Friends-with-Benefits. It’s the topic of many a rom-com, woman’s magazine or website piece and Dan Savage podcast. Chief among the complaints/questions that pour in (and the driver of many plots of the aforementioned movie genre)–what happens if one of you ends up wanting more than just the present arrangement?
Savage’s answer is consistently that you must end it once that happens. It’s an arrangement that can only work when both parties are on the same page, emotionally. If not, you will have one FWB who is simply happy having regular sex while not in a relationship and another who goes along with this because it’s the best he/she can get but is the whole time miserable and wishfully hoping that it might turn into something more. You know, just like in the movies. (Because there’s no story if they just have sex. It has to mean love, which will then be followed by marriage and children because God does not like casual sex.)
A friend of mine, H. recently told me a term she’s applied to her FWB relationship–blackout nights.
These are evenings that definitely do not spend together and do not speak about one with the other. If one went on a date or had sex with someone else, it is not brought up. It’s sort of like you got drunk and blacked out but it’s not you who wakes up the next morning with no clue as to what happened–it’s your FWB who is the hungover, clueless one.
I think this is sound FWB policy. Also, if you happen to be in one of those lopsided FWB situations, it might also spare you the hurt of having your not-so-significant other tell you about his/her date from the previous night cause that never feels good. I feel bad listening to a friend I’m pining for (with whom I’m not having sex) talk about a girl he’s interested in. How much worse would it be to hear if I was sleeping with the guy.
Additionally, setting aside nights where the two of you don’t hang out is probably wise. The danger with a FWB situation, in addition to one developing unreciprocated feelings for the other, is that you might not put yourself out there as often because you have a sorta relationship that is comfortable and supplying with sex.