If you have no expectations or desire for a long term relationship, want a casual, sexual encounter without getting emotionally embroiled then as long as you know what you’re getting into and it fits with what you are after, it can be great.
There are lots of women and men who hook up without any feelings of attachment. The moment an emotional attachment starts being formed is when things can get messy. People generally don’t talk about their hook ups since most people are judgmental and passionately attack the concept of FWB though, some may brag to friends about having someone “on the side”.
Many people are unhappy in their everyday relationship, bored or just not getting enough sex and the recently hacked website of Ashley Madison illustrates that FWB is alive and well within the married community not just with singles.
When entering a new arrangement with someone you barely know, it’s a good idea to lay down some ground rules from day one to avoid misunderstandings and assumed expectations. Things to ask each other include:
- Are they involved with someone else?
- Will they wear a condom or will you be having unprotected sex?
- Is it a regular or casual meetup? How many times a week will you meet? Are there any particular times or days?
- Where you are going to meet? Make sure it’s comfortable and safe.
- Is either party going to sleep over?
- Will you go out in public or is this a private arrangement you don’t want others to know about?
- If you go out in public how will you behave together?
- Are you both interested in going away together on private weekends or travelling abroad?
- What happens when either party meets someone else or wants to move on?
FWB is an arrangement which needs to be discussed between both parties otherwise it may feel like your new friend is imposing what’s convenient for them at your expense, whether they are aware of it or not.
When you get involved with someone you don’t know well, you maybe putting stress through your expectations on the relationship. The sexual part of a new connection is usually easy to fall into, but you are also forging a friendship at the same time. Building a friendship solidifies the foundation and enhances the benefits as you are sharing an experience, history and developing a trust with someone who also trusts you. It logically follows that it requires time to cultivate a friendship with benefits with someone.
Though one may believe that this is only a sexual arrangement, for an FWB to really work, you have to know each other. There is a mutual investment in each other’s well being so there needs to be an understanding of what the emotional and sexual dynamics are for you both. It’s important to recognise who both of you are with and to each other. Healthy communication and an understanding of expectations, respect, comfort and safety as well as being able to work through any issues while maintaining the friendship increases the likelihood of a successful connection.
Regardless what a relationship is labelled, when you become sexually involved with someone intimacy, familiarity, connection and emotions build. No matter what the arrangement, regular open communication with each other helps.
Don’t believe that sex will guide you to deeper feelings or love, leading to a committed relationship. On the other hand, sometimes you may wish that your FWB partner were more romantic in a committed way but are fearful of saying something in case you scare them off. It’s tricky as one way or the other you are emotionally invested and when one person decides to form another relationship or stop seeing you, you have to pretend not to be broken hearted.
Things to think about:
- Have you thought the FWB idea through? Sex is the most intimate act two humans can share and should not be taken lightly. Not only can it spread infection or viruses but can stir up your emotions.
- Have you thought about why this sort of relationship would work for you? Are you avoiding baring your soul, being vulnerability and intensely emotionally within a longer lasting relationship? Have you had a previous bad relationship or don’t want to commit the time and emotional intensity to someone longer term?
- Can you turn off your feelings and only have a casual relationship no matter how many times you catch up in a week? Can you remain present and connected?
- What happens if your friend has other friends he/she is having another relationship with at the same time as being with you?
- If your friend moves on, how will you cope?
- What are the boundaries between sharing as friends and the vulnerability and ‘free falling’ of no attachment? Do you expect your FWB to hangout with your friends and family? Do you expect your FWB to sleep over? Do you feel it’s Ok to communicate via social media your relationship with you FWB?
This territory is uncharted between you and sometimes is made up as you go along. Is it possible to find a middle ground between long lasting love and hooking up with a stranger or friend? Is it possible to care about another person, have good sex and not get too emotional when they sleep with another?
You know there is chemistry and a connection between you and as long as you are prepared to invest the time, relax and enjoy your FWB, the wild sex, cuddles, massages, dark secrets, juicy gossip and not expect all the activities that go hand in hand with total commitment, you will find that being non possessive can be extremely fulfilling, enlightening and fun, with sharing benefits for you both.
Honour your intuition by trusting it to tell you want is best for you and honour your decision either way.
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© 2017 Kia Haere Counselling and Life Coaching