There’s hardly a more self-explanatory term in today’s dating world than “friends with benefits.” It’s just a casual arrangement between two people who genuinely trust each other — and can take each other’s clothes off whenever they both agree to it. With a FWB situation, some of the rules are pretty obvious, like setting some clear boundaries and guidelines, and perhaps avoiding too much snuggling. But should you go on dates when you're friends with benefits? Or is that too risky?
FWB is an arrangement that revolves around sex, which suggests that spending time together doing anything else might blur the lines a bit. Then again, friendship is a pretty key component of the whole FWB situation. And you go out to dinner, grab drinks and hit up concerts with friends, so why shouldn't you with a FWB? The concern, of course, is that going on dates might complicate your arrangement — one (or both) of you might catch feelings if you spend more time together outside the bedroom. So, are dates off limits in a no-strings-attached understanding?
According to Pricilla Martinez, online life coach at Blush, it all comes to down your intentions. What do you hope to gain from going on dates with your FWB? Is it just because you enjoy their company and value their friendship? Or are you secretly crossing your fingers it’ll turn into something more?
Being honest with yourself about why you want to try going on dates can help you to assess whether it’s a good idea or not.
“Trying to get the relationship experience from someone who is either unwilling to commit to you is dangerous, but not for the reason people most commonly think of,” she tells Elite Daily. “The danger of having the need met by someone who will not actually move into the role of a true partner is that the distraction makes you unavailable for something more concrete. The time and energy you could be giving to a relationship with potential are taken up.”
Remember that game The Sims? (Confession: I rushed home in seventh grade to waste away hours carefully crafting my fictional families’ lives, but that’s neither here nor there). Martinez says going on dates with a FWB who has no interest in committing to you to is the relationship equivalent of playing that addictive (yet pointless) game.
“You spend a lot of time on it and perhaps hit some milestones, but in the end when you look around you're still sitting on the sofa,” she explains. “You're simulating a relationship.”
According to Martinez, it’s important to remember that there’s a reason why you decided to have a FWB situation as opposed to a committed relationship in the first place. Maybe there’s something about one of both of your lifestyles that makes it difficult to have a relationship, or maybe you’re only really compatible in the physical sense.
“Whatever the factors were that made you a friend with benefits and not a partner would need to be addressed in order for someone to make a deeper investment,” Martinez adds. “It can be an uphill battle, though, since you've already set up the parameters of an open relationship and those aren't easy to change back.”
That said, a FWB situation can certainly blossom into something more. And naturally, that transition would start with going on a real date.
“The key with a friends-with-benefits relationship is to be open, fun and available, but not a doormat,” says Martinez. “If you can strike a balance of power during that phase, then you have better odds of transitioning to a committed relationship.”
It’s pretty much impossible to offer a definitive answer on whether you should or shouldn’t go on dates with a FWB. One thing is for certain, though: it’s important to check in with yourself about your wants and needs first. And it’s even more important to relay that information to your FWB. Otherwise, things could get messy.
If you’re craving a real date with your FWB because you’re curious as to whether there’s potential for something more, it’s best to be up-front with them about it. That way, you can evaluate whether they’re feeling the same way before you get your hopes up. Communication is key in any relationship, but it’s especially critical in these casual arrangements to ensure that no feelings get hurt. If you can be honest with your FWB — and furthermore, yourself — about why you’d like to try going on a date with them, then you’re far more likely to get what you want, whether it’s with them or someone else who’s on the same page.