Don't Believe The Rom Coms: The Ultimate Guide To Surviving Friends With Benefits

Friends with benefits are always tricky for the twenty-something year old girl; it's a war between emotional will power and sexual satisfaction. And 9 out of 10 times someone always ends up getting hurt. Unfortunately, that usually means us girls. But that's not a bad thing, just because we're the ones who usually get hurt doesn't make us women weak. We have emotions, we are human. It's still a shit feeling, but it can be avoided. From the girl who has had several FWB relationships it's safe to say I've been burnt, but I've always got on with my life. Where there's a will, there's a way  and if guys can do it without catching feelings, damn straight women can do it too.

Make sure the terms are clear on both sides.

Before you embark on a FWB relationship, make it very clear that this is just sex. Don't take it lightly, get it into your head that all this is and will ever be is sex. I cannot stress how important this is. You need to know at the end of the day that this is not going to progress into a relationship. You need to be 100% okay with this before agreeing to it. Being dishonest with yourself is self-destructive. So don't do it.

Be secure enough in yourself.

You need to be secure enough in yourself: everything from knowing that you are physically attractive to being a decent human being. Being in a FWB relationship when you're horribly insecure will just lead you on the path of paranoia, anxiety and self-doubt. We all make this mistake at some stage, but it's a learning curve. You also need to be confident enough in yourself to know when/if you're getting too close or too hurt. You deserve to not feel like shit.


Have priorities.

Don't let this "relationship" be the most important or most entertaining thing in your life. You'll end up obsessing over this person and catching some serious feelings. I'm not promoting or saying you have to be a robot in order to function in a FWB relationship, it's great to have butterflies when you see someone, or outrageously flirt with them, that's healthy, plus it makes the sex better. Just do not the feelings grow or take over.

Don't Believe The Rom Coms

Listen to Oprah! Take every single happy rom com ending you've ever seen and fuck it out the window. Not to be harsh, but reality is a bitch and Justin Timberlake is an actor. I think a lot of us don't actually realise how much our thoughts are influenced by happy endings. Girl and guy start FWB relationship, someone catches feelings, FWB ends, other person realizes how much they love the other one, everyone's happy, roll credits. Probably not going to happen with you, so don't expect it.


Realize There Is An Expiration Date

A FWB relationship usually has a 3 month expiration date if the sex is frequent. However they can span over years, and between other relationships. As long as you keep in mind that this will eventually phase out you'll be able to handle this kind of relationship appropriately, and that's what you want right?

Keep dating/on the look out.

Whether you're constantly busy with college assignments, work commitments or even serial watching TV series, always keep your eyes open to other guys. Once you close yourself off to other men, even if you don't intend on developing feelings with your sexual partner, you are going to focus more emotional energy on him. So keep that Tinder downloaded, chat to guys in bars, just keep being a single girl. Never feel guilty for fancying other guys or even getting sexually involved with them, you are not in a relationship. 


Don't keep thinking it'll turn into something more.

I think it's always important to only have a FWB relationship, and this may sound harsh, with someone you can't imagine dating or even being with, in the long run. If you can, then actually date them. Don't trick yourself into thinking that this is only temporary, it's not fair on yourself. Being rejected is never fun, but it's better than putting yourself on a massive emotional roller-coaster.

Keep emotions out of it.

This is someone what doesn't want to deal with your problems. This is harsh. But think about it, do you really want to listen to their deepest problems. No. A FWB relationship is based on having fun with each other. That doesn't mean you can't bitch about how shit your day was, it just means that you should let yourself have fun in their company. Chances are they're more than happy to make your day better if you catch my drift...


Only cuddle if you genuinely can handle your emotions.

Cuddling is a tricky subject. We all love a good spooning now and then, and some days it's just a necessity. As cold as it seems, it is easier to not get emotional attached if you fall asleep touching each other. No one ever said the 'Hook up' culture was a warm, fuzzy place.  But it exists and everyone needs to adapt to it in order not to get burnt. So if you really just want sex with no strings attached then stay clear of cuddling. But at the end of the day it depends on the relationship you two have if you're both cool with banging and spooning with no touchy-feely stuff then embrace the spooning.

Don't even brunch.

Brunch with a FWB can be incredibly awkward; neither of you really know how to act, and it can be uncomfortable that you're surrounded by couples. On the other hand if you have a really good friendship with this guy, it can be a lot of fun. Just make sure you don't do any couple-like things, like hold hands or share a milkshake. It can just be a lot more enjoyable to make your own awesome breakfast for one and watch whatever you want on a Sunday morning.


If even he hides them, he has feelings too.

As much as guys can appear completely heartless, they do have hearts too. So just be conscious to see if he developing feelings; you'll notice things like jealousy, or if he asks a lot of questions of who you went out with last night. They're human too. However don't misinterpret innocent gestures as him secretly declaring his love for you: if he offers you the last slice of pizza it's not because he wants your babies, you get me?

Always remember, you're friends first.

Ask yourself, what's more important at the end of the day: his friendship? Or his dick? It's completely up to you. Personally I'm not one to burn bridges, so friendship always comes first. But that's not to say I've broken a heart or two. It always depends on who you're having this relationship with. Maintaining a friendship after a FWB relationship is difficult, but it's doable. It's just a matter of time and being honest with yourself.


Distance yourself if it gets too much.

Don't let yourself get carried away. If he's a good guy, he'll understand. And as much as he may not want a relationship, he also doesn't want you to get hurt. There's no shame in getting too close, it happens. Sometimes without you realizing. It's shitty being unable to control your emotions, I know, I've bitched about it to my own friends. It's better for you to distance yourself in the long run.

Don't try make him jealous.

Or play any mind games in general. A FWB shouldn't involve any kind of game playing, purely because it skips all the bullshit of a relationship anyway. You two are here to pleasure each other and have a laugh. Plus, it may be a shocker to you if he doesn't care if you flirted with someone else or dated other people. He didn't sign up for childish games, but neither have you.


Do NOT take it personally if he sleeps with other people.

How could you get mad at him for sleeping with someone else when you signed up for this kind of relationship? This can be heart-crunching news, and at times you may not even realise that you have feelings for this person until this happens. And at the very least, it's a dig to your ego. But before you bat shit crazy on his ass you have to keep in mind that he's allowed do what he likes. This may frustrate you greatly, but it also means that you can do what you like.

Remind yourself that if you want something more, search elsewhere.

If you want a more serious relationship then you might be better off putting your energy elsewhere. It's more than likely that the person you're involved doesn't want something serious, so there's really no point in trying to take it to the next level. There's are two options you have really; either stop hooking up with the guy or keeping seeing under something better comes along.But  If you feel really strongly about this person, then fuck it, tell him. Worst that could happen is that you he can say no, but it's better than never knowing, right?

Catherine Munnelly
Article written by
Catherine Munnelly is a colourfully-haired UCD graduate with a degree in reading books. A pint-sized bundle of wisdom, she has mastered the game of Flip-Cup, enjoys the company of bearded-men and despises rude people. When she's not writing or talking about her dog, you'll find her wandering around Europe telling folk that Leprechauns exist and Bono's her uncle.
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