On the surface, a friends with benefits situation can seem ideal: regular sex without the ~drama~ of a relationship. But things can go very wrong very quickly. So how can you tell if your friends with benefits relationship is in trouble? Jealousy and unrequited love are more obvious and expected symptoms, but it can get even more complex and confusing. In an effort to appear more "liberated" than the next person, you may find yourself agreeing with looser boundaries or commitments than you typically enjoy.
I had a friend whose FWB (a guy for whom she had started developing more serious feelings) told her that he "forgot" they have sex and to not share with her own friends that they hook up. Under any other circumstances, she would have recognized this dude as a man child unworthy of her time. But because her mind was clouded by oxytocin and dreamy emotions, and because she wanted to appear as a cool, progressive, sexually open woman, she engaged in behaviors that made her uncomfortable. The most cool and progressive thing a woman can do, of course, is know what she wants and refuse to compromise. If you find yourself trying to act "cooler" than you feel, your FWB relationship has grown toxic.
Studies find that only 15 percent of FWB relationships become successful partnerships. Here are some signs that your FWB is more similar to the other 85 percent.
1. They Straight-Up Say They Just Want To Be Friends
I get that this may seem obvious; if your feelings for a casual sex partner evolve into something romantic, but your FWB-boo always finds opportunities to express their appreciation for your friendship, then it seems pretty certain that this "casual" relationship is about to crash and burn. It's not healthy to engage in behaviors that will strengthen your romantic feelings when you know they are not reciprocated. And yet, many of us know from experience that we choose to ignore these blatant declarations of platonic friendship in futile hopes that somebody in the relationship will change their minds. Why do we do this to ourselves? I guess because love truly is a drug.
2. One Of You Starts Feeling Jealous Of Other People
Jealousy is a powerful emotion. How do you feel when you hear your FWB talk about someone else? How does your FWB feel when you talk about someone else? Casual flings aren't really so casual if jealousy is felt by either or both parties. If the envy is mutual, then perhaps the FWB-relationship is doomed because it should become a different type of relationship. But if the jealousy is one-sided, then the relationship is doomed for a different reason — i.e. someone is getting their heart broken.
3. You Tell Your Friends That You Want An FWB So You "Won't Be Tied Down," Yet You Have No Interest In Anybody Else
Some folks misunderstand sex-positivity to mean that they must enjoy all sex, all the time. That is so far from the true meaning of the ideology. Sex-positivity means that you are not ashamed of consensual and healthy sexual acts, and you aren't ashamed of creating guidelines or voicing your desires and boundaries. Likewise, you don't shame another person's sexual choices either.
Here is the problem: some folks engage in casual sex when perhaps casual sex isn't their thing because they think it is the empowered, liberated thing to do. Actually, making your own choice and sticking to it is the most empowered, liberated thing to do. Make sure that you aren't just trying to fulfill your idea of "the cool girl" and that you are actually interested in casual sex.
4. You Think About Them... A Lot
The whole point of an FWB is that it doesn't come with emotions or strings, nor does it take up your time the way a serious relationship would. So if thoughts about your last hookup or the ellipsis in their texts is taking up all the space in your brain, then you might need to reevaluate some things.
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