by John Santana
So, you have an ex. You’re still attracted to each other, but you don’t want to get back together. Maybe you’re both too busy with work or school. Maybe you just don’t think you’re compatible in a long-term relationship.
The breakup is done. But you just can’t deny the sexual chemistry. Let’s be honest, you were too good for each other in bed, and you’re not quite ready to let go of the great sex just yet.
The short answer is: it can work, but it’s not easy. There are a lot of potential pitfalls, and you need to be very clear about your expectations before you start anything.
A friends-with-benefits relationship or FWB is a type of relationship where two people are sexually intimate with each other, but are not romantically involved. This means that there’s no exclusivity, and both parties are free to date other people and search for a romantic relationship.
Friends with benefits are often casual and non-committal, and they can be a great way to have fun and get your sexual needs met without the hassle of a traditional relationship.
A recent study by the US Census found that 40% of American adults have had a Friends with Benefits relationship at some point in their lives. FWB relationships are more common among young adults, with 60% of 18-29-year-olds reporting having had friends with benefits experience.
FWB relationships are becoming increasingly common in the United States. There are many reasons why people choose to engage in this arrangement, including the desire for physical pleasure, the lack of time or interest in a traditional relationship, or the fear of getting hurt.
Before diving into an FWB relationship, take a moment to reflect on a few key aspects. Define your expectations for the relationship. What are you looking to get out of it? Consider your comfort level with engaging in a purely physical connection without emotional involvement. Can you separate the two?
Once you’ve contemplated these factors and still find yourself intrigued by an FWB arrangement, go ahead and give it a shot! Just remember to be honest with yourself and your partner throughout the journey.
Pros and Cons of Being Friends with Benefits with an Ex
Being friends with benefits with an ex can be a complicated situation. There are many potential benefits, but there are also some potential risks. It is important to weigh the pros and cons carefully before deciding if this is the right thing for you.
If you and your ex still have chemistry, being friends with benefits can be a great way to satisfy your physical needs without the rules of a committed relationship. This can be especially beneficial if you are both recently single and are not ready to jump into a serious relationship. Being friends with benefits can allow you to explore your sexuality and have fun without the pressure of a romantic relationship. It may sound like a bad idea for some, but this FWB situation can also be a great way to relieve stress and improve your mood.
Studies suggest that people who had sex at least once a week reported lower levels of stress and anxiety than those who had sex less often. Sex can also release endorphins, which have mood-boosting effects.
Maintaining a friendship with an ex can be a rewarding experience, especially if you were friends before you started dating. It allows you to stay connected with someone you care about while also exploring new relationships without the pressure of a romantic commitment. It’s like having a best friend who also happens to know your deepest desires and secrets.
I can relate to this personally. My first boyfriend and I were friends for years before we started dating. When we broke up, it was tough, but we managed to stay friends. It’s been years since we were together, but we still talk and hang out.
Of course, staying connected and being friends with an ex does come with its challenges. It can be difficult to navigate boundaries and manage lingering feelings. But if both parties are willing to communicate openly and honestly, it can be a fulfilling and positive experience. It’s a way to maintain a connection with someone who knows you well and has been a significant part of your life.
No strings attached
As Jamie from the film “Friends with Benefits” said, “No emotions, just sex.”
Friends with benefits relationships can be a great way to have fun, explore your sexuality, and get physical intimacy without the pressure of a committed relationship. However, it is important to be on the same page and be clear about your expectations. Communicate openly and honestly with your partner before entering into an FWB arrangement.
Imagine having a reliable sexual partner whom you have good sexual chemistry with, minus the commitments and expectations of a serious relationship. This companionship can provide a source of comfort and enjoyment, especially if both parties have a clear understanding of the arrangement.
One of the biggest risks of being friends with benefits with an ex is the potential for emotional attachment. If you still have feelings for your ex, it can be easy to develop even stronger feelings as you continue to spend time together and have sex. This can lead to heartbreak and disappointment if your ex is not on the same page as you.
Emotional attachment is a natural human emotion. It is what bonds us to our loved ones and makes us feel connected. It can be difficult to break. Even if you know that a relationship is not good for you, it can be hard to let go of the emotional connection you have with someone.
One woman told me that she had a friends with benefits relationship with her ex partner. She said that she was initially happy with the sexual relationship, but as time went on, she started to develop feelings for him. She eventually confessed her feelings to him, but he told her that he didn’t feel the same way. This left her feeling heartbroken and disappointed.
Many people find themselves in similar situations, where they start get emotionally attached to someone they are only supposed to be having sex with. This can be a difficult and painful experience, especially if the other person does not feel the same way.
It can be hard to let go of someone you have feelings for, but it is important to remember that you deserve to be with someone who loves you back. If you are not getting what you need from a relationship, it is time to move on. There are many other people out there who will love and appreciate you for who you are. Don’t settle for someone who doesn’t.
Jealousy and Competition
If your ex starts dating someone else, it can be difficult to see them with someone else. This can lead to feelings of jealousy and insecurity. It can also lead to competition, as you may try to outdo the other person’s new partner.
Jealousy is a natural human emotion. It is a feeling of envy or resentment towards someone who has something that you want. It can also lead to negative behaviors, such as trying to sabotage your ex’s new relationship or trying to control them.
Competition is another potential challenge of being friends with benefits with an ex. If your ex starts actively dating again while you’re still sleeping together, you may feel like you are in competition with who they’re dating.
This can lead to feelings of insecurity and inadequacy. It can also lead to negative behaviors, such as trying to sabotage your ex’s new relationship.
If you are feeling competitive, it is important to remember that you are not in competition with anyone. This may be hard to hear but you’re already exes. Ex-partners who enjoy the occasional sex.
Impact on Future Relationships
Being friends with benefits with an ex can indeed have a negative impact on future romantic relationships. It can create hurdles when it comes to moving on from your ex and starting fresh with someone new.
Continuing a physical relationship with your ex can make it challenging to let go of the emotional connection you once had, hindering your ability to fully invest in a new relationship.
Knowing that you are still having casual sex with your ex can trigger feelings of jealousy and doubt. People who are interested in dating you or pursuing meaningful relationships with you may question whether you are truly over your ex, adding unnecessary strain to your future relationships.
Maintaining a friends-with-benefits relationship with an ex can harm your reputation. People may perceive your commitment to relationships as insincere or question your ability to be fully devoted. This stigma can make it challenging to find a partner who is willing to commit to a serious and meaningful relationship with you.
To avoid these potential negative impacts on future romantic relationships, it is crucial to consider a few important tips. Be honest with yourself about your feelings towards your ex and refrain from pursuing a friends-with-benefits arrangement if you are still emotionally attached.
Communicate openly with your new partner about your past and any ongoing connections to establish trust. Set clear boundaries with your ex to ensure both parties understand what is acceptable and what is not. Prioritizing the emotional well-being and happiness of all parties involved is crucial for fostering healthy and fulfilling connections.
The Decision is Yours
Engaging in this relationship requires a certain mindset and self-awareness. It’s not for everyone, and that’s perfectly okay. If you’re uncomfortable with the idea or tend to develop attachments easily, it may be best to avoid this arrangement altogether. Acknowledge your own boundaries and prioritize your emotional well-being.
Before embarking on a friends-with-benefits relationship, be honest with yourself about your desires and expectations. Consider what you hope to gain from this connection and whether you’re truly comfortable separating emotions from physical intimacy.
Establishing clear boundaries and effective communication is crucial. Can you openly express your needs while respecting your partner’s limits? It’s essential to navigate these discussions with respect and transparency.
It’s important to be prepared for potential emotional consequences that may arise. Friends-with-benefits situations can sometimes lead to hurt feelings or disappointment. Mentally preparing yourself for such outcomes can help mitigate their impact.
Remember, if you decide to pursue a friends-with-benefits situation after careful consideration, maintain honesty with both yourself and your partner throughout the journey. And always remember to prioritize fun and enjoyment. As Natalie Portman’s character in “No Strings Attached” wisely put it, “Friends with benefits is a great idea. Until it’s not.”