Are Friends with Benefits Healthy?

In the past few decades, sex has become more casual from the days when
sex was only performed if two consenting adults were in a relationship
that was leading towards marriage.  More and more people are choosing
to hold off on tying the knot to explore their sexuality within
non-traditional relationships, and the most common of these
relationships is the “friends with benefits”  (FWB) scenario.

We all have heard stories over and over from family members, friends
or random associates via social media who either gloat about how
perfect their situations are or complain about the lack of commitment
being rendered within this type of situation.  No matter what the
condition may be, many are often lead to the doorstep of questioning
whether a FWB relationship is at all healthy for a two person dynamic.
No one ever wants to be “friend zoned” when his or her desire is to be
in a union with another, but many accept the friendship with benefits
title in hopes of gaining something more in the future or simply with
the intent of enjoying a commitment-free relationship with all of the
benefits of one.

So the question is posed: is a FWB relationship healthy?  The answer
to this question comes in two parts because this type of situation can
be both healthy and unhealthy depending on the mindset and goals of
the individuals involved.

In a healthy FWB situation, both individuals are on the same page as
far as what they want and where this relationship will lead.
Agreements are made at the initiation of the relationship stating what
each partner expects out of the situation and how things will change
if either one catches feelings for the other or decides to get into a
committed relationship with another.  As time progresses and feelings
begin to change, two individuals in this type of relationship
communicate openly about how the initial agreement needs to be amended
and decide on whether the relationship is still valid or needs to be
let go.

A FWB relationship can serve as a helpful tool for one to learn what
he/she is looking for in a committed relationship and can help one to
learn how to communicate and trust.  The best thing about this type of
union is the friendship that sits at the base of the relationship.
Being friends before anything provides a certain amount of trust and
ease when interacting in an intimate situation, which is needed for a
sexual experience to be completely fulfilling.

FWB relationships have a timespan that depends on the two individuals
involved. Whether lasting a few weeks or a few years, this type of
relationship is one that can be fulfilling beyond sexual activity if
both individuals are on the same level of agreement.

A FWB relationship can be unhealthy when one partner is entering into
the situation with intentions that haven’t been made clear to the
other partner.

The biggest mistake individuals make when attempting to be friends
with benefits is not being honest with themselves and the other party
about what they truly desire, Using FWB as a consolation prize to
actually having a relationship will likely set the stage for drama
later.  Both parties have to genuinely be on the same page, or else it
can create greater damage and become a very unnecessary distraction.

This type of scenario happens often where one person believes that
committing so much time to the other with change his/her mind about
wanting to be in something committed, but this is the biggest mistake
one could make.  Arguments and disagreements can arise when one is
being dishonest about their intentions leading to frustration and
eventually a “breaking off” of the relationship all together.

So there you have it.  Friends with benefits can be both beneficial
and damaging depending on the people involved.  Communication is
critical in any relationship whether traditional or non-traditional.
If a FWB relationship is something you would like to try, make sure to
discuss the nature of the relationship with the friend you have in
mind before jumping into a commitment.