Friends with Benefits: What You Need to Know

All you need to know to make your friends-with-benefits relationship fun and stress-free.

Reviewed by Hemali Adhiya, ICF Certified Relationship Coach Hemali Adhiya Hemali AdhiyaICF Certified Relationship Coach facebook_iconyoutube_iconinsta_icon
Written by , Beauty & Lifestyle Writer Gazala Firdos Ansari Beauty & Lifestyle Writer Experience: 2 years
Edited by , Associate Editor Subhrojyoti Mukherjee Associate Editor Experience: 4 years
Fact-checked by , Beauty & Lifestyle Writer Sneha Tete Beauty & Lifestyle Writer linkedin_icon Experience: 4 years
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Things are changing fast in this ever-evolving world. Relationships are no exception. The evolving lifestyle has created a need for relationships that align with it. Friends-with-benefits is a relationship between two people who are not romantically involved with each other but share a physical attraction. This kind of relationship is forged between two people who aren’t looking for a committed relationship but seek to satisfy their physical needs. Certain rules in this relationship make it different from a traditional relationship. Read this article to find out all you need to know about a friends-with-benefits relationship before getting into one.

What Does Friends-With-Benefits Mean?

Friends-with-benefits is a relationship type where two people engage in a physical relationship for a certain period without any commitments. It does not involve strangers nor does it end after a single encounter. People in this situation can be friends or acquaintances who mutually decide on the duration of this setup. Now that you know what friends-with-benefits means, find out in the next section if it is right for you.

Is The Friends-With-Benefits Situation Right for You?

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Whether friends-with-benefits is satisfactory and suitable for you depends on the kind of relationship you want. Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Would you be okay with this arrangement changing the existing relationship with your partner?
  2. Can you easily accept and handle the end of this relationship?
  3. Would you be okay with your partner getting into a relationship with other people?
  4. Are you comfortable enough to be able to discuss all things related to the relationship, including its ending?

People who want their relationship to be more than a casual physical relationship should drop this idea. This equation works well for people who do not want a traditional romantic relationship and want to avoid being involved in someone else’s life. If that sounds like you and you want to learn how to take your friends-with-benefits relationship ahead smoothly, the following tips can help.

Tips To Build A Smooth Friends-With-Benefits Relationship

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A friends-with-benefits relationship can fall apart due to its fragile foundation and short-term engagement. But a few tips can help you make it fulfilling.

  • Discuss Boundaries And Comfort Zones

Setting boundaries and determining comfort zones is a prerequisite for maintaining a fulfilling relationship. Both parties should be clear about what is allowed and what is not.

  • Establish Clear Communication

Clear, open, and thorough communication can avoid misunderstandings, hurt, and confusion. Both partners need to communicate their needs and apprehensions throughout the duration of the relationship.

While discussing her experiences with friends with benefits, a blogger reveals, “He likes me, probably too much, but because of the terms we met under he is constantly telling me he “remembers the rules and won’t let [his] emotions get away from [him]”(i).”

  • Decide On A Duration

Fix the duration or tenure for the relationship before entering it. You can do this by deciding a timespan or entering into a conditional agreement of when and how one can exit this setup.

  • Determine The Number Of Partners

A mutual decision about having multiple partners outside of this arrangement can prevent hurt feelings in the future.

protip_icon Quick Tip
Go for health checkups every 3 to 6 months to prevent the risk of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

Now that you know how to make your relationship successful, let’s look at some non-negotiable rules you must be aware of.

16 Rules To Follow In A Friends-With-Benefits Relationship

While a friends-with-benefits relationship might appear laid back, a few ground rules need to be set. Since this is not a traditional relationship that involves other aspects, rules are necessary to avoid awkward confrontations in the future.

1. Consent Is Key

Consent is must, be it a friends-with-benefits relationship or any other. It is not safe to assume that a person would always be okay with something if they consented to it once. The rule also extends to matters outside the bedroom, including the question of keeping the relationship public or private or involving in the other person’s personal matters.

2. Understand Your Emotional Maturity

Everyone is molded differently and not everything is suitable for everyone. Both partners need to be emotionally strong and practical for this relationship to work.

3. Always Use Protection

Unprotected sex can lead to a lot of complications, including an unplanned pregnancy. STDs are another major concern when multiple partners are involved. Since this arrangement allows you the freedom to choose your partners, protection becomes a must.

4. Be Honest

A friends-with-benefits situation will function smoothly only if both partners have an honest conversation at the beginning about how they want it to go.

5. Communicate Without Compromise

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Friends-with-benefits is a new concept. One or both partners might not know how things go, which makes it essential to have healthy and regular communication. The needs and expectations of both partners should be vocalized from the start. Any change in intentions and emotions down the line should be conveyed clearly and directly.

6. Be Open To Exploring And Experimenting

This relationship provides the liberty to focus on one’s fantasies and desires without being concerned about the other person’s mental, emotional, or financial issues. This way, one can explore and get comfortable with their own sensuality and that of the other person too.

7. Make Bedroom Rules

Letting your partner know what works for you and understanding what gives them pleasure can go a long way. Discuss the types of activities both are open to and what is off-limits.

8. Keep Jealousy At Bay

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Non-commitment is an important aspect of a friends-with-benefits relationship. This relationship does not offer exclusivity and doesn’t come with expectations. It is normal for partners to be involved with people outside of this relationship and jealousy would only put a dent and eventually break this dynamic.

9. Get To Know Who Are Involved

Learning about the other people your partner is involved with takes away the mystery and curiosity in a non-monogamous relationship. It also takes away the jealousy that otherwise occurs by seeing oneself as a different entity and not a part of their dynamic.

10. Check Your Intentions

It is always possible in this relationship for one to have romantic feelings for the other. These changes in intentions need to be recognized and addressed immediately. A direct conversation about it is a good idea. If the feeling is not mutual, it is better to discontinue the existing relationship.

protip_icon Fun Fact
There is a movie called Friends with Benefits starring Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake who popularized this concept and made it mainstream.

11. Don’t Choose Your Best Friend

Choosing a close friend while looking for a friend with benefits seems like a good idea. However, such a relationship is bound to end and no one can be sure of the aftermath. Putting a cherished platonic relationship at risk is not worth it.

12. Refrain From Spending The Night

Most people are very vulnerable late at night and engage in deep conversations, cuddles, and spooning. Avoid spending the night to prevent any awkwardness in the future.

13. Scheduling Is The Way To go

Though it doesn’t sound as spontaneous or fun, it can take off a lot of pressure and smoothen the way through this relationship. Decide what kind of encounters are preferred, where, and at what time. This helps avoid any issues.

14. Give Importance To The Friendship

While acting like a couple is a strict no-no, it is important to maintain the bond. Respect, care, and empathy for the other person should always go beyond this temporary arrangement.

15. Don’t Mind Taking The Backseat

It is important to accept and understand that partners in this relationship are not a priority in each other’s lives. Work, family, and dating life should take precedence over this relationship.

16. Keep An Exit Option

Understand and acknowledge that either of you can walk out of the relationship any time. There should be an option that allows one to leave the relationship even before the pre-decided deadline.

These rules can help you enjoy a fulfilling friends-with-benefits relationship. That said, there are times when you must absolutely avoid such a relationship. Learn more in the next section.

When To Avoid A Friends-With-Benefits Relationship?

A friends-with-benefits relationship works best when two people are looking for a short-term arrangement to explore their sexual fantasies. However, one should avoid this relationship if one wants more than just a sexual partner. Also, avoid this if the other person is a close friend or someone you have feelings for. So, it is better to end the relationship on the mutually agreed upon time and keep the equation cordial.

The friends-with-benefits relationship may appear similar to casual dating. However, this is not the case. Scroll down to find out the fundamental differences between the two.

How Is Friends-With-Benefits Different From Dating?

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Several significant aspects make friends-with-benefits very different from dating. Dating mostly leads to a committed relationship, while friends-with-benefits is a non-committal, casual relationship.

While dating is usually monogamous and offers exclusivity, people who are friends with benefits are free to date other people outside of the partnership. While many people in friends-with-benefits relationships end up dating eventually, one should avoid getting into these setups with that intention or expectation.

This is how friends with benefits are different from dating. Let’s now find out how to end this relationship in the next section.

How To End A Friends With Benefits Relationship?

The secret to ending a friendship with benefits is to have a private, sincere, and caring talk. To bring closure, acknowledge the good things that happened during your time together, communicate your emotions in an empathetic and concise manner, and set clear boundaries. Emphasize your need for space to process the change, and agree on limiting communication for a while. Afterwards, give yourself priority and wait to resume the relationship until you and your partner are comfortable doing so. Although it may be difficult, respect and honesty will make the change go more smoothly.

Infographic: 7 Important Rules Of A Friends-With-Benefits Relationship

A friends-with-benefits relationship can get tricky due to the high possibility of confusion and uncertainty. Therefore, it is important to set some ground rules to avoid any stress or heartbreak. We have rounded up 7 rules one should keep in mind before getting into this partnership. Check out the infographic below.

7 important rules of a friends with benefits relationship (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Get the high-quality PDF version of this infographic.

Download Infographic in PDF version

Conclusion

‘Friends-with-benefits’ is a physical connection between two people where they don’t share any of the personal aspects of their lives with each other, but share some amount of sexual intimacy. While they may share companionship, it doesn’t get deeper than that. It can be a good option for those not ready for a romantic relationship. However, it can affect one’s mental health if they become emotionally involved or get hurt. To make a friends-with-benefits partnership successful, one should find a suitable partner and communicate their needs and expectations clearly right at the outset.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can friends-with-benefits stay friends?

In most cases, the friendship fades or loses its charm after the relationship ends. However, if two emotionally mature people want to make this work, there is no reason they cannot.

How long can a friends-with-benefits relationship last?

A friends with benefits relationship can ideally last something between 5 to 8 months. However, the duration of this setup should be discussed and determined by both partners.

Do you kiss your friends with benefits?

As a general rule, kissing is not allowed in this relationship since it is considered more romantic than physical.

Do friends with benefits talk every day?

Avoid talking to your friend with benefits daily as it may lead to encroachment of each other’s personal space.

Key Takeaways

  • Friends with benefits is a non-committal and mostly non-monogamous physical connection between two consenting adults.
  • This relationship is a temporary arrangement and does not last more than a few months.
  • People in this partnership should communicate openly but avoid sharing personal and emotional details.
  • Lack of deeper involvement in the other person’s life makes it different from dating.
Friends with benefits

Image: Stable Diffusion/StyleCraze Design Team

Explore the world of friends-with-benefits (FWB) relationships with this honest and insightful video. Learn how to identify and navigate the signs for a fulfilling connection.

Personal Experience: Source

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