Between the Sheets: Playing nice

Tips for a healthy friends-with-benefits relationship

By Viv Steele, Everyone’s Best Friend

Sometimes a person doesn’t have time for a serious relationship. Maybe they don’t even have the time to date. Their lives are so full of classes, part-time work, and social obligations that the thought of sitting across a table from a stranger, making small talk for the hour-long-minimum length of time is the very last thing they want to do. That hypothetical person would probably rather spend their free hour catching up on Portlandia or folding laundry.

But maybe that hypothetical person (let’s just say it’s me) also has an itch that needs to be scratched. So what do I do? I turn to the joys of the “friend with benefits,” someone you already spend time with and feel comfortable with and who you find attractive enough to roll around in the hay with for a bit (and who feels the same about you). This person could be a close friend or an acquaintance, and they’re probably not someone who you want to burn through, or hurt, or cast to the side.

So how do you keep those sweet benefits flowing while maintaining a strong friendship? The key is to keep the friendship part of the equation strong. One person in the partnership could start to feel used if the arrangement devolves into this kind of pattern: meet up, take clothes off, and go straight to bed.

Make sure, when you’re talking to your special fuck friend, to keep the conversations like they used to be: full of friend stuff. Continue to talk about your shared interests and remember the reasons you were friends to be begin with.

At the risk of sounding like a drill sergeant, I should add that it’s important to have some rules. Make it clear that if you do meet someone who you want to have a serious relationship with, the friendship between you and your lover will be able to switch back to normal mode. Devise a way to communicate to each other when it’s time to put on the brakes; like, for example, if one half of the arrangement develops feelings beyond the previously-agreed-upon “Hey-let’s-just-fuck” agreement.

If feelings are developed on just one side of the arrangement, it can be a recipe for a broken heart and a shattered friendship. So keep the communication open: it’s better to deal with issues of the heart as they come up, and not let them fester like a leg wound that will later have to be amputated. Above all, honour and respect the friendship that got you two together to begin with. The extracurricular sexcapades will help you blow off some steam, but remember that it came about because you just really like to hang out with each other.