Going home for any reason might often come hand-in-hand with a very specific, often annoying, question. You know the one: "Are you seeing anyone? Is there someone special?" But what if your "someone special" isn't your partner, but rather, more of a friend with benefits? Is it ever a good idea to make them your plus one? Should you introduce your FWB to your family, or is that just asking for things to get complicated?
To get to the bottom of this question, I reached out to experts for their take on if and when you should consider introducing someone you're keeping it casual with to your family. For the most part, the experts all agreed that you're better off keeping your FWB to yourself, but, in some rare cases, they say it’s OK to bring them home. "It depends on the word ‘friend’ in friends with benefits," Dr. Nikki Goldstein, sexologist and relationship expert, tells Elite Daily. "Was there a friendship before it became sexual or is this someone you are just friendly with and sleep with?" she asks, and adds that it can also depend on how much time you've known your FWB.
"If they are someone who has been in your life for some time or who you plan on keeping around, then there might be times when there is an event and you want to bring a plus one, a birthday and you want them there." But what if this person is someone you've recently started seeing, or you aren't sure about where the friendship is going? In that case, the experts say it's probably not a good idea to introduce them to your family. Here are the reasons why.
Meeting the family is a big step in a relationship, and usually one reserved for partners you are taking seriously. This is why Carino says it’s risky to take that step with someone you have a casual relationship with, as they may misinterpret your intentions and feelings as a result. “This person may also get the impression that you want to take the relationship more seriously and this can lead them on,” she warns.
It’s not only your date’s feelings you need to consider, Steven Reigns, a licensed marriage and family therapist, tells Elite Daily, but your own too. By taking this step, you may also run the risk of confusing your own feelings and attachment to your FWB. “Most of the time a FWB is occupying the middle ground between friendship and relationship because they’re falling short of your relationship standards. An introduction to family that goes well could emotionally confuse you into thinking there is greater potential with that partner than there actually is,” warns Reigns.
Of course, there is one more party involved in all this who could be affected by your choice to introduce your FWB, and that’s your family. For one thing, it could just be really confusing for them. “An introduction might also give your family the misguided idea that this might be a future member of the family or that it is a substantial relationship interest for you,” explains Reigns. There is also the risk that your family will really like your FWB and not understand why it can’t be more serious, which may lead to more pressure from them to define the relationship. “Your family might start to try and convince you to get more serious with this person, even though you have previously made up your mind about their position in your life. If they really like them and keep talking about them in this way it could become confusing,” says Dr. Goldstein.
While there are no set rules of who you introduce your family to and when, the fact is that it can layer complications onto a dynamic that is inherently already complicated, so it should be done very thoughtfully. But there is one more thing to consider, says Carino, and that’s why you want you family to meet them at all. “If this person means enough to you that you want your family to meet them, you should be asking yourself about why you want to make this introduction,” she says. “We don't go introducing every new friend we make to our family, why would this be different? If you want to do the introduction, this person may mean more to you than just a friend and you need to explore that.”
All the more reason to pump the brakes on bringing your FWB home until you know what it will actually mean to you, your date, and your family. Who knows, maybe they won’t just be your FWB for long.