Relationships are fun and all, but sometimes simply having a friend you can hook up with and then go back to your independent lifestyle is just a better option. But keeping a friends with benefits relationship strictly casual can be tricky, and you need to reevaluate it constantly in order to prevent any kind of romantic feelings from forming. Once one person starts crushin' and the feeling isn't mutual, the friends with benefits bond gets irreparably destroyed. There's no way to come back from that and keep it casual.
Part of the reason is that there is no specific set of rules on how to have sex with a friend and not develop feelings for them. It might seem as simple as keeping emotions and sex separate at all times, but that can be hard to do. Sex is an intimate act. You are letting someone see you at your most vulnerable, while sharing a physical connection in the midst of giving and receiving pleasure. What is more intimate than that? That's how lines become blurred and FWB relationships can rapidly change into something else entirely. Here are all the signs you might need to take a hard look at your current FWB relationship, before it combusts into a mess of drama.
1. You get jealous when you see photos of that person with other possible hookups
This is a major red flag. The whole point of having a FWB setup is the freedom to do whatever you want outside of "hookup time." Unless you have a mutually agreed upon stipulation that your hookups are monogamous, then you shouldn't be gettin' jelly.
2. You stalk their Instagram
Liking photos on Instagram is what friends do. Constantly checking to see if they've posted something new, and researching who else has liked their photos is not. Do not do the latter.
3. You have no interest in going on dates with other people
Again, unless your FWB sitch is exclusive, you should feel free to go on dates and meet other people. Plus, having a FWB is what makes the dating world less terrifying, because you know even if a date goes horribly, you can still go back to your buddy's place and get your needs fulfilled. Your sex friend should be just part of your romantic world, not the whole thing.
4. You treat them like a significant other
This really depends on the type of dynamic you have with your FBW. If you both take care of each other in certain, relationship-y ways and it's mutual, then that's fine. But if their needs are coming before your own and it's a one-way street, it's time to reassess.
5. You automatically count them as your plus-one to weddings and other functions
Maybe you know your FWB really well, and you're in the same social circles and you've met each other's families. Going as a plus-one to major events wouldn't be strange in that case, because you can easily go together as friends and nobody will be asking questions like, "So what's the deal with you two?" or "How long have you been dating?" or "Where's the ring?" But if there's the potential to introduce your FWB to family members, that could get awkward really quickly.
6. You hear what you want to hear
When you have feelings for someone and you don't know where you stand, you start to focus on every little thing that could indicate the feeling is mutual. Every positive comment becomes "a sign" and the dismissive comments go in one ear and out the other. Keep those ears open wide and be honest with yourself about what's really going on.
7. You think you can ease them into a relationship
Unless you're Chandler and Monica, this never works. If they have feelings for you, you'll be able to tell. If you think you can sneakily lead them into a serious relationship without them realizing it, then you deserve better and should probably move on.
8. You cancel other plans to be with them
A FWB bond is all about convenience, and is essentially a last-resort guarantee for sex. Plans with other people should never be canceled to see them instead, unless you so badly need to get laid that you can't focus on anything else.
9. You change your lifestyle to impress them
Your sex friend is just that. You're friends. If you're not trying to date them, there should be no need to try to impress them.
10. You find yourself putting in effort to hang out after sex
Hanging out together after sex is what couples do. So unless you can truly partake in strictly platonic post-coital activities, then keep the quality time to just sexy-time.
11. You do things to test their jealousy
You casually mention a date you have the next day, and closely monitor their reaction. You provide TMI on texts and comments on social media you're receiving from interested suitors to see if they get possessive. Do not play this game. It often leads to disappointment, and your FWB should leave you feeling anything but disappointed.
Want more of Bustle's Sex and Relationships coverage? Check out our new podcast,I Want It That Way, which delves into the difficult and downright dirty parts of a relationship, and find more on our Soundcloud page.
Image: fabio formaggio / 500px/500Px Plus/Getty Images; Giphy (11)