Are you into casual sex but not into touching strangers? Does your career sap all your energy for dating? Is your “we’re just friends” friend kinda cute? Maybe it’s time you tried out a friends with benefits relationship. The no fluff nature of being FWB can be amazing — or it can become the new reason you’re seeing a therapist if done incorrectly. Here’s the definitive guide to successfully navigate a FWB affair.
Your friendship should stay the primary relationship to properly succeed as a FWB. Friends don’t buy each other bouquets of flowers but they do cat sit while you’re away. Keep the romance limited and just be naked friends.
Be Upfront about It
“It’s important to have a clear understanding by both individuals,” says my friend Kyle. You both have to acknowledge the casual nature of this relationship which may mean making a flow chart of what you both expect and want.
Skip the Subtext
If one of you has feelings or develops them, this isn’t going to work. If that is the case with you or you think it might be the case with your feel-good friend, you need to address it, like friends do. This rule goes for naked time too.
Consider This a Field Trip
This is your opportunity to experiment and discuss sex with a person you already trust, so take advantage of that and get feedback on contraception, kinks, emotional boundaries, and anything you might want to experiment with.
Keep it Breezy
The most successful FWB are typically when there’s no pressure or obligation of fidelity. “Jealousy cannot be a part of it and be honest if you develop feelings,” says one of my guy friends who’s had a high rate of successful FWB relationships.
A no pressure relationship doesn’t mean you get to be rude. Standing someone up or not responding to texts will make any person, friend or more, annoyed. “Though you may never fall for them, you must stay respectful,” says my single friend Kyle.
Pick a Non-Best Friend
The benefit to this kind of relationship is that you already trust them, but picking a best friend can get sticky quickly. If you picture a potential FWB in your wedding party, then casual isn’t in your wheelhouse. Go for the friend who you won’t think about daily and who’s opinion on your life matters on a surface level. They’ll be perfect!
Adult sleepovers are great, and morning-after brunch is the best meal of the week, but that’s about the max amount of time you should spend at your FWB’s house. All-weekend benders aren’t casual.
Keep It Quiet
Being public about your FWB can illicit way too many opinions from mutual friends. This is a behind closed doors, need-to-know basis kind of fling. If you need to analyze the FWB situation, maybe it’s not for you — but you can tell your best friend of course.
Be Willing to Walk Away
Rule of thumb: three consecutive “not tonight” texts and it’s over. No drama and no break up malarky! Because you’re friends you can still see each other but inevitably your liaison will become a pleasant memory. And that’s okay.