In the world of modern dating, it seems like there are a plethora of ways to be involved with someone romantically without committing to a relationship: you can hook up exclusively, have a cuddle buddy, or have a friend with benefits. While many sexual interactions have the possibility of becoming something more, the friends with benefits status remains unique in the world of romance because the relationship doesn’t become anything more than just friends. Well, ideally, it doesn’t.
One of the main problems that comes with having a friend with benefits is that there is an attempt to remove one of the biggest aspects to sex: romance. Emotions are pushed aside, hardly considered in this type of relationship. I’ve seen some friends with benefits relationships play out, and every time they have ended with someone getting hurt due to emotional vulnerability.
One of my closest friends from home started her first year of college with a boyfriend, as she has always been someone who craves a constant closeness and intimate relationships. While she was adjusting to the college lifestyle, she began to get to know a guy who she ended up connecting with really well. After things with her boyfriend ended a week into school, my friend and her new guy friend started hanging out even more. One night, they hooked up.
My friend, always craving relationships, started to see this guy as a possible new flame, but her desires were stopped short when he brought up the idea of friends with benefits. He “really liked hanging out with her,” but the idea of being exclusive and taking their friendship to any sort of new level scared him.
My friend tried to go with it, but she was heartbroken. Every time he asked to hang out, she didn’t know if they would be studying and grabbing a meal, or ripping each other’s’ clothes off in her dorm room. Her emotions got to the best of her, and next thing she knew she began to stop spending time with her friend to the point where she wouldn’t even say hi to him so that she could protect herself and her emotions.
I’m not saying this is how every friends with benefit agreement ends up, but one of the common themes to most failed friends with benefits scenarios is emotional involvement. No matter how long you are friends with someone, friendships change once you hook up with them. You see each other in a more vulnerable setting. The minute someone falls for the other, the whole agreement is thrown away. The person seeking more will most likely be let down, and the person who didn’t want to take the relationship to the next level has lost the whole friendship.
So if you’re thinking about asking someone to be your friend with benefits, make sure you and your friend really prepare yourself and set guidelines. If either of you tend to get emotionally attached to partners easily, realize that you may be better off protecting yourselves and your friendship by just remaining friends because at the end of the day, no hookup is worth leaving your friend in the dust.