by Lorraine Jones
In our current hookup culture, friends with benefits is a very common type of relationship among Millennials. This type of relationship is typically formed when two people want the sexual benefits of a relationship but don’t want the emotional and romantic connection.
Simone Collins, The Pragmatist Foundation, wrote the best selling books: The Pragmatist's Guide to Relationships and The Pragmatist's Guide to Sexuality with his husband. In his book, The Pragmatist's Guide to Relationships, he discusses the science behind how catching feelings works. Catching feelings is when every FWB relationship gets a little bit complicated.
“People become friends with benefits because doing so requires asking for less than any other relationship contract requires—it's an ask that is easier to make (even if it results in more cumbersome complications with time),” said Collins. Collins believes that our culture has created unspoken rules and implications that come along with labels such as friends, friends with benefits, dating, open relationships. These titles act as an implied contract with the ‘Do’s and Don'ts’ of a relationship. “If you tell someone they are a friend of yours, it is implied that you will not sleep with their exes even if you never explicitly agreed to that aspect of your implied social contract. Friends with benefits is one way to add sex to a friendship contract without implicitly agreeing to the more comprehensive rulesets associated with dating someone,” said Collins.
Collins believes that when in an FWB relationship it is almost virtually impossible to not catch some sort of feelings. It’s in our nature to form some sort of emotional bond especially when you spend a lot of time and communicate every day with that person. “Attempting to have a sexual relationship with someone with whom you also spend a ton of time while promising not to catch feelings is a little silly, as developing a stronger emotional attachment is almost an inevitability,” said Collins.
Roger Senpai, writer of ‘The Senpai Blog’, has been in numerous friends with benefits relationships with women he’s encountered in his lifetime. These relationships usually last a few months, some of which Senpai still keeps in contact with. According to Senpai, most of these relationships formed into a FWB arrangement simply because of their circumstances; both too busy to commit to a full-time relationship but still wanted to enjoy each other’s company from time to time. In his opinion, Senpai thinks it's important to keep communication to a minimum to eliminate the risk of moving into a committed relationship. “Sometimes I would text them once every few days or send them a quick text. But the important thing is to only see them maximum once a week,” said Senpai.
Senpai admits he has caught feelings before in a FWB relationship. To him, this isn’t the worst thing that could happen. According to Senpai, you can have feelings and appreciate your partner without having to commit to a full relationship. “I’ve been in both situations where a girl likes me so much that she would be ready to commit to me, even if I wasn’t. And I’ve also been treated poorly when a girl just wanted to have sex and nothing to do with me afterward,” said Senpai. Catching feelings is only an issue if it's one-sided and you both aren’t on the same page.
FWB is similar to any relationship; there's good and bad, ups and downs. “You can enjoy the intimacy of being with someone without having to commit your time and emotions full-time to a partner. However, that also means you miss out on the nice things of having a committed partner: going out and doing activities with them, introducing them to your friends/family, changing your Facebook status to “In A Relationship,” sharing your most secret thoughts and feelings,” said Senpai.
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