What Does Friends with Benefits Mean?

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Are you wondering what “friends with benefits” actually means? Perhaps you’ve heard the term come up in movies and TV shows, have seen the acronym FWB or are simply trying to figure out if it’s the right kind of relationship for you. Whatever the case may be, in order to make a friends with benefits relationship work, it’s important to understand what this kind of casual connection truly means and entails.

What is a friends with benefits relationship? In the most basic sense, a friends with benefits relationship is one in which two people are physically intimate with one another, yet they’re not committed to each other in any way. In other words, people involved in a friends with benefits relationship clearly enjoy spending time together and hooking up, but their relationship isn’t romantic and has no strings attached.

Is a friends with benefits relationship right for you? If you’re thinking about entering into a friends with benefits relationship, there are five key points to keep in mind that’ll help you determine if this casual connection is truly beneficial for you in every respect.

1. You’re not looking for a committed relationship with this person. If you want to be friends with benefits with someone, it’s important that you enter into this kind of relationship fully acknowledging, understanding and accepting what this means for both of you.

This person isn’t your boyfriend or girlfriend, and this can have both its advantages as well as disadvantages depending upon your current wants and needs. In this regard, it’s important to recognize that this person isn’t going to be able to provide you with the emotional support and care that are typically demonstrated by a significant other in a committed relationship, such as lending a shoulder to cry on, attending family events and/or spending a romantic evening out together.

2. You and this person are on the same page about your FWB relationship. When you enter into a FWB relationship, you should openly and honestly discuss and agree upon the nature of your connection right from the start. In other words, in order to avoid confusion, hurt feelings and misread signals, you should be totally forthright and in complete accord with each other about the nature of your FWB relationship. That way, your no-strings connection can be as problem-free as possible.

3. This is the kind of relationship that you truly want with this person. Along these lines, it’s imperative that you enter into a friends with benefits relationship because it’s what you really want with this other person. You shouldn’t agree to a FWB relationship because it’s the only thing that he or she’s offering you, and/or you’re hoping that you can one day turn your connection into something more. In order to avoid heartache in the future, you have to fully understand what you’re signing up for today so that this non-committed relationship doesn’t leave you feeling unfulfilled and unimportant. And while it’s certainly possible for a FWB relationship to transition into something more over time, you’re likely heading for heartbreak if this is your goal from the outset.

4. Understand that this person may be with other people. If you’re thinking about entering a FWB relationship, it’s also important to keep in mind that your connection isn’t a monogamous one. In fact, either of you is free to date more people, have other FWB relationships and/or play the field as much as you’d like. And in addition to protecting your physical health, it’s important that you protect your emotional health by understanding that your FWB relationship can end at any time and for any reason.  

5. You both enjoy the FWB relationship. In order for a FWB relationship to work out, it has to fulfill your needs as well as his or hers. And while you may enjoy hooking up and being intimate, these types of relationships can only be successful if you’re both completely content with the arrangement.

For instance, if your FWB relationship makes you happy in the moment but then later fills you with regret and disappointment, it’s not the right choice for you. Or if this casual connection is preventing you from putting yourself out there and going after the kind of committed relationship you see for yourself in the long-term, your FWB connection is anything but beneficial.