It’s a relationship type that’s probably been around a lot longer than we might imagine but it’s only been in most recent decades that it was given a name that most recognize. Friends with benefits, or in its cruder form, f**k buddies, is a “relationship” where two people (whatever sex/sexual orientation) have sex without any of the usual relationship commitments. They aren’t partners in any sense of the word. On the face of it, it may seem just what you want. Sexual gratification and the fun it brings, without any of the hassle of having a boy/girlfriend. But where’s there’s goo, there’s usually bad:
Normal, healthy relationships are driven by mutual love, respect, common attitudes and interests, and genuine affection. Your friend with benefits relationship has none of that, or if it seems like it does, it’s pretty much something your imagination has concocted. This relationship of convenience is driven by nothing more than your desire to serve yourself and no one else. He simply must like you; you don’t have to like him back.
Although the relationship seems stable it’s actually quite fleeting, and some part of you knows this even if you don’t want to admit it. You are able to deceive yourself because the sex is always there whenever you want it, but some little nagging voice tells you not to believe in always, because you know deep down in your heart that the night will come when you call and there won’t be an answer.
You are mistaking the convenience and comfort of your arrangement for real feelings. They’re not. Just because you turn to him every time you’ve been drinking a little doesn’t mean there are any real feelings involved - it could just mean your guard is down, and you’re too lazy to really work for the real thing and keep falling back on the comfortable option. Comfort is not love, don’t confuse the two.
Even though your head knows this little arrangement is just a convenience, your heart wants what it wants and there’s not much you can do about it. Maybe you’re hoping they will see how great you are and fall in love, or maybe you just think you are supposed to want to be in love and are tricking yourself into believing you are.
Maybe this arrangement has tainted your view of love, or maybe you don’t think real love is out there or that you even deserve it. Shake your head and get all those marbles out - love is emotional intimacy as well as physical intimacy. If you accept that this is the best you can get then it probably is. You deserve more, go and get it.
Deep down inside, you know that you don’t owe this other person anything. It’s just an arrangement. Each of you is just a placeholder till the thing you want comes along. But you still think twice about going out with someone new, and feel a tinge of betrayal when the other person wants to go out with someone else.
It’s a risk you take when you start an arrangement like this. You spend time together, get to know one another, and maybe even start to grow on each other. Try to remember why you got into an arrangement like this with that person in the first place and why you saw them as only a friend and not a romantic partner; hopefully that will snap you out of it.
Yes, when you need your convenient hook up, he’s there and vice versa. But maintaining this arrangement still takes time. All that time you’re wasting on a sex life could be spent trying to meet someone you really connect with. You could actually be falling in love instead of settling!
You are content to some extent, but you have a feeling it could be better, but at the same time what you have isn’t all that bad. In reality, you’ve probably forgotten how it feels to be completely WOWed by sex with someone you have an emotional connection with.
The fact that you remain with your convenient arrangement means you are settling. These arrangements aren’t meant to be long term, they are meant to fill the gaps between relationships that are more meaningful. Don’t sell yourself short and accept that this is what you deserve for the long term, you deserve so much more.
Before, after, or sadly, even during sex, you are talking and some part of you realizes you just want this over with and want to go home. It’s not fun anymore. You realize you’re just settling and hate yourself for it, but you keep going back. And each time you do, your self esteem takes a knock.
This person you have your arrangement with is a placeholder until your next love comes along. They are distracting you from living in the moment and helping you accept a life in limbo. You aren’t meant to live forever in between loves; you are meant to live in the in the moment, ready to accept new love when it comes along.
Maybe you’re letting the other person in this arrangement think what you’ve got going on is something real or you’re allowing yourself to believe what you’ve got is more than what it is. No matter which way this is going, it’s a lie that you must stop telling yourself or the other person.
You already have a lot that you worry about, and this is just one more thing. You may worry about your job, the bills, your health, what you’re going to eat for lunch, or if you let the dog out, but don’t add the fact that you are stalling your own love life be one more source of anxiety.
Sure, the other person is there. But is that what you really need? Most people need sex but they need love more, and no matter how long you are enmeshed in this arrangement, convenience will never equal love.
It isn’t all negative. Friends with benefits arrangements can work if you need a temporary arrangement, haven’t time for a relationship or are between relationships. Just keep your eyes on the pitfalls.
Have you had or are in a friends with benefits situation?
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