Rules for Friends with Benefits

Rules for Friends with Benefits

The idea of no strings attached sex with an opposite sex friend may sound like a good idea, but in real life, not to so easy to pull off.

Rules for Friends with Benefits
Mila Kunis as “Jamie” and Justin Timberlake as “Dylan” in Screen Gems’ Friends with Benefits. Photo: Glen Wilson / ©2011 CTMG, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Hollywood has started a trend in casual relationship movies, first with No Strings Attached and now Friends with Benefits starring Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis. But do these relationships work in real life?

We tend to romanticize casual relationships, thinking we can turn our emotions on and off like a faucet. The reality is more complex: one person could develop feelings for the other, upsetting the balance of “no emotional investment.” When you are in a sexual relationship with someone, how can you predict emotions will not play a role? Usually, there isn’t a Hollywood ending and someone ends up hurt.

This is why it can be hard to stay friends with someone when the benefits go away. The relationship will change. Can you handle your friend moving on? Consider your own tendencies and jealousy before you engage.

Following are some questions you can ask yourself before you get involved in a “friends with benefits” relationship:

Am I looking for a long-term relationship? It is almost impossible to open yourself up to a potential long-term partner if you are physically involved with someone else, even a friend. People pick up on the fact you’re not 100% available, and you tend to attract guys and girls who don’t want to commit.

Can I handle my friend wanting to be with another girl? This is for the people who may secretly be harboring a crush on the friend without knowing it. If you are okay with losing your “benefits” status, or with hearing about the “awesome sex with my new girlfriend” then go for it.

Can my friend handle ME wanting to be with someone else? Okay, so maybe you don’t have feelings for your friend. But what about him? Maybe he secretly is hoping that you will see how wonderful he is and end up committing to him. Maybe he’ll get angry when you mention dates with other guys. Make sure that you clear the air with him before you get involved.

Have I been in this situation before, and it didn’t really work for me? I’ll caution you against telling yourself “this friend is different.” Likely, he isn’t, and you already know that you didn’t react well to things going south last time. Don’t think this is going to be different.

The key to a relationship with no strings attached is making sure you are both on the same page and that you keep the lines of communication open for when things change. Because they will… it won’t last. Be clear about your expectations. Communication is key.

Copyright © Kelly Seal/2011

Kelly SealKelly Seal is a freelance writer whose contributions have appeared in The Huffington Post, Slate, Examiner, MSN, Yahoo! Living, YourTango, The Frisky, and Divine Caroline. A native of Houston, Texas and a graduate of Trinity University with a degree in Cultural Anthropology. She blogs and video blogs on dating and relationships at www.kellyseal.com.
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