Friends With Benefits turning into relationships

If surveys can be trusted, Friends With Benefits (FWB) relationships are on the rise. The most recent Singles in America study found that 47% of singles (40% of women, 53% of men) reported having had FWB relationship in the past. Each year an increase in these relationships turning into long term relationships is being reported, and 33% of singles say their FWB turned into a committed relationship.

There are a number of theories floating around about why and how this is occurring. For some, it’s all about our fast-paced world and the role of convenience, for others, it’s about social changes that allow for people to have casual sex and connect from there- as opposed to the old courtship model. Some say you can truly be yourself once you get the sex part over with- it’s all easier once you have been naked together. Sounds a little like a scene from Annie Hall.

Studies like this are casting doubt on all those warnings from experts about hook-ups and how guys don’t want girls who do, etc. I’m not persuaded that things have changed that much. I work with many young, very attractive and successful guys- and they often talk about how hard it is to meet “nice” girls who respect and like themselves, know who they are- and don’t sell themselves short by being too free with who they are intimate with. I know, sounds like a double-standard- but women also have many of these feelings and look guys who haven’t been with a lot of women.
Yes, the world has changed and folks can have a FWB’s relationship and fall madly in love and end up in a happy marriage. But what about all those unhappy endings that result from these? Those early morning moments of awkwardness, or slipping out in the middle of the night because you’d rather not wake up together, the I’ll call you about Saturday night that leads to hearing from him again when he wants a hook-up- and then there are those who walk away with something that will never go away- and it isn’t the guy- or girl I’m talking about.

Anyone can get lucky- but making good choices and respecting yourself will never go out of fashion and will help protect you from some of the hurt and fallout that can happen when we hook up with a friend. Feelings are not something we have complete control over. You can fall in love. You can get your heart broken when he (or she) meets the person of their dreams. If it’s just sex, take precautions and run like hell as soon as you feel something you know isn’t reciprocated.

Author: Toni Coleman

Toni Coleman, LCSW, CMC is an internationally recognized dating and relationship expert and founder of Her expertise is sought frequently by local and national publications and top ranked dating and relationship websites and she has been a guest on a number of radio and TV programs. She is the featured relationship coach in “The Business and Practice of Coaching,” (Norton, September 2005); the author of the forward for, “Winning Points with the Woman in Your Life, One Touchdown at a Time;” (Simon and Schuster, November 2005) - and her popular relationship articles can be found in several magazines and a number of self- help, personal growth and dating/relationship websites. Toni holds a Master’s degree in Clinical Social Work, is a licensed psychotherapist in the state of Virginia, and earned a certification in life coaching.

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