. But most men don't get attached in my experience.

Or.. sometimes we're just really busy in our own lives that we want someone on the sidelines who they can go to for a little nooky and maybe a meal (I like to call it my pretend world) and then you go back to "reality" aka your busy life for a while until you're ready for your FWB.

I'm in San Francisco... it happens everywhere! Most people I know have had a FWB.

It's not for everyone though. Just like not everyone likes vanilla ice cream.... so don't be hatin'. :)

BurtB said...

most of the Frum folks I know (between the ages of 18-30) who are looking to get married, are looking for a family, more than sex. Sex is viewed as nice, but not necessary to a full life. (The idea of going a month or three without an orgasm does not phase them.)
These folks are really into self purification, and for guys, it is an opportunity to stop getting distracted by "Girls". (Guys will always have an urge to look. Frum guys just see "the urge" as a flaw, like not putting dirty socks in the hamper is a flaw)
They also see a marriage as two people who are trying to create a Jewish home, and that shared purpose can make it a lot easier to go on 2-3 dates with there being no expectation of any physical contact, and then deciding, "this might be a good marriage".
While I have apocryphal data to suggest that there are usually about 8-10 "dates" before the marriage, 90% of the Frum daters actually make a decision to go on the 3rd date (where "deep topics" are discussed, like, religious commitment, child rearing approaches, money handling approaches, conflict resolution approaches. etc...)
based on, "will this date lead to marriage". Since most of these men do not see sex outside of marriage as an option, and Divorce is still considered a tragedy, they take the choice seriously, but they are less likely to be lead by their hormones, because marriage means much more than sex to them.

That said, I believe that men have an easier time than women (in general) ignoring the emotional component of a sexual act.

Bilwick said...

A book some of you might find interesting (if you can somehow dig up a copy at a yard-sale or second-hand bookstore) is BRIEF ENCOUNTERS: HOW TO MAKE THE MOST OF RELATIONSHIPS THAT MAY NOT LAST FOREVER, by Emily Coleman and Betty Edwards (Anchor Books, 1980). It was written before the term "Friends With Benefits" was invented, but touches on the FWB type relationship. I haven't read it in twenty years, so I can't give it my imprimatur, but when I did read it I recall liking it a lot. It's sort of period piece, released just before herpes and the predicted hetero-AIDS plague put the kibosh on the Swinging Seventies, and the Boomer kids decided en masse to get corporate jobs, marry, and raise kids in the suburbs. It even has a blurb from the authors of OPEN MARRIAGE. In a previous post I wrote that I take all my relationships seriously, even the casual ones; and that, in general, is the authors' outlook. The chapter on "Elevating 'Second-Class' Relationships" would, if I recall aright, be worth the buck or whatever you'd spend for it on a yardsale.

ptwelve said...

I note a theme here: FWB is not ideal; it is something you settle for or engage in as a last resort -- or you (ahem) "readjust your expectations" -- because it is so hard to get the relationship you really want.

It reminds me of adopting a baby as a single parent. You make the best of your situation; you take what you can get; half a loaf is better than none.

Jeru Guru said...

You can talk all you want on the theory of FWB but it doesn't work like that in real life.

In addition, each FWB scenario is different from each other.

Speaking from experience I can tell you that FWB's situtions just evolve.

Intangible factors which no-one have any control over such as timing play a massive role.

You could write 100,000 words on the topic and still not cover it adequately.

Anonymous said...

I am in a FWB situation now with an amazing man I met on the Internet. At the time, I contacted him with a view to becoming his FWB purely because of his looks and image. It sounds horrile but as I judged him back then, I thought that I would never want anything more with a man like him - the playboy type, that is.

Since the day I contacted him, we have chatted on a daily basis: - we share our pasts, we share our problems, we support each other (he called me for 2 hours, then we chatted for a another 2 more online afterwards), AND we have fantastic sex.

So, it begs to be asked: why aren't we in a commited relationship? Well...I can honestly say that it would suit us both not to have one. For me, it's because prior to actively seeking this guy out as a FWB, I had just endured a horrible break up and wanted some release - so I'm still not so interested in getting involved in another serious relationship. For my FWB, he has professional exams to pass these next several months.

In short, I think we both messed up. We judged each other purely by looks and assumed at the time that nothing would come from this. We saw it as a nice release in our lives...a convenience. I certainly did not think that I would develop feelings for this guy; he likewise. Over Christmas I met another guy who was on vacation who I had a quick fling with. I told my FWB this and he got very emotional about it. He even had to think it over as he also was surprised by his own reaction. He has been very sexually active in his past and is experienced with having FWB's whereas I am not.

So to reiterate, I think he and I are in an odd situation now because we clearly stated in the beginning that we did not want X,Y or Z because of A, B and C....and now I feel as though I have royally shot myself in the foot! Of course I have a mouth. I can talk to him. I can do the typical female thing and confront him, that is to ask him where we are going..blah blah - yeah and risk losing everything. Part of me thinks that I should continue the way I am going now and get to know him better in the process. I am reluctant to shift things up a gear. Conversely, I am afraid that he will use his freedom to meet someone better and I will be ousted by another woman. Of course that will make me feel like hell and not so different to the millions of women who invest their time, emotions and energy in a man hoping for something, yet are told in the end that it meant nothing.

I am not so sure how to proceed. It sounds corny but I have never met anyone so promising. I am aware that , as it has been pointed out above, that he may be using 'love' or pretending to forge this loving, mushy environment for sex but I just don't have that feeling. My woman's intuition doesn't go off the chart.

Any advice, opinions, abuse welcome, haha. Have a nice day! :)

Anonymous said...

well what caryn said isnt all true. its SO big in high school. esp. with my friends. i mean trust me not all relationships need that commitment because you just get tied down and it brigns everything to a halt. we are just kids so why not have a FWB i mean it makes perfect sence right? well it does suck cause in the end you do get hurt even though you think your not going to. not all of it is about sex either. not all FWB are for the sex. sometimes, well most of the time with us teens, we just want someone to hook up with and basicly everything before intercorse. with that being that way, sometimes you feel like your "cheating" on the guy/girl our with when your with someone else even though your not suppose to. plus, with this concept the real reason isnt because you dont want to be tied down. most of the time its just because that person got hurt very bad and they are just scared. its that plain and simple.

the key thing is if you want this is to not get attached and if you do DONT let it show!

ganjalanj said...

I have had numerous FWB situations in the past. Mostly because I have been busy getting through college and traveling overseas. To date, I have one FWB situation that has gone on for three years and I am perfectly fine with it. It's with a guy that lives in a different state and whom I see maybe three times a year. We talk and text through our cell phones almost every week, if not just to say hi, but also to trade stories and laugh. Most recently he has confided in me about a very bad breakup he had with his girlfriend of two years (which he cheated on with me....a drunken night and yes, I felt horrible). But my scenario goes to show that you can be close friends with your FWB as long as you understand the situation. #1 - we live in different states....even though we get along, have many similarities in background and interests, what would be the point of having a relationship with someone who lives so far away? #2 - I am able to come around his family and friends with out any awkwardness. They are great people and treat me with respect, even though he and I have had FWB situation. #3 - We can talk about our current relationships without getting jealous. We both have vented to each other about current relationships with others. Acceptance is the key to making it work. Do I wonder if this could be more? Of course I do! But I also remember where I am in life...and where he is in life, and if it's meant to be, it will happen in due time! :-)

Anonymous said...

I find FWB works fine for me. This is something I have tried in the past and more recently. In the past I did it once with an friend. got drunk one night and it led to FWB until we mutually drifted apart.

Now I am 47 and my current FWB is 37. Same rules apply, we get together to have sex, do a little socializing and he leaves. It's been going on for about three months now, the sex is great, he is eager to please me in bed, we talk about what we want to try and just do it. It works for me. I have always had bad luck with traditional relationships. The thing to remember is that you both remember what kind of a relationship you are in and that you expect nothing out of it.

Anonymous said...

Well I've been in a FWB relationship for almost 4 months now (well sort of). Although I'm not sure it started out like that. I worked with this man for almost 2 years before I pretty much confessed to him that I had feelings for him and basically asked if he felt the same. He was shocked and said he did have some feelings but obviously the sitution was very complicated. This is not a black and white situation though, I was and still am married with a young child. I hadn't been in love with my husband for some time now and somehow from spending so much time with this man at work I had developed feelings for him. Although I didn't have feelings for him in the usual way. He is EXTREMELY introverted and I believe has some schizoid characteristics (not to be confused with schizophenia, VERY different). This man has MAJOR social issues and very little people skills. I guess I kind of felt sorry for him and he is VERY physcially attractive to me. So hot and sexy in a geekish kind of way, but he has no idea he is good looking. I couldn't figure out for awhile why he had never really had a serious relationship at the age of almost 30. To make a long story short I propositioned him, I asked him if he wanted to be a distraction to my loveless marriage and because he didn't ever get offers like that and was significantly lonely he agreed. Boy was I stupid at first, I fell for him hard, left my husband and I tried to put us in a serious relationship right off the bat after we started sleeping together, he kind of went along with it at first but then it started to freak him out when I asked where we were going. This man is VERY independant and very much a loner with very little friends and is strangely not even close with his family. Major intimacy issues too I suspect. I confessed to him how I felt and he basically dumped me, telling me he didn't love me and didn't think we had the deep emotional connection he suspected he would have with "the one". We had some slide backs where we had sex then it got weird and then back to normal again as friends (we worked together closely we had to let some stuff go). I am in the midst of a separation now, been separated almost 4 months and for reasons I can't really get into I need to move on and get over my stbx husband, so I propositioned him again, at first he said no that he didn't think I could handle the seperation of friends and sex and that I'd get too involved again but I professed I would not.
He basically said he needs/want/has to be alone alot and if I can't handle that then it would never work in any fashion. I have the self control to not go where I went before with him (verbally anyways). I've also been in a serious realtionship for about 17 years acutally, and I'm not sure how NOT to be in one. Anyways my point is, although I've had to adjust my expectations with him and my needy behaviour, it's still very exciting and the sex is amazing. I care for this man very deeply and I believe in the only way this man can he cares for me alot too. He does refer to me as his best/only friend. I believe his intimacy issues as well as people anxiety etc will only allow him to be a FWB sitution, because he is WAY too independant for a relationship, it would never work for him, he'd feel smothered, and he has an incredibly hard time with getting close to people and trusting them. I don't think I ever want a serious relationship again, mostly because I lose myself and I lost out on things I wanted to do in life and I don't think I'll make that mistake again or if I do ever get into another serious relationship it will still be "seperate" so to speak. I think if both parties are ok with the situation it can work, but I worry that I will slide back to my feelings with him, although he is good at keeping his distance and trying to not allow that to happen. I don't know what I'm trying to say here really, it does feel good to write it all down though. It's very possible he is just worried I am the last woman to come along and he doesn't want to end up alone and maybe thinks this is better than nothing and wants to keep my in his back pocket just in case cause he doesn't want to settle at this point and why should he? But I feel like this man will at minimum get me over my stbx-husband and if that's all he is then well it wasn't meant to be, if it does turn to something else and he falls for me and tells me (if that's possible for him), then great it might be something amazing, but if not, the sex is the best I've ever had in my whole life and how can I regret that? :)

Libertine said...

To answer your questions whether those in their forties can do the friends with benefits thing, the answer is yes.

I'm in my late 40s and I've been doing it my whole life. Presently I have one primary lover, and seven other regular/semi regular lovers who are friends with benefits. I have no interest in marriage or monogamy and these type of arrangements have always worked out well for me.

Anonymous said...

I'm in my 50's and FWB situations were called in the 70's,60's and 80's "open relationships"

Same thing, same problems.

I haven't found much in these posts to address a big unspoken part of this scenario.

I as a liberated woman used to be into "open relationships" and felt all we had to do was be honest.

But heck, one thing life teaches you is that its hard enough to be honest with yourself , never mind add being honest with a partner or EVEN harder, ensuring that your partner/s make it mutual.

"Theres more to Heaven and Earth than is dreamed of in your philosophy"...

I think the socialization that encourages committment and honesty had evolved for good reason...and I expect while I am sexually intimate with someone for them to agree that we are mutually exclusive for the duration, and if he wants to end the exlusivity, he needs to be honest with me, though I am realistic enough to expect that I will "find out" rather than be told.

One way I don't ever want to "find out" is by having so much as a yeast infection, which is awful for some women, and rarely effects men. But a woman get real mad if she goes to her doctor, finds out her little problem won't go away until her partner takes medicine to clear up the infection as well because they are passing it back and forth... can you see where this is going to fall apart?

Some very excellent reasons for monogomy and commitment:

Bacterial Vaginosis
Chlamydia
Cytomegalovirus (CMV)
Genital Warts
Gonorrhea
Hepatitis A, B, C
Herpes
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
Human Papilloma Virus
Molluscum Contagiosum
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)
Pubic Lice
Scabies
Syphilis
Trichomoniasis
Urinary Tract Infections

Fact: Condoms REDUCE the risk for most STD - not PREVENT.

Fact: over 70 percent of Americans have some form of Herpes.

Fact: Many carriers of Venerial Herpes do not have symptoms but can still transmit the disease.

Fact: The only DEFINITIVE test for Venereal Herpes is if a person has active sores in the genital area and the doctor can take a biopsy of the tissue. There is a blood test, but many doctors don't like to rely on the test because it can give false positive and false negative results.


Fact: Many Herpes carriers mistakenly believe that they cannot transmit their infections if they do not have sores. WRONG.
For more info go to:

http://www.plannedparenthood.org
/pp2/portal/files/portal/
medicalinfo/sexualhealth



10 Guidelines for Sex Partners

Have each other's consent.

Never use pressure to get consent.

Be honest with each other.

Treat each other as equals.

Be attentive to each other's pleasure.

Protect each other against physical and emotional harm.

Guard against unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infection.

Be clear with each other about what you want to do and don't want to do.

Respect each other's limits.

Accept responsibility for your actions.


Most of us have more than one sex partner during our lives. We may not plan it that way, but it happens. We may also get an infection from one partner and carry it to another. The partners who gave it to us:

may not have known they had an infection

may have hoped they wouldn't pass the infection to us

may not have been totally honest about their sexual history

Most women who get HIV from having sex thought they were their sex partners' only sex partner.

You and your sex partner may want to give up safer sex because you've decided to have sex with no one else. Before you do, be sure that neither of you has an infection. Some infections, like HIV, may take years to develop symptoms. You may not even know they are there. Visit your local Planned Parenthood center or health care provider to get yourself checked out for sexually transmitted infections.

"I always hoped that someday I'd be able to share my life and enjoy sex with only one special partner. In the meantime, I insisted on safer sex with the partners I had. Now that I've found my partner for life, I'm really glad I played it safe."
— a 27-year-old African-American man


Trust

Many of us know how it feels to discover that a sex partner has been dishonest with us.More than one out of three people will lie about their feelings to have sex with someone else. A similar number will lie about their sexual history. The same number will lie about whether or not they have HIV!


When it comes to safer sex, rely on yourself. Believing you are your sex partner's only partner will not make it true. Think it over.

Do I know how my partner spends time away from me?

Is my partner always open about everything with me?

Does my partner get upset if I want to have a "serious" talk about our relationship?

Does my partner keep secrets from me?

Does my partner ever say, "I'm just going out" or "It's none of your business"?

Is my partner always respectful of me?


We all want partners we can trust. The key is to make sure that our partners earn our trust. We should never just give it away.

"Whether or not my partners have HIV isn't important. I know it's up to me to protect myself. I don't take anyone's word for it until we've been through an awful lot together, and even then, I'm careful. They have to be careful, too, or they get no loving from me." — a 25-year-old white woman

How Infections Get Passed Along

Not all sexually transmitted infections are transmitted the same way. Here are the basics about how infections can be passed through sex play:

UNPROTECTED VAGINAL
OR ANAL INTERCOURSE
— HIGH RISK FOR


trichomoniasis

gonorrhea

chlamydia

syphilis

chancroid

pubic lice

scabies

hepatitis B virus (HBV)

cytomegalovirus (CMV)

human papilloma viruses (HPVs)

some HPVs can cause genital warts

some can cause cancer
herpes simplex virus (HSV)

can cause oral and genital herpes
human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)

can cause AIDS

UNPROTECTED ORAL SEX
— HIGH RISK FOR:

gonorrhea

syphilis

HSV

HBV

CMV

SEX PLAY WITHOUT INTERCOURSE — RISK FOR


HSV

CMV

HPV

pubic lice

scabies

Lots of other infections, from the flu to mononucleosis, can also be transmitted during sex play.

Unprotected vaginal and anal intercourse carry the highest risks for the most dangerous sexually transmitted infections.

Lower-risk sex play includes


masturbation

mutual masturbation

erotic massage

body rubbing

cybersex

kissing

deep kissing

oral sex

vaginal intercourse with a latex or female condom

anal intercourse with a latex or female condom

"I got hepatitis B years ago. I'm still a carrier and can't drink wine anymore. These days there's a vaccine so no one has to get this disease."
— a 52-year-old white man

If You Are a Woman...

In general, a woman's risk of infection is higher than a man's. The vagina and rectum are more easily infected than the penis. A woman's chance of being infected by a man with HIV is twice as great as a man's chance of being infected by a woman with HIV.

Women generally have fewer symptoms than men. You are less likely to know if you are infected. Lots of damage can be done — even if you have no symptoms.

Many women develop pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) because they don't know they are infected with chlamydia or gonorrhea. PID increases the risk of sterility and ectopic pregnancy, especially if untreated.


If You Are a Man...

Sexually transmitted infections do not only affect women. You can also have an infection and not know it. And if an infection is left untreated, it can cause damage.

For example, chlamydia can spread from the urethra to the testicles and cause sterility.

If untreated, chlamydia infections in the testicles can cause reactive arthritis, which can lead to permanent disability.

This is a REAL BIGGIE! Tell your doctor! They don't test for some things unless you raise their concern by YOUR honesy!
When You Have a Checkup...

Don't assume you're getting tested for sexually transmitted infections. You need to ask your clinician to do it. Otherwise, it probably won't happen.

"Everybody is different. Everyone has to decide what risks they are prepared to take — then decide what to do."
— a 26-year-old African-American woman

Anonymous said...

Well, I'll make this plain and simple as far as I go. I have been after a girl for 2 years, nothing, she has been with 6 other guys more than 1 time each, and I just gave up, and I'm moving on, and my good friend who also is moving on from her love, well basically we brought up sex talked about it alot, and realized we had alot in common sexually, as well as in a normal good friendship, so we just have fun when we want to help relieve stress and when we need some time to talk with someone about your problems. so I dont think its a normal "hook up" but its definetly as friends and sex is involved, and obviously protection, of course...

SugarBrat said...

Googling "friends with benefits" tonight found me this site and I've got to tell you that I've thoroughly enjoyed the read this discussion has given me!

It's a very interesting topic to say the least, isn't it!

As a single 44 yr. old woman (for approx. 6 yrs now) I have had a few FWB's experiences. Having said that, I can tell you too that I've sat on both sides of this fence as it relates to the debate.

It goes without saying (I think) that complete honesty and respect of the terms both parties agree upon is crucial! Both parties (I think) should be reading from the same page at all times or someone DOES get hurt. I think it's inevitable if you're sleeping with someone you happen to like.

Given my children, I have been extremely selective in who I bed down with. This is my third FBW experience. My *verbal agreement*(s) have always been that if/when feelings develop it's time to sever the ties. In all 3 of my experiences feelings have developed, someone IS hurt.

Chutzpah wrote: "Often it comes down to somone wanting to have their cake and eat it too, and the other person wanting to be eaten."

THAT particular comment jumped off the page to these eyes! Perhaps it was Chutz's pun intended, I don't know. :)

I met a man 4 months ago and we had an instant (mutual) attraction to one another. Upfront we both shared that neither of us were looking for a relationship (he was just out one of 2 yrs.) I however did tell him that IF a "relationship" were to develop, as a result of this arrangement I was prepared to deal with it in stride and not baulk. Though not looking for a relationship, I was (for the first time in a long time) open to the idea of one. Perfect, I remember thinking because - I DON'T FALL for people! :)

Anyways, upon meeting it was clear that we both deemed the other a suitable *friend with benefits*.

Two days later, taste testing! (Why buy the case without sampling the wine has been my philosopy!) .... We clicked! First personally and then sexually speaking now too! This could be great, I thought!

My reason for having googled the subject tonight?

I didn't think that spending as much time talking, (in and out of the bedroom) getting to know this FWB as well as is now the case would be a bad thing.

I didn't think a FWB was supposed to adore the others children.

I didn't think that the children of the two people involved in this FWB thing were supposed to be so fond of the others.

I didn't think a FWB was supposed to be someone kissed goodnight at the end of *most days* and, certainly a FWB isn't someone to wake up next to, roll over and kiss good morning, most mornings.

I didn't think that I would *fall* - but I have, and I have told him so. He, on the other hand, likes to remind me that I wasn't supposed to fall for him - and he's right, I wasn't!

My FWB admits to having very deep feelings for me yet maintains he doesn't want a relationship. I have made the decision not to "date" even though my FWB urges me to. My FWB tells me he's going to date and I encourage that.

I don't quite understand the logic in *dating* when one spends as much time with another but a *friend with benefits* is NOT someone you *date* is it!

A FWB is just that - a friend, with benefits (sexual!)

We continue to see one another (too much time to be defined as a FWB, but that's just my take on it!)

We haven't severed our ties and our moments of intimacy (which there are many) continue to bring us closer (I think) given the complete respect and natural, effortless rapport.

If he wants a cake to eat too? I'm more than happy to be that cake! I love him, and I don't need whatever it is we have going on here to be "defined" .. I am just happy to have it.

GREAT discussion people ..

Cheers!

Oh and P.S. --> Another thing that I've learned is that this will most DEFINITELY be my last *friend with benefits* arrangement, regardless of this ones outcome! :)

vesna said...

I was googling for "friends with benefits" and I found this web site very interesting and very useful. Why was I googling on this subject? Because I am in a FWB situation and I am kind of desperate. I actually fell for him and I don't know what to do. First of all, I am 31, I am Italian (I moved to US 2 years ago). When I was in Italy and married, I had several FWB situations, with the difference that there was no friendship, it was mere physical usage and it worked just fine (this just to respond to that person who talks about Europe without knowing anything about Europe).

What really confused me when coming here was the friends part. I started sleeping with this guy about one year ago. I didn't even know his name, I was still married so I clearly told him I didn't want anything but sex. He accepted and for about one week we had hot steamy sex with no questions.

Then he started asking me questions about my life, my work, he talked about hs dreams, his life, his family, we had conversations for hours while I was cooking for him after sex. We became really close friends. And that kind of confused me as to what he wanted because I was used to having lovers whose name I didn't even want to know and lasted no more than a month.

After 2 months I decided to get a divorce from my husband, and he was close to me during the entire time. After I finally separated, he started acting strange, telling me he was always so guilty after seeing me, but he kept coming back. He has been coming back for one year and still is. we tried to be just friends because he was feeling bad, but it never worked, the physical attraction and the chemistry were just too strong.

Interesting enough, he has been actively looking for some girl to date all this time, dating a couple of times, never pursuing them and coming back to me all the times after 2 dates with them and no sex.

I developed feelings, strong feelings, because I really like him, we have deep conversations, I am very attracted to him as he is to me, he is perfect for me, I truly love him, uncoditionally, like I never loved before. I developed feelings because he started the friendship and I found out how much I liked him. He tells me how much he likes me, how great a person I am and how much he loves me as a friend.

When I told him I was developing feelings, he freaked out. I didn't tell him openly, I did it in the Italian way, so I could still have space to retreat and change the play, but he freaked out and he told me he is not on love with me and will never be. He told me he knows when he is in love, and it never clicked with me. He wants to date other women to find "the one".

That hurt so badly, in my mind I could only think: why is he seeking other girls to date and doesn't try to date me and to have a relationship with me? Why I can see over the fact that we started as sex buddies and he cannot? Why does he keep me in the corner of FWB thinking there is "the one" waiting for him while all he does is coming back to me?

After reading all the stories on this website I lost my hopes that he could actually wake up and see his true feelings and see that we are made for each other. Because I was probably a fool to begin with, totally confused by the friendship which was developing, thinking that meant something. I didn't know the term FWB before coming to US, in Italy either you are committed to each other, or you sleep with each other and are lovers, there is no such concept of FWB, and very rarely guys and girls develop a close friendship because one of them falls for the other.

People are lovers and strictly sleep together when they are married to somebody else and unhappy. Otherwise they at least pretend there is a committment, guys act romantic to get sex, just to cheat the minute later, and girls like fools believe them. There is no such thing like honesty and telling each other we are just sleeping together but we are also good friends, and there is no relationship or committment.

I am so confused and so in love and so hurt, I don't know what to do. If anybody is reading this and considering wheter doing FWB, I say don't do it. Strictly lovers or strictly friends. If you are a lover you are not a friend, you don't care and you don't want the other person to care. If you are a friend you don't sleep with him/her.

Can any american guy help me shed some light on his behavior? I can't let him go and he keeps coming back, I am afraid to lose him if I tell him I want something more, but at the same time I can't go on any longer pretending everything is cool just to have some of his time for me.

What is this guy doing to me? Just using me? Why does he say he love me and cares and keeps coming back when I beg him to end it and please leave me alone? Why doesn't he consider me as "dating material"?

Help help help

Anonymous said...

I am currently in a successful FWB situation and before this, didn't believe it could be done without complication.

My FWB was someone I had dated briefly and while we enjoyed and still enjoy each other's company and have a very close friendship, a relationship was hard to maintain because he travels a lot, and we clash personality wise in alot of areas. But we are sexually attracted to each other and we enjoy talking, laughing, going out places together, we have a true bonified friendship........with benefits.

The understanding is that we each are free to date other people and we communicate with each other so that we are both clear as to where we stand. So, in other words, I know who he's dating, he knows who I date. If either of us decides to get serious with someone else (this hasn't happened yet but we've only had this arrangement for about a year)we will talk about it and decide whether the physical part of our friendship should come to an end. But regardless, we will always remain friends because we don't allow anything to complicate our friendship (or our FWB) We did have a situation occur where I needed a place to stay for a little while until my apartment was ready and he invited me to stay in his home. After about 2 weeks, we did have to back off physically because the living under the same roof and carrying on our situation was making it feel too much like a committed relationship and he said he was beginning to feel things that he wasn't supposed to feel per our arrangement.

This arrangement works for me because I'm familiar with this person, he knows what I like and takes care of me physically, but other than the emotions I would invest for any of my good friends, I don't have to invest anything more. I don't have to front, I can be me all the way and it's all good. And the same with him. He doesn't have to impress me or go out of his way and I'm cool. So as long as we don't spend too much time together, it works. It works because we have a great deal of respect for each other.

Anonymous said...

Friends with benefits is something that I experienced twice. The first time was a disaster because I was so scared to loose my friend and beyond forplay things were not so hot. I was much younger then in my twenties. Now in my late thirties I tried this out again and it has been difficult. It was with a new friend and though it did not go all the way which is ok, it was amazing. The problem is that this person is a few hours away and connected to best friends of mine. I did not know if I should tell them or not and then the question came up for me - what is next? I guess that question is not supposed to come up but it was so incredibly nice that I have had a hard time thinking about the posibility of it never happening again. I would love to do it again and then some. However I seemed to without trying maybe implied reference to calling or not calling even when I did not mean to. Hence I introduced the drama when I did not want to. It is just very differant for me. What do you do then? This is confusing.

fay said...

I was told in a relationship of friends with benefits recently by a guy who I though as a boyfriend and went out with for more than two months. We meet twice or three times one week to hang out for movies,karooke,resturant,bar,park,(sometime no-sex).He almost told me everything of himself, his ex-lovelife, his family and his job and intoduced me to his good friends.we keep in touch everyday,even the day we donot meet, he emails me several times.
But he never say love me and miss me, and i asked him why. he told we are friends with benifits.
I am sad for that. I wanna change the situation. What should I do ? or should i never meet him anymore?

Anonymous said...

I find it very interesting everyone opinion on this. My situation is unique, I am sure. PLease help me on this one. My family and my ex-bestfriends family were very close. We have been friends for 5 years. We have traveled together, camped and etc..
My Husband basically ran off with my best friend. Leaving me, my 4 kids and she left her husband and 2 kids. I have divorced now after 2 years. They meaning my ex husband, and my exfriend are still together. My friendship with her husband remained through all of this. We are still great friends. HE has custody of his kids, I have custody of mine. We spend time together and enjoy each others company very much. We sssupported each other through everything. We have dinners out, Go out together shopping and just being great friends. I consider him my best friend. Yet we crossed the line, and called each other friends with perks. or as you say FWB's. We both ownly want to be friends and don't want attachments. But have disscussed whats happening here? We don't and can't say. I know now I am falling in Love with him. WWe can't talk about it. He is affraid and says he won't fall in love. I think he may be too. I just don't know where to go with this and how to apprach it. I love being with him and we get along great. Our kids would not be happy though. Or would they? HElp me please.. Ruthie

Brittany said...

I looked up commitment a couple of places and I see that it can be defined as 'the act of pledging or engaging oneself.' Now, why is that people make the idea of engaging themselves in another person something that is negative and so very hard and inconvenient to do?

I think that when commitment is working in the best possible way, what you are supposed to have is a friend with benefits--a friend who you can be yourself around and will always be there for you, plus the 'benefits.'

That is what I understand marriage, for example, to be; the person you marry is your friend, someone you can be yourself with, just relax and enjoy lots of sex with.

And by committing, both parties state this to be the case, simply making it a fact--no guessing involved.

People make commitment out to be so hard, when it really isn't. It's just like the way people told me my cushy office job was hard and I believed them--I made myself hurt in the course of making myself think the job was harder than it is.
It's made my acclimation to the job unnecessarily stressful--which I think is exactly what is going on with relationships today. People are making it harder than it is, because they are THINKING it's harder than it really is. Now mind you, commitment is work, just like my job is work, but it's not as hard as people make it out to be. People appear to have some sort of coupling instinct; it's not rocket science.

So my question now is why would someone not commit, if they want a friend, with benefits?

Brittany said...

I guess what I want to know is, why is attachment and commitment viewed as something to be avoided, or why is it considered inconvenient?

Anonymous said...

i think fwb is the greatest thing ever i mean you dont have to woory about no arguments or nothing thats why i prefer to have one main fwb

Anonymous said...

So, I want to know what do you do when the guy your with does all the things that a boyfriend does, but doesn't want the label? He textes you sweet thing and speaks to you every day and you go out all the time. but he says he's a friend that has your back then he says love smells like you. what is that all about????? Help

Anonymous said...

Scenario Number 1: Girl & Guy = Great Friendship which turns into FWB. Now both are attached...what happens next?
It was strictly outlined that both parties would not be romantically attached to one another.
How young is too young to have a friend with benefits? 16?

Anonymous said...

If you want a better understand of friends with benefits, heres a real life one:
I was sixteen and it was my third day at my after school part time job. I knew this cute boy worked there, but I didn't know much about him. During the following months, we spent most of our days after school working together and talking a lot, and I secretly liked him. We talked on the phone as well, when we we weren't in school. Over the holiday break, he went away for a week and I realized how much I missed him when he was gone, but I was very scared to tell him because every relationship I have been through was horrible. When I finally did tell him, I found out he liked me too. The only problem was he was scared of getting into a relationship too....
We've been in this "Friends with Benefits" for 7 months now...
And I do want a relationship but Im scared.. and I know he's scared of relationships too because his prior relationships hurt him too...

I'm guessing, people get into these "FWB" situations because they are scared to get really involved with the person, but they like them a lot and don't want them to go, and it's nice knowing no matter what that you have someone there, who does care about you, without having to put a lot of work and having that chance of getting hurt like you do in relationships..

Anonymous said...

FWB is great until someone needs to leave the relationship. By the very nature of the agreement, this is something to be expected but it doesn't make it hurt any less.

I agree that women get emotionally hammered worse than men because of how we're wired. If we're sleeping with a guy for several months or years, we're going to have feelings for the guy ESPECIALLY if there's friendship, lots of deep conversations and sharing, spooning and sweet touching involved. No way around that unless you can emotionally detach and deny all the hormones and chemicals the female brain produces to get you to want to stick around a while. Logic and emotion rarely sync up.

I had to end connection with my FWB man of 2.5 years because his ex-gf moved back in town to work things out. I didn't realize how attached I'd become to him until he chose to leave me behind to work things out with her. We were off and on over the 2.5 years we've known each other depending on our relationship status but had grown exceptionally close over the past 7months after he broke up with his gf because she had to move away to another state for work.

Our FWB started out feeling casual and comfortable when we started things up again but as the intimacy and time spent together grew, so did our feelings. The ex must have sensed he was fading away because she came back in a hurry to reclaim him. I'm sure she didn't know he was with someone but sensed it.

He wants to stay friends but because of how close I'd become and the feelings I have, there was no way I could commit to being friends. It's just too hard for me right now. Maybe much further down the road but not now.

When we met I wasn't ready for a more serious relationship because I was recovering from my divorce. It's been 4 years since my marriage ended and I think I must be ready for more since I was open to it with my FWB.

I have to heal from this relationship,figure out what I want and look for someone who wants a more comitted relationship.

I think FWB's have a place and I wouldn't trade the experience but they can be painful too if someone starts to want more than the other can give. I learned from this and won't seek out another FWB.