Between platonic friendships and full-fledged relationships, people get involved in what is spoken about as some sort of unicorn – friends with benefits type of relationships. The great challenge to being intimately involved with a friend is that the rules and boundaries of the relationship are very hard to define, and thus vary widely among couples who find themselves in this state of affairs.
In the U.S., the friends with benefits type of commitments are no longer limited to college students, but instead started to be practiced by wider demographics as well. And so, scholars who study love and intimacy ventured to find out how these relationships work.
If you have any experience with being friends with benefits with someone, you are probably already familiar with the issue of intimacy. More precisely, it’s difficult to pinpoint how far to go in terms of building a relationship with a friend with benefits. Most people who spoke about their casual relationships said they went for this arrangement for two reasons: they didn’t want the strings and obligations of an exclusive relationship, while still wanting to experiment sexually.
The main issue with having a friend with benefits is that, conventionally, people don’t know how to deal with the relationship, even merely for the fact that these arrangements haven’t been around long enough for us to have learned a recipe. If with exclusive relationships, we know where the expectations fall i.e. starting a long-term commitment, and perhaps a family, the same cannot be said about friends with benefits.
One of the most difficult parts of a casual relationship is finding out what is acceptable from both partners’ point of view. Usually, the reason why friendships with benefits end, is that one of the partners want more from the relationship than casual sex. Valuing friendship and intimacy more than the physical part of the relationship is not at all uncommon, and therefore the core reason why friends with benefits affairs tend to not last very long.
So far as we don’t find a way to think about friendships with benefits as something more than provisional relationships, researchers say these affairs are bound to end shortly. On the plus side, friends with benefits relationships are fun and even if they often burn out quickly, they can be more intense than the pursuit of a serious relationship. While perhaps not meant to last, a bit of adventure can do wonders for any girl or guy, and that’s where the magic of dating sites lies too. Let the fun unveil!