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We might have that one really good friend to whom we might be physically attracted! Might these friends with benefits make life complicated?
I have written about infidelity, the third partner, the other woman, live-in relationships, marriage etc…but never have I found a relationship as complex and interesting as the one of ‘friends with benefits’. The more you think about how it needs to be played upon and how it is conceived to be, the more irresistibly complex it becomes. I don’t know whether to applaud the concept of this or to cry over the consequences of this.
I don’t want to bore you by talking about the same old beaten up points time and again. There are dozens of articles on the Internet that explain what ‘friends with benefits’ is all about. The Do’s and Don’ts of the relationship. The consequences of it. So much said and even more written about.
Let’s pause for a second and introspect on this. Each of us have that one friend who means a hell a lot to us and is also irresistibly hot, that makes you want a physical relationship too. True? But friends with benefits is not only about that. We meet someone, talk, come up with more similarities than differences, meet for coffee, go on movie marathons with the gang and so on.
In the course of time, there will always be that one friend who becomes more closer than the rest. True, right? That one friend to whom you would open up a bit more.
That friend could be a friend introduced to you by your friend. He/she would have joined the gang through another common friend but that tiny tiny spark between the two as days go by, hits on to you. You just don’t look at him/her as a friend but a little beyond. You dress up well to get noticed. You check him/her out during a house party. But, mind you, this is not someone you fall for but have that friendship tag intact. Yet slowly you start liking them physically too. True?
He/she need not be drop dead gorgeous. Need not have a godly body. It’s more about that instant connect and the similarities of mind-set that works along the way. That’s the major difference between this relationship and falling in love/sex partners. Because that started with the body but ‘friends with benefits’ only gradually gets there. Beautiful, right?
It starts off on a very nice tone. The him and her in the relationship understand the boundaries and what’s in it for them. They understand where the relationship stops. They get real and mature about it.
But, do you know when it starts to get fucked up? When either of the partners begin to own the relationship. Women usually have the tendency to own anything they touch. From MAC to Men. They think it’s theirs. Men on the other hand don’t even own their mistakes. (Pun intended). It’s this basic ethos of both the gender that sparks the beginning of many misunderstandings.
It becomes difficult for the women to hear the man say that he liked someone at work. He went on a dinner date. He kissed a girl in the pub last night. The woman gets all emotional. The “how could you do this to me” phase starts. When a married man does all the above in today’s time, expecting the man in a non-committed relationship to display monogamy is being plain brutal unfair to him.
Having said this, I think that women, want that sense of security in a relationship to be able to hold on to. They need those words of attachment from the other gender to reaffirm that things are fine. It’s partly because they go on a guilt trip if they have sex with a man who is neither a boyfriend or a husband. They aren’t sure if this is right or wrong. They aren’t sure if they would be tagged as a slut for this.
Let’s agree that this isn’t a socially acceptable relationship (yet). It’s even more difficult explaining it to someone who does not understand the concept of it. They would question you immediately ‘so he is just screwing around?’ ‘Is he using you?’ ‘I don’t think you should do this’ ‘it’s time you speak to him some serious stuff’. They make you question your belief system on the whole thing. You come out more confused than what you were.
Stop having the thought of wanting to take it to the ‘next level’. There is no level here. It’s not like Tiramisu to have layers. It’s plain good old curd rice. What you see is what you get. There are no surprises of cutting it open and having chocolate ooze from the middle. No drama of that sort. It’s actually a beautiful relationship. Don’t kill it in the name of commitment.
The beauty of this is to gradually grow and yet be stagnant in terms of where it needs to be.
Don’t trivialize the relationship because it does not evolve to be legal. Don’t look down upon it because there is sex involved. We, especially women have this strong urge to link sex and commitment to be one. WRONG. Need not be. That does not make you a slut. Don’t look down at the relationship. Give it the respect it demands. Give your ‘friend’ the respect he/she deserves. This is your 3 am friend with whom you can talk for hours.
Imagine the level of comfort you get to share at both an emotional level as a friend and a physical level as a lover. It’s a rare combination. Imagine the freedom of calling a friend at 3 noon and telling her/him that you are in the mood for sex and you want him/her to help you masturbate because you need it. It’s okay to cuddle one another after a passionate love making. Don’t start to link every action or a feeling to wanting to be committed to it. It’s the level of love and comfort that one carries to be able to show it.
Imagine the same friend whom you cry to for a tiff you had with your boss. It is a fabulous relationship. Don’t complicate it. Don’t have that ever dying need to take it forward. It is not meant to. It is meant to stay where it is. Enjoy the sex. Enjoy the emotions. Enjoy the fights. Enjoy the love. Enjoy the certainty of it all. It is a relationship that allows you to be who you want to be without being judged upon. It is one which gives you the comfort that is not quite possible to find even with your legal partner. Don’t spoil it by being emotional about it. Relax. Breathe in. Enjoy it.
If your friend has fallen in love with someone else, celebrate that. Be happy. Be genuinely happy. If he/she wants to move away, wish them well.
Don’t make the entire relationship a mockery by trivializing it. Treat it with respect and love that it deserves. I bet that it will turn out to be a life changing one.
Published earlier here.
Image source: friends at a cafe by Shutterstock.
Author of 'Make it 2'.
Extremist. Feminist. Humanist. Mentalist.
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