General Question

Myuzikalsoul's avatar

How many people are there out there who would rather have "friends with benefits" than be in a real relationship? If so, why? Do you believe you will live this way forever?

Asked by Myuzikalsoul (590points) June 1st, 2009

Someone very close to me has sworn off relatonships and has decided to simply keep several friends with benefits. This person and I dated for several years and he now wants me to be one of his “friends”. I am uncomfortable with this and refuse to be a “playmate”. What possesses people to want shallow relationships with people for the rest of their lives?

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30 Answers

MrGV's avatar

Sex without any strings attached is probably one of the biggest reasons why.

DarkScribe's avatar

I spent quite a few years in that situation, it was simply referred to as “dating” back then (the seventies). Being celibate because you aren’t in love seems to be a rather pointless and limiting lifestyle. To keep things on an even keel I would date three or four women at once, with all of them knowing each other. It made for some interesting dinner parties when they would all show up together. (Usually they would arrange the party.)

Jack79's avatar

not just the sex, but the friendship too, is beneficial. These relationships are open and honest. Just like a proper marriage should be.

psyla's avatar

It’s too hippie for me. Too many sexual diseases. It’s an annoying lifestyle where people are graded by who has the highest hormone level today. It opens the door to parasites & beggars. Some people view others as prey.

DarkScribe's avatar

@psyla It’s too hippie for me. Too many sexual diseases.

Back then there was no AIDS, and most other STDs were obvious if ever you had been required to sit through one of the military sexual awareness training films. It was a fun time, the tail end of the sixties and a “let it all hang out” attitude from the feminists trying to surpass the guys in a libido race.

Allie's avatar

A lot of the “friends with benefits” relationships I know of have some kind of agreement that if you start to fool around with another person you’ll tell your “friend” out of respect if nothing else. People who fuck people just to fuck them aren’t friends with benefits in my opinion, those are just easy people.

TaoSan's avatar


You must be this guy!!!

I am unworthy!

DarkScribe's avatar

@TaoSan Well he does look a bit like me – much older though.

TaoSan's avatar


LOL, his blood smells like cologne! He’s my new role model!

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

The sex always complicates things. Friends with benefits is never a long term relationship. It’s essentially one person using another and most people eventually get tired of feeling used.

DarkScribe's avatar

@The_Compassionate_Heretic Real friends, with or without benefits, never feel used by each other. You might be missing the “friends” part of the “Friends with Benefits” descriptor. I know Lesbian women who can provide benefits to real male friends.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

@DarkScribe People that have those kinds of relationships aren’t looking for friendship. They are looking for sex without commitment. Such an arrangement is largely self serving and while it can be fun in the short term, those relationships are ultimately unfulfilling.

DarkScribe's avatar

@The_Compassionate_Heretic People that have those kinds of relationships aren’t looking for friendship.

You have an opinion – I have another one – supported by many years of experience.

Many of the women who I had such a relationship with in the seventies are still close friends – even though now married with grown families. I don’t believe that people go “looking” for such a relationship, the relationship happens first – the “benefits” come later.

psyla's avatar

Um, it’s hard to keep the sex memories out of my head as I smirk at the new spouse, who seems not to like my smirk.

jackfright's avatar

A “real relationship” is far more taxing, and could potentially affect those more focused on their careers. i find a “friend with benefits” is a relationship “as-is” without the strings of what a “real relationship” should be. that in itself is reason enough to pursue this approach.

the sex is just a bonus.

i’d be surprised if most people would want this for the rest of their lives. while i’m in a relationship like this now, i’d like to settle down with someone i could be more intimate with when my lifestyle supports it.

kenbu's avatar

During the time when I’m single, I’d love to have friends with benifits. The more the better. But I would rather a committed relationship with someone I liked/loved.

I’m asuming the op is female, and her friend is a guy. Makes sense this way. Guys don’t need to ‘like’ the girl before they sleep with them. So long as they’re slightly attracted, then that’s fine. The friend just doesn’t want a relationship obviously because he’s had some bad experiences. BUT he still wants sex, the real thing is better than porn. Hence having friends with benifits.

It’s not a ‘shallow relationship’. It’s just fulfilling your disires, satisfying your needs.

hearkat's avatar

Yen years ago I entered into a monogamous, no-strings-attached relationship. He was a nice guy and we enjoyed each other’s company, but he had too much baggage to get involved. We’d spend the weekends together, alternating who picked up the tab, because we conveniently got paid on alternate weeks.

It was fun for a while. He had a great body, was well endowed, and a skilled lover. For me with my history of childhood sexual abuse, having no emotional involvement allowed me to let go of a lot of hang-ups I had. I was able to become comfortable in my own skin and with my sexuality.

But after nearly a year, the emptiness of the sex and the lack of true passion left me wanting more… not with the man I was involved with, but more from a relationship. So I ended it.

A short time later, I met a man with whom I had a very passionate relationship. He was less experienced and a bit insecure, but as our emotional bond deepens, so our lovemaking became much more fulfilling.

Sadly, other issues got on the way of our success. We broke up a few years ago. Now that I have experienced lovemaking in it’s truest sense, I won’t settle for anything less. And I make that clear to the prosective men I’ve dated since.

fireside's avatar

It can become pretty empty.
You start to forget how to actually value your friends because you’re always thinking about whether the two of you should hook up. Even great sex becomes meaningless without that solid emotional connection.

I would much rather be in a loving relationship with one person.
And now I am.

SirBailey's avatar

That’s the life I lead now and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love it. The other parties have to love it as well. I still pay all the checks – I want to. I think that’s the role of the man (yes, I’m old fashioned). A couple of these “friends” live in my building and it works out great. I’m never alone if I don’t want to be. Neither are they.

Jude's avatar

Back in my 20’s I didn’t have a problem with it. Now, I’m not interested. Like fireside said, it can become pretty empty. For me, sex is so much better if you care about the person. And, anyway, I can take care of “bidness” on my own, if need be..

SirBailey's avatar

But I DO care about the person. We care about our friends, no? Especially our good friends.

Girl_Powered's avatar

@SirBailey That’s how it happens sometimes. You get a good friend and if you realize that they need something a little more carnal from you, then you provide it. I have even provided benefits for a girlfriend even though I am not lesbian. I care about her and she fancied me. A lot of my friends are in the same situation, focused on careers, not really into romantic relationships, but still need the physical side of a relationship with someone who they trust and who they feel affection for.

casheroo's avatar

I’ve had them in the past, now I’m married and so glad I don’t have to go through all that establishing where the relationship is (yes, no strings attached sex is still a form of a relationship with someone) I’m glad I found the man I want to sex it up with for the rest of my life.

wundayatta's avatar

I don’t quite get it. It’s hard for me to imagine sex with someone without some pretty strong feelings entering into it. I really don’t understand how people can separate things out like that. I know I can’t.

Myuzikalsoul's avatar

I’m having a very hard time seperating feelings and sex. I don’t think I could do tbe whole dinner party deal that DarkScribe was describing. Just to know that he is sleeping with anyone else makes me sick to my stomach. I definitely wouldn’t be able to hang out with him and another girl that I know he has a sexual relationship with. He asked me to go out with him and two other girls that he randomly hooked up with while we weren’t talking. I felt offended and upset. I of course said no. He apparantly never went. But we dated for years, I still love him. I’m sure that hooking up with him is not a good idea, for me, bc I am only going to get hurt, again. He doesn’t want a relationship he says, bc he always screws them up. Ours he polluted with drugs and lies. It took him leaving me to get away from the drugs (which I still don’t understand, it was never my drug problem). He left bc he didn’t want to “ruin my life” anymore than he alrady had. Now things are going better for the both of us and he wants to hang out. We try to be friends only and not have sex but we can’t keep our hands off eachother! He won’t commit…he says he’s going to sleep with other girls and when he does he will tell me. It’s been 3 months and he hasn’t admitted to sleeping with anyone else… I’m trying to be cool about it and not care, but I can’t help how I feel. I just know this is going to end badly…but I keep participating bc I don’t want to lose him altogether. Part of me hopes he will realize he does want to be with me. I just don’t believe him when he says he will never be a “boyfriend” again.

DarkScribe's avatar

@Myuzikalsoul It is quite fascinating to see how societal attitudes change with regard to dating.

Now it is almost a de facto marriage as soon as you begin dating, but in the past it was normal to experience a number of people before settling on one. In older film, song and literature you will hear the expression “my best girl” – it was quite common. You can’t have a “best” girl unless you are dating several.

If you feel that dating in those days did not involve sex, remember that in many countries, the highest illegitimate birth rate ever recorded (on a per capita basis) was around the time of the First World War.

When I was young there were stages to dating, first was just dating, followed by “getting serious” , then it was “going steady”. Now it is going steady from the second date in many cases. I think that the reason for the increasing failure rate in marriage is jumping to a commitment before you are ready. You date, you have fun, you meet lots of people, you garner sexual experience – then you fall in love. That works – at least it did with me. I am in a very long term, very happy and completely monogamous relationship. More than twenty-five years now.

Myuzikalsoul's avatar

@DarkScribe It’s funny..the picture I have in my mind of what it would be like to hang out with and be friends wih other girls who are involved with the same man (such as at a dinner party) as I, reminds me of what we now call “Reality T.V.”! I just think that’s funny. ..I like the “Best Girl” analogy… but I don’t understand why a man would need anyone else if he already had something great. The grass is always greener on the other side, perhaps, in the moment. May I ask…what made you finally choose the one that you wanted to commit to? What set her apart from and exalted her beyond the excitement that comes with dating several different girls?

DarkScribe's avatar

@Myuzikalsoul but I don’t understand why a man would need anyone else if he already had something great.

He doesn’t necessarily have something great, or at least not recognised as such yet. Liking, respecting and appreciating a “great” girl is not being in love with her.

May I ask…what made you finally choose the one that you wanted to commit to? What set her apart from and exalted her beyond the excitement that comes with dating several different girls?

I fell in love with her, almost instantly. It still took a little while for us to really get together, but once we did that was it. She is my best friend and well as my wife and lover. We never tire of talking to each other, we enjoy each other’s company nearly twenty-eight years later. She is not just attractive, she is very intelligent and caring.

My wife knows four of my exes, and gets on with three of them. She knows that it is just us now, in fact the very fact that I have had a lot of experience elsewhere beforehand probably makes it less likely that I would ever wander. When I met her I wasn’t looking for sexual experience, I had plenty of that, I was looking for romance.

Myuzikalsoul's avatar

@DarkScribe That’s amazing and beautiful. Good for you! :) I’m gathering from what you said that if he doesn’t value me enough by now to be with me, then he probably never will. Although he says he loves me, (how couldn’t you love someone you’ve spent so much time with)... he probably will never be in love with me again. That has to be the problem. I just don’t understand how you can lose someone’s love when all you’ve been is good to them. I’m probably never going to find my answers to this problem. It has consumed so much of my life. We have both moved on before but we always come back to eachother. I feel as though this could go on forever if I let it. In order not to be hurt I’ve tried to re-wire my mind and my emotions towards him. To accept that I love him and be thankful for what time he does give me. And as far as other girls go… I just have to keep telling myself that I am a confident woman. And that I shouldn’t feel a need for confirmation. If he’d rather be with someone else then I should probably find another friend. I feel he is more of an opportunist and a strategist than anything else. He kind of goes where the wind takes him. I just wish I knew why it keeps returning him to me. I don’t want to feel used, I want to feel loved.

DarkScribe's avatar

@Myuzikalsoul This reaction on the part of your exe sort of supports my hypothesis that if you don’t date a lot, “sow wild oats” then you will reach a stage of simply wanting other experience. That destroys lives. If you have that other experience first then it is less likely to hold appeal later.

There is another unfortunate aspect to mature relationships (as against teen/twenty-something) and that is that when a guy is young, finding available woman seems sometimes difficult, but once past thirty you almost have to fight them off if you are all personable.

Single, divorced or separated women tend to flirt a lot with older guys, particularly if they have a good career and some real property. This can trigger “what if” thoughts in the guys. There is a shortage of available men for woman once they get past the “bloom” of their youth. I have watched guy after guy begin affairs that they didn’t really go looking for. Most of them did not have a lot of experience when young. That early experience makes a guy appreciate a good woman later in life , instead of wondering “is there someone better out there”?

Even at my age – fifty-five – I still get hit on fairly regularly. Luckily I really appreciate what I have got – there are not many woman who can come close to matching her.

You realise that once your exe gets burned a few times, he is likely to be wanting to come back. Most men going through this tend to try and get back to what they had once the excitement wears off. Sex aside, it isn’t a lot of fun learning to be with another person. Lots of little areas where clashes occur.

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