No Love For Friends With Benefits

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By Shelley Walton
February 20, 2008 @ 10:50 pm
A new study shows that friends who sleep together may be able to salvage their friendship, but they rarely go on to become something more.
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Looking for love? It's unlikely that you will find it with a friend with whom you have commitment-free sex, says a new study. The study, which appears in the current issue of Archives of Sexual Behavior, found that 60 percent of 125 Michigan State University students surveyed had engaged in sexual activity with a friend. Only one-tenth of those individuals went on to have a committed romantic relationship with their partner. Professor Tim Levine and his former graduate student Melissa Bisson found that 30 percent of students remained friends with benefits, while 36 percent stayed friends but eventually stopped having sex. “So at least for the majority of the people, that (sex) actually didn’t hurt the friendship,” says Levine. But not everyone comes out of a FWB situation unscathed. Toni Coleman, a licensed psychotherapist and founder of Consum-mate.com, believes that a FWB relationship is full of potential pitfalls. “I think the biggest risk [for FWB's] is getting their heart broken and ending up feeling very bitter and angry and resentful toward the other person, even though the other person really took them at face value that this is all that they wanted,” says Coleman. “Just the whole concept of friends with benefits is a real tricky idea, because if he really wants what you want or if she really wants what you want, why aren’t you dating?” Many people share the belief that FWB relationships are too risky, and opt to protect the friendship by avoiding sex with friends. Keith Alberstadt, who wasn’t involved in the study, is a stand-up comic based in New York. He’s on the road a lot and has several female friends. Yet he’s always avoided a FWB relationship. “I've had a few opportunities to get into a friends with benefits relationship with a handful of girls, but in all cases decided against it because I anticipated it possibly hurting our friendship,” Alberstadt said. Women who want romance and hope it will follow after the sex “could be killing any chance of a romantic relationship,” says Coleman. That’s because sex without love might be perceived poorly by your friend, even though he’s doing it, too. While you’re hoping the sex brings the two of you closer and leads to love, your FWB “might not be able to move past the fact that you were friends with benefits first,” she says. Even if you don’t want romance with your FWB, that relationship could sidetrack you from finding love with someone else, warns Coleman. “This is a friend with benefits; there is some kind of an emotional connection. You’re getting close to this person probably on a number of different levels, and so you’re not really open to dating or starting another relationship.” Overall, a friends with benefits relationship is not a good idea, says Coleman. “I think if I were to offer percentages, I would say most of the time it’s probably not a good idea, the reason being that it is sex without love, which can cause a lot of pain to at least one of the people in the relationship,” she said.

Related article: How to turn your friend with benefits into something more.

 


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7 Comments

Lydia
November 19, 2007

I don’t really agree with Coleman. Contrary to popular belief, women can have sex without falling in love… er, so I’ve heard. The real indicator of whether it’s going to work or not is who you choose as your FWB. Pick someone you have chemistry with, but would be TOTALLY inappropriate as a love interest.

I’ve known too many for which a FWB got them through “the lean times” to by into the fact that it doesn’t work.

JJ
November 20, 2007

I don’t know, I had a FWB relationship that I thought was going fine, and then I got super angry at my “friend” when he started talking about other women.  That’s when I knew I couldn’t do the commitment-free physical stuff.

Ray
February 27, 2008

It’s the women that can only make these arrangements work.  If she has it clear she only wants sex and nothing more, most if not all men will stay forever.

Claire
March 21, 2008

I recently just got out of this kind of relationship and three months after, i’m still pretty shaken with the whole experience. I started to want something more after the first time I slept with him, but pushed the idea aside. I got to know him and fallen for him. I cannot get him out of my mind, so i best decided to walk away, with my heart broken. This kind of arrangement is much more delicate than a real relationship because it requires restraint and more often than not, a close heart.

Dumbfounded
May 12, 2008

This whole things is crazy…I think I was dumb when I got into my FWB relationship.  I wasnt exacly sure of the meaning it seems like he had put it as if it was a prelude to a relationship. Even though it was ocasionally I loved it…having sex with him but I couldnt really enjoy it because we werent in a commited relationship and he would get upset about it.  A year later when I ask; “was it ever your intention to start a commited relationship with me?” His answer was; ” I didnt think that far, then he said; ” I would not want to be in a relationship with my best friend chances are if that end so will the friendship” hello we have been at it for a a year…..I just whish I knew more about this FWB thing…cause now Im hurt and wants to b bitter but really…I have no one to blame but myself and so I need to let go sucks that I will also loose the friendship but I have to do it for me not him…...Ther is no such thing as FWB being a prelude to a relationship…that’s what dating is for

_Brittany_
November 20, 2009

ughh..FWBs are the hardest relationships EVER! especially when the you and your FWB are exactly alike…mine just ended 2 days ago, when he got back with his ex girlfriend. i died a little (ok, a lot) inside when he told me..and i knew that it was coming. the 1st time we got together was when he was with this girl 3 years ago. we have been sleeping together ever since…Neither of us have slept with other people..this WHOLE time. i realized about 8 months ago that i was in love with him and that we were perfect for each other. and now i feel like my heart has been ripped out of my chest.. i wish there was a way to take back the whole thing :(
if i had the choice i never would have started this thing…

susan
February 01, 2010

i have had fwb once and it was great we hung out we went on dates and hooked up and when we just both no intersted we just stop doing that. and we still friends like we were before and nobody even can tell that we hooked up ever!!!!!! i never believed in fwb but you just got do it the right way. i good having fwb if your not looking for serious realtionship just somebody chill with. but people that have fwb to long those ones get hurt remember it a fairy tell if your fwb falls in love with you just depends on your type realtionship you have and how open you are with eachother.



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