By: Frank Kermit, MA, CH
Continued from The Rules Of Friends-With-Benefits …
Be mindful that F.W.B (Friends with Benefits) can be educational and very fun. However there are always negatives with this lifestyle. First, great fun can be easily confused with great escapism. Some people thrive as FWB because they have deep-rooted intimacy issues and it is a means to continue that dysfunctional repeating behavior pattern. When fun becomes escapism, the sex stops being satisfying and resorts to just another temporary distraction to combat the entrenched empty feelings associated with intimacy barriers. Ironically, some people only do FWB because they want to see as many people as they can so that they never end up alone. The reality of FWB is that these time-limited love fits, tend to end quickly and the FWB practitioners tend to end up alone at the worst possible times. For example, no one would want to spend Valentine’s Day with a FWB when they could have the potential (not even a guarantee, but just a potential) of meeting someone new for a deeper connection which is why many FWB tend to end abruptly just before or on V-day.
FWB is not a romantic relationship per se, and if that is all you have ever experienced, you will not have developed the social skills necessary to carry you through the rough patches that even the best-committed relationships go through. You can drop a FWB at any time, and it is actually easier to do so than it is to work out your differences. If you have formed that habit of flight instead of fighting to keep your relationship healthy, then trying to manage a more serious relationship later on will be challenging for you if all you have ever known are FWB.
Some people become too reliant on FWB, that they stop being social. It is just easier to continue being with the same FWB and not going out to meet new people. This is a horrible place to be in, because when the FWB ends (and it will), those partners that stopped meeting new people, and growing socially, end up worse off than if they never tried the FWB dynamic. Even if managed well, as mentioned in this article, it is still very possible to end up developing romantic feelings for the person you are semi-regularly sleeping with. Your heart may not get “broken”…but your heart certainly will get dinged. It takes a level of emotional maturity management that not everyone has the capacity for. FWB is not for everyone.
Eventually, chances are very high that one or both of you will end up in a serious relationship down the road. The chances are also very high that your future spouse or partner will not want you to continue a friendship with someone that you were secretly intimate with. When getting very serious with someone, it may be the time to tell all about who your FWB were, especially if those FWB are still in your current social circle. This may not apply to all couples, however some people change their open accepting attitudes when not only their hearts are involved, but factor in joint property investments, kids and a lifestyle, such that the idea of spending free time with people that already have established successfully being intimate with their life partner in secret in the past, will cause more trust issues for the future. It will be easier to manage the concerns of the new life partner, than keeping the friendship with an ex FWB is ever worth. Your time as FWB will end at some point. If you want to continue to have your FWB, as a friend when it is over, be sure to manage the relationship so that you do not lose, not only your FWB, but also the entire social networks you both were part in. And even then, your friendship will always have an asterisk next to it; so don’t expect that friendship to last forever either. Just like any other endeavor that comes with lots of immediate “benefits”, in the end, you end up having to pay the price over time for them. Sometimes the long term cost effects weren’t worth the initial benefits you were provided. Shop carefully!
To learn more about Friends With Benefits and how to manage this kind of relationship, check out these youtube videos of Frank Kermit being interviewed on the Kelly Alexander Show podcast, as well as a video of Frank Kermit speaking at the 2014 Living Solo Show in front of a live audience at Place Bonaventure in downtown Montreal giving them all The Friends With Benefits Quiz.
(Frank on the Kelly Alexander Show)
(Frank speaking on stage at the Living Solo Show)
Frank Kermit, MA, CH www.FrankTalks.com is a Dating-and-Relationship Coach, Certified Trauma Counselor and Certified Hypnotherapist working with singles and couples. He is an author, speaker, matchmaker and relationship columnist for The Suburban Newspaper Online Magazine, who appears regularly on Dr. Laurie Betito’s Passion on CJAD 800 AM, and other programs. Get Frank’s 13th ebook “Frank Talks: Articles” as a free gift when you sign up for www.FrankTalks.com/newsletter or call 514-680-3278.