To begin with, I have no moral high ground on friends being with benefits, but the recent number of times I have been counselling people who are in one, has made me explore this better. On the surface, it’s a fairly harmless arrangement, which tries to ease off the pressure in relationships – or this is what is assumed while beginning one. No complications, no answerability.
While, it’s understandable for the sexual part of a new friend with benefit relationship to fall into, but let’s look at the “friends” bit. We define a friend as someone we trust and who trusts us back, the relationship which is built on shared interests, experiences etc. Unless, it happens organically, an arrangement which is solely intended to be just a FBW from the begining in itself is misleading with a label that does not justify. Friendships take time to cultivate, and require emotional investment. While we may shy away from calling things black and white, thereby creating a sense of ambiguity, we’re soon heading towards a society that is comfortable in living in grey areas. Things that we know for what they are, but our fear of being tolerant or acceptance can be questioned, keeps us safe in the grey shadows.
While, greyness may work and even apply in certain aspects of life, but the lack of surety or living in uncertainty has started eroding into the relationships, causing serious damage.
The confusion that gets experienced in the ambiguity of trusting friends with whom a physical relationship is shared with, which has no direction, could leave you broken and emotionally messed up. We tend to underestimate the power our physical being has over our emotional. Our physical bodies have a memory. Whether you are hugging or kissing, there’s a chemical release which makes us bond or feel connected to that person. The mind could be telling a different story that this is just temporary, but your emotions and your body will tell you another.
Any relationship needs communication and a healthy respect for each other. Moving in and out of relationships which have no boundaries or no direction, tend you leave you exactly there – directionless and breed insecurity. You can be with each other one day and be free to sext or date anyone else tomorrow. There are no rules. Even if it’s at the cost of a benefit, you have to remember you are friends first, people whom you care for and are comfortable with. The worry lies in the fact, that such relationships can seldom turn into healthy ones. One of the partners may soon feel more and potentially feel strung along. They may just physically hold on to the relationship for the sake of it carrying on and start hoping the great sex may lead to a committed relationship.
It is rare, to find two emotionally secure individuals who are happy within themselves and not want more out of the other. They will understand boundaries…but then such individuals will seldom be in FWB situation. So you are back in the greyness and ambiguity which no one wants to define. Either, for the fear of losing what they have, or what potentially it could turn into.
Be brave, be accountable for your relationships. Let them be few. If you can’t bring yourself to commit, choose to be alone. Understand yourself better.. what you can give and what you can’t.
Options will always be there, choose wisely. Invest time and emotions in creating something wonderful. Having one foot out of the door – will always leave you there.