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Submitted by maggie on April 2, 2010 – 6:33 pmComments

My friends and I have been running experiments on the durability of the friends-with-benefits relationship.  Many of our peers are searching for their soul mate — or simply someone to hold hands with and split sundaes.  We want to live our lives independently and satiate our sexual needs without emotional commitment.  After experiencing long term relationships and promise rings and wehave opted to shelve these symbols of solidarity for the moment.  Over the past year we have developed standards, requirements, and rules we employ to regulate these relationships to the best of our ability and for our greatest benefit.

A friend-with-benefits should most importantly be a friend.  If it’s a stranger you run the risk of not knowing their personality, which could lead to not liking them as a person.  This may not seem like a problem, but if you cringe every time the person opens their mouth, chances are it won’t last very long - unless they’re into gags.  Being friends also includes a pre-existing trust that is necessary to ensure discretion.  Open lines of communication are integral to success.  The definition of the relationship needs to be laid out from the beginning so both parties are clear on the expectations.  This will help to avoid future confusion and serve as a reminder to keep emotions out of the bedroom.

It is admittedly hard to not develop feelings for someone with whom you are intimate.  Keep the meetings between the sheets from becoming too frequent and beware of tender moments. We all have different triggers that we consider “emotional” and once these have been identified they are easily avoided.  Examples range from no kissing, to no holding hands, to a twenty minute post conjugation departure rule.  Whatever you need to do to keep yourself distant, do it.

If your friend is just so incredible that you find yourself crawling with feelings and falling rapidly in like, you must be up front with yourself and with them.  The danger of friends-with-benefits is that people can get hurt if expectations differ.  Luckily, they were your friend to start with and you’re probably awesome enough that they’ll like you back.

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  • Karen
    When my boyfriend and I started dating many years ago, it was understood that we were f*ck-buddies except that word was so coarse-sounding so he proposed we call ourselves "love-buddies" instead. Uuuhhhh...no. It's amazing we survived that moment.
  • livogel
    in Lori Gottlieb's Marry Him, she discusses how girls always get the crap end of this deal--how our tastes really are often different than men's--at least over time as we get older--and how we never reassess our interest in a friends with benefits-like deal. I think she's wrong bc sometimes this really is all a relationship is--anyone? anyone?
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