Friends with Benefits; it’s a simple title with complex properties. If you don’t believe me, let me tell you the about the tragic comedy of “Marcus” and “Tammy.” They were good friends. As good as any two friends could be. The rule of ‘boy meets girl’ didn’t apply to their platonic, ten-year old friendship. Until one lonely, lustful night Tammy called Marcus over for emotional support over her recent breakup. She wound up panting and trembling underneath his half parted lips. Mm hmm, they had sex. And thus, the friendship transformed into a sexual one in nature. As time went on, she initiated stability and eventually he became a rolling stone. The friendship had taken an awkward turn. He began to avoid her calls and messages. When she could get a hold of him, he spoke vaguely about the details of his personal relationships and all other aspects of his life. He was strategically shutting her out and slowly withdrawing from the friendship. She became frantic at the idea that she was losing her good friend and lover, so she did the only thing she could think to do. Tammy confessed her earnest affections for the man. Her exact words were, “From the top of your bald head, to the bottom of your crusty toes, I love you [Marcus]!”
Chick Code #0024: Friends With Benefits
I don’t think I need to tell you how this one ended. The truth is, situations like this don’t really end when you are the one receiving the blows. They turn into steaming piles of corn-speckled feces that stain our impending relationships. Friends with benefits (FWB) is not a relationship that you absentmindedly dive into, soon you’ll find that the waters are shallow and murky.
I’ve put together what I think are the 11 most important rules to having a friend with benefits. Ladies, if you’ve ever felt the colossal blow of losing a friend after having one or multiple sexual encounters, (I see you, girl!) this one’s for you! The rules are pretty straightforward and if you trust what I say, you won’t ever spend a night in your mu-mu, shoving Half-Baked ice cream and Twinkies down your gullet again.
THE GROUND RULES:
1. Do Not Fall In Love! Don’t even fall in like! You see, going in to this type of friendship, you have to have the maturity of aged wine. FWB is not something you get into expecting it to blossom into a relationship. Do yourself a favor, and doom the relationship from the start, cause it’s going to end at some point. The common denominator here is sex. Nothing more, nothing less. Don’t waste time convincing anyone, especially yourself, that it will ever be anything more than sex.
2. Choose Your FWB Wisely! Be discerning about whom you choose to have this special relationship with. Please learn from my friends “Marcus” and “Tammy,” don’t have casual sex with a good or best friend. Sex has been held responsible for hammering destructive cracks into the foundation of many friendships; one person usually wants something that the other doesn’t. Be wary. Exes are not allowed to be FWB because there is too much emotional history and physical familiarity and somehow the “strings” usually try to reattach themselves. You with me so far? Good. And do not; I repeat do not sleep with someone who is over qualified to be your FWB. This is a catastrophic oversight that many women fail to reflect on. A man who has all the qualities you are looking for in a romantic relationship, a loving relationship, is the absolute worst FWB you could ever have. You are asking for heartache when you ask your perfect man to screw the juices out of you and treat you like “pal” afterwards. Unless you are a sadist and enjoy the self-torture, I recommend choosing someone you are attracted to—physically, alone.
3. Don’t Get Too Close! Do not hug or kiss him too much, or become too affectionate towards him. Never go out on a date with your FWB. Don’t cook for the man, don’t celebrate special occasions with him (unless you are giving him some birthday nooky), and if he has children, you are not supposed to form a nurturing bond with them and vise versa. I don’t have an exit strategy for parting from children caught up in adult situations. I don’t think there is a solid one out there. Just don’t get children involved. It’s messy as hell. And for your own sake, don’t ever bring up your hypothetical baby Tyquan or the hypothetical first wedding dance as husband and wife. You might think you’re being harmless and cute but he’s probably picturing a boiled rabbit on his stove.
4. Do Not Call, Text, Email, Facebook, or Tweet Him Too Much. You will appear to be either insecure, anxious, obsessive, aggressive, crazy, in love, addicted, or a toxic combination all of the above! Be mature about the situation. Be a woman of class and appeal. You have better things to do than to constantly reach out to a man who is seeking that one thing. You need to remember that he only wants that one thing because you presented yourself as a woman who wanted the same exact thing. Get your fill and don’t ask for more later.
5. STFU! Just keep it low-key. The whole world doesn’t need to know about your FWB! It’s a special thingie (and that’s a technical term) that the two of you share when you’re all alone. Every friendship or relationship should be based on trust. In this situation your silence equals trust. Really, you have no obligations to each other except to have a good time, “make whoopee”, and shut up about it. You both share your libidinal energy in a sacred way and Facebook and Tumblr don’t need to know about it. Neither does your cousin, co-workers, or any of your “followers.” Having a FWB is a lot like taking a trip to Vegas, what goes on between the two of you remains between the two of you.
6. Don’t Even Think About It! Don’t read too much into the things that he says. Despite all the ink spilled otherwise, a man is not bound to his word. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard my girlfriends say, “But he says I’m ‘perfect’ and that ‘any man would be lucky’ to be with me”, and take that as a sign that he wants the relationship to progress. Take it for what it is, a compliment. Don’t milk his words and try to turn them into Swiss cheese. The time you spend together should be infrequent and casual. Don’t put yourself in any intimate situation with him. And do not overextend your services to him. (E.g.: favors, money, your car, your skills, your home, your cell phone plan…you get the memorandum.)
7. Make Sure He Is Single! Save yourself the drama of getting caught up with someone else’s man. Even though taken men may seem like a good option based on their emotional unavailability, they are the worst in terms of the drama they bring into your peaceful existence. They tend to say terrible things about their significant other and compare her failures to your triumphs. This is a common tactic most men will use to keep the sexual integrity of the relationship. Don’t settle for a mistress position in any man’s life. And keep in mind that you would want the same respect from another woman once you have a relationship of your own. (I’m going off the assuming that you are single too.)
8. Don’t Get Comfortable! This type of relationship isn’t designed to be permanent. Accept that this is a temporary, and brief relationship that will come to its inevitable end. The best thing you can do to keep your pride intact is to end it before he does. But leave him with a pinch of dignity. Let your FWB down easy, after all, you were cool before the shenanigans went down and perhaps you still appreciate his company. Weather you’ve shared one or multiple experiences with this person, you should let him know that you enjoyed the special connection with him, but it’s time to move on to other ventures in life. Don’t spend too much time explaining yourself. There is no need for specifics or unnecessary details. He’s a big boy—he’ll be fine.
9. Don’t Get Jealous. Even your mind. Oh, you didn’t know I was a Jedi, did you? Well I can see everything going on in your pretty little head. Ya can’t fool me. Don’t look through his phone, or his social broadcasts, and don’t ask him questions that you believe you can handle the answers to. Ten times out of ten, you can’t. And then you’ll leak all of your makeup on my shoulder like I didn’t offer you a napkin.
10.No Sleep Overs—EVER! If a dollar were direct deposited into my account every time a woman snoozed with her FWB, I wouldn’t need to be writing this right now. I’d be on my private island sipping piña coladas for the rest of my lavish existence. But that just isn’t the case. And you can’t plead a good one if you’ve ever made this error in judgment. Falling asleep and waking up to your FWB is emotional fatality! I get it. It’s tempting. It’s comfy and cozy as hell, but that’s how a lot of people begin their delusions that the sexual friendship can transform into a potential relationship. If you like to be held afterward, fine, I can be flexible, but don’t snuggle for more than a few minutes. Any longer than that and you will be pillow talking. Pillow talk is FWB-kryptonite. It will deprive you from using your super sexual powers for the good of womankind by filling your psyche with hallucinations and irrationality. Don’t ever do it!
11. Be Honest. Start with yourself. Are you emotionally ready and responsible for this type of relationship? Do watch romantic comedies more than once a month? Can you trust this person to be discreet and respectful of your boundaries? Invite an open conversation about your concerns, thoughts, and questions. Talk about being FWB before it even happens. My friend “Tammy” could never imagine “Marcus” hurting her the way he did. If they communicated frankly from the start the pain could have possibly been avoided.
12. Be Safe. There are so many methods available for protection, choose one or more. The resources are all around and these days they couldn’t be easier to reach. As a woman, you should be proud to exercise your right to guard your Holy Grail. If he tells you that he’s “good”, “clean”, “sterile”, or is a “master puller-outer”, RUN! That guy doesn’t care about your safety or his own. He has no right to call himself your FWB. He is a danger to your livelihood.
In theory, Friends with Benefits works best when less emphasis is put on the emotional connection and more energy is put toward reaping the “benefits” of this association. FWB should be fun, casual, and comfortable. It shouldn’t feel like you’re in an awkward situation. If it does, you’re doing it wrong! Check your situation before you pay a price higher than you bargain for.
Respect yourself and protect yourself!