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Is A “Friends With Benefits” Relationship Healthy?

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Written by: Tyomi Morgan

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In the past few decades, sex has become more casual from the days when sex was only performed if two consenting adults were in a relationship that was leading towards marriage.  More and more people are choosing to hold off on tying the knot to explore their sexuality within non-traditional relationships, and the most common of these relationships is the “friends with benefits”  (FWB) scenario.

We all have heard stories over and over from family members, friends or random associates via social media who either gloat about how perfect their situations are or complain about the lack of commitment being rendered within this type of situation.  No matter what the condition may be, many are often lead to the doorstep of questioning whether a FWB relationship is at all healthy for a two person dynamic.  No one ever wants to be “friend zoned” when his or her desire is to be in a union with another, but many accept the friendship with benefits title in hopes of gaining something more in the future or simply with the intent of enjoying a commitment-free relationship with all of the benefits of one.

So the question is posed: is a FWB relationship healthy?  The answer to this question comes in two parts because this type of situation can be both healthy and unhealthy depending upon the mindset and goals of the individuals involved.

In a healthy FWB situation, both individuals are on the same page as far as what they want and where this relationship will lead. Agreements are made at the initiation of the relationship stating what each partner expects out of the situation and how things will change if either one catches feelings for the other or decides to get into a committed relationship with another.  As time progresses and feelings begin to change, two individuals in this type of relationship communicate openly about how the initial agreement needs to be amended and decide on whether the relationship is still valid or needs to be let go.

 A FWB relationship can serve as a helpful tool for one to learn what he/she is looking for in a committed relationship and can help one to learn how to communicate and trust.  The best thing about this type of union is the friendship that sits at the base of the relationship.  Being friends before anything provides a certain amount of trust and ease when interacting in an intimate situation, which is needed for a sexual experience to be completely fulfilling.

FWB relationships have a timespan that depends on the two individuals involved. Whether lasting a few weeks or a few years, this type of relationship is one that can be fulfilling beyond sexual activity if both individuals are on the same level of agreement.

A FWB relationship can be unhealthy when one partner is entering into the situation with intentions that haven’t been made clear to the other partner.  Dating expert Stephan Labossiere of explains this scenario perfectly by lending his expertise on how a FWB relationship can be unhealthy.

“The biggest mistake individuals make when attempting to be friends with benefits is not being honest with themselves and the other party about what they truly desire,” he states.

 “Using FWB as a consolation prize to actually having a relationship will likely set the stage for drama later.  Both parties have to genuinely be on the same page, or else it can create greater damage and become a very unnecessary distraction.”

This type of scenario happens often where one person believes that committing so much time to the other with change his/her mind about wanting to be in something committed, but this is the biggest mistake one could make.  Arguments and disagreements can arise when one is being dishonest about their intentions leading to frustration and eventually a “breaking off” of the relationship all together.

So there you have it.  Friends with benefits can be both beneficial and damaging depending on the people involved.  Communication is critical in any relationship whether traditional or non-traditional.  If a FWB relationship is something you would like to try, make sure to discuss the nature of the relationship with the friend you have in mind before jumping into a commitment.

What do you think?


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