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Friends with Benefits VS Casual Dating – Which One Is For You?

The dating norms have changed drastically in the last few years. With online dating, things have taken a 360-degree turn. Most people aren’t into committed relationships anymore. The fear of commitment and finding the right person has given birth to a lot of new dating ideas, such as casual dating or being ‘friends with benefits 

You may have heard the term FWB or Friends with Benefits; the popular Hollywood movie with the same name explains the whole thing aptly. If FWB and casual dating are both about dating without commitment, why are these two different? Which one is better? 

Here’s all you need to know about FWB Vs. Casual dating, and whether either of the two is for you or not. 

Friends With Benefits

The best way to explain Friends With Benefits is that it’s the kind of relationship that lies somewhere between casual dating and a committed relationship. In Friends With Benefits, you have a great friend, no strings attached sex, someone to rely on one, but you are also free to see other people. FWB can also be called the sub-category of casual dating. 

You don’t get jealous, you don’t expect too much, you see each other when convenient, and you feel great about the whole thing; this is basically how being Friends With Benefits works. Friends With Benefits is literally friends who like having uncomplicated sex with each other. They are friends who are into each other for sex only; there is no love or emotions involved. 

But is it all there is to say about being Friends With Benefits? Is it this simple? Why don’t people do it more often if it was this simple? 

The sole focus of Friends with benefits is hooking up with people for a sexual relationship, with no emotions involved whatsoever. To make such a relationship work, there are many limitations and rules. Here’s how you can make the FWB situation work. 

Friends With Benefits Rules and Limitations

Making any relationship work is hard, and if it’s such a confusing one, it takes double the effort. If there is even a slight confusion between partners, the whole thing can go down the drain instantly. 

1. Only Embark on the FWB Journey When You Know You Can Maturely Handle It.

Friends with Benefits, like the movie, sounds very cool and hip, but there is always a downside to everything. Being in an emotionless relationship takes guts and a very mature person. Not everyone is emotionally strong enough to cope with it. 

You may think it’s a casual fling, and you couldn’t care less about it, but it takes a lot to sleep with someone in a non-committal way and not develop feelings in the long run. FWB is mainly a self-centered relationship where you are in it for your own satisfaction; this means you should be clear about your wants and needs. If you aren’t clear about all this, you might hurt your friendship and lose a good friend. 

2. You Can’t Be Friends With Benefits With the Person you Have Feelings For

If he is your crush, or if he ever was, abort the idea. Starting a casual fling for sex with a person you have feelings for is a bad idea. The minute you develop feelings for your FWB partner, the relationship is done for; there is no going back. If you think that you will enter the relationship as FWB and later you can turn this into a serious relationship, you are only putting yourself out to get hurt, and badly too. 

If you think you will lose this feeling and you will keep the emotions at bay, you are highly mistaken. There is no way you will be able to sleep with the guy you like and pretend you don’t have any feelings for him. Emotions get even stronger after sleeping and waking up next to that person. 

The right way to choose a partner for an FWB relationship is to find someone you are attracted to physically, someone who is also compatible with you, but there is no romance involved. Unless it’s emotionless, it’s not going to work. 

3. Don’t Just Choose Anyone

It’s tiresome to find partners just to hook up or for one-night stands. Hence the idea of FWB came into being. This means you should choose your partner wisely to retain them for long, so you aren’t on the lookout every other way. 

To have a long and uncomplicated FWB relationship, you should find a partner to whom you are physically attracted, who is compatible with you, who may share the same tastes in books, movies, or music, and who also is as honest and open about the relationship as you are. Unlike shown in the movie, FWB takes a lot of communication and trust. You can’t just start it on a whim and expect it to work like a charm. 

Not to mention it’s your buddy we are talking about here. Are you willing to risk a long-standing friendship for sex? Isn’t it better to have a flirtationship than an FWB relationship? 

4. Spell Out the Boundaries Before Jumping into Bed 

Having a clear idea of friends with benefits is important before initiating sex. This isn’t your one-night stand; this is a friend we are talking about, someone you know. So, have clear boundaries. Hazy boundaries will only lead to an irreparable disaster. 

9 out of 10 people jump into an FWB relationship just for the sake of sex. However, it’s more than just sex. The relationship isn’t as casual as it may seem. Have your expectations spelled out for your partner, and know his end of the stick as well to avoid any mishaps later. Most people enter FWB relationships for a good sexual relationship, but there are many who like to hang out and do other stuff. So, know your preferences beforehand. 

5. It may not be Fake, but it’s not Real Either

Seeing someone for a long time does tend to make one emotional. Keep repeating, ‘it’s not real’ like a mantra, and you will be good. If you are even remotely attracted to your buddy, it’s a bad idea to have an FWB relationship with them. You will only push your buddy away; you might even lose him if he strictly wants a non-committed relationship. 

No strings attached seem really cool in theory, but it’s as complicated as a relationship, even more so since there are so many thin lines. Looking for the right guy takes time. If you want to let out steam in between your search, FWB is a good idea, but if you are an emotional person, this isn’t your cup of tea. 

6. Keep Jealousy At Bay

How are you with the green-eyed monster? Is he in your control, or does he rule your system? If you are a jealous person by nature, maybe the FWB situation isn’t the best deal for you. When it comes to casual relationships like FWB, there is nothing exclusive. You will not be the only one in the picture or in the bed, to be precise.

Know that you can’t get jealous. You can’t demand time, effort, and affection just because you are sleeping with the person. There may be other people they may be seeing, and you can do the same. Moreover, you don’t owe anyone any explanation, you don’t tell him about your other adventures, and he keeps his others from you as well. 

If you think you can handle the crowd and not be treated as the exclusive girlfriend, this is the right thing for you. But if you think you might get jealous and complain, this isn’t for you; step away from the guy and the idea. 

7. Cut Out The Cuddling

There can be emotionless sex, but there can’t be emotionless cuddling. Hugging, cuddling, and spooning are different levels of emotions that are enjoyed with committed partners and long-standing friends. You can’t bring that into a casual relationship like friends with benefits. 

If you think this is an exaggeration, there is science behind these words. Did you know cuddling or hugging after sex releases the hormone called Oxytocin; also known as the bonding hormone? Since it happens on a subconscious level, you start feeling the attachment gradually. It builds slowly and steadily. Hence it’s a BIG NO for casual relationships. 

Hugging, in general, is not a deal-breaker, but the emotions run high after sex, so you should be careful of your next step after sleeping with your FWB’s partner. 

8. Be Honest If You Develop Feelings

What’s worse than developing feelings for your FWB partner? Hiding those feelings. If you do develop feelings for your casual partner, it’s better to end the whole charade. You don’t have to come clean; just say it’s not working for you and it. But to keep going in the hope that your partner will someday reciprocate these feelings is playing with fire. 

You can also come clean if you think there is a remote chance that they may have the same feelings for you, but the chances of that happening are really low. When someone enters the friends with benefits pact, they are fully ready to keep their emotions aside. 

How to Know Your Partner is Falling for You in Friends with Benefit Situation

You may not always be at fault in the FWB relationship. If you have a feeling your partner is falling for you, you need to know if it’s just a feeling or if there is any truth behind this. But how to know? Should you straight up ask them? Well, there are subtle ways of finding out whether you are right or wrong. Ask yourself the following questions before asking your partner if they have feelings for you. 

  • Have they started casually probing or asking you about other people that you may be seeing? if 
  • Are they running errands for you?
  • Do they surprise you with gifts on the regular?
  • Do they watch you while you are looking away? 
  • Are they hinting at dating in the future? 
  • They are giving you more time than usual with you; this excludes sex?

If the answers are yes to most of these questions, your friends with benefits relationship may be in trouble. Think hard about how you feel about this, and then have a serious talk with your partner. 

Friends with benefits is an easy relationship to have; you need to be highly in control of your emotions to date a person for sex only. If you think you can handle all these limitations, by all means, jump into the pool. But if there is even the slightest chance of you falling in love with your friend, we suggest you step away from the idea. 

Casual Dating – The Many Challenges that Lay Ahead

Man and Woman Kissing Under the Sun

There are many similarities between casual dating and having a Friends with benefits relationship. Read the most common rules of casual dating to know how different the two are and which one suits you the most. 

Casual Dating is not Sexual

Compared to friends with benefits, there is hardly any sex in casual dating; most people don’t go third base with their casual dates. Many people think casual dating is the synonym for casual sex, but that’s not how it works. Casual dating is similar to a committed relationship, just without the commitment part. It may seem like a normal relation to many, for example. 

  • Partners use the word date instead of hookup.
  • There is a fair amount of texts or calls between the partners.
  • They make plans to see each other for dinners or other fun activities.
  • They have strong communication. 
  • Thye mostly spend non-sexual time together
  • There is no need to mix sex with casual dating, but there is no rule that says you can’t either. 

Some people are Asexual, or some people have been traumatized enough to swear off sex; in such cases, they find it hard to date normally, So casual dates work for them; they don’t need to spend the night, they can have a makeout session that doesn’t have to lead to sex, they can even have a sleepover fo it doesn’t involve sex. 

However, like friends with benefits, you need to set goals and boundaries for your partner or partners. Both of you need to be on the same page and know the rules of casual dating. Here are the rules loud and clear. Read them till the end to know if this is what you need from your relationship.

1. Know Your Needs

Casual dating seems like a cool idea, where you have no strings attached. But it’s not for everyone. You may love the idea, but it may be difficult for you to find a partner who is down with the same as you are. Many may not be keen on dating casually without any commitment. 

So, before presenting the idea to a potential partner, know your needs and requirements for the relationship. Your partner may want to add his needs to the relationship too. Between the two of you, you need to have a set idea of what you need from each other and whether you can offer what’s being demanded. 

2. No Secrets

There should be no hidden agendas when you are casual dating. Let your partner know why you are casual dating, whether you have been through a toxic relationship or you don’t want anything serious for the time being. The only way you can make your casual relationship work is to have open communication. 

Not only that, you both need to sit and set ground rules, have limitations, and define things that may cross the line of your relationship. This also includes sex and other sexual activities. 

3. Put Yourself First

Most people in a casual relationship enter the casual dating scene due to their murky past. If you are the same, don’t repeat your mistakes and put yourself first. However, most people think this is what they need, but when they do get into one, they don’t like it, or it doesn’t turn out to be what they need. 

For a serious dater or a monogamist, it’s hard to have a casual date. If people around you are casual dating and if you feel that you need to jump the bandwagon, think again. The scene may look cool from the outside, but it’s not for everyone. Especially not for someone that easily gets attached and finds it hard to let go. 

4. Regular Check-ins

Being casual doesn’t mean there is no care or consideration. Like every relationship, casual dating also needs regular check-ins. You need your partner to be on the same page, so keep inquiring about how the relationship is working for them. Give space to your partner to voice their opinions. 

Your partner should be able to freely express their discomfort, present a new suggestion or idea or even end things without fearing your reaction. 

5. If The End is Close, Let it Be Known

Since the dynamics of casual dating is way different than committed dating, things are different when it ends. If you think you jumped into a casual relationship immaturely, you need to let this be known. 

There are multiple reasons one may want to end a casual relationship; maybe this isn’t what you need, maybe your partner isn’t getting your needs, or perhaps you are getting too attached. No matter what the reason may be, you need to let your partner know that you need to end this here. 

They have invested time in this relationship as much as you have. They deserve to know that it’s better if you do it in person, as breaking up over a text is considered rude, even in a casual dating scene. 

6. Prepare to be Judged

Casual dating may be popular on Instagram, but here’s a reality check, not everyone is into casual dating. You may get a lot of judgemental comments from friends and family, but you know that you need to stick to your guns. 

If you stay true to yourself and communicate what you need, things will settle down soon enough. And even if they don’t, it will stop bothering you if you are clear in your mind about what you need. 

Are Casual Relationships Worth the Hype?

Every relationship is a different experience. No matter how hard you work on them or how hard you try, you can’t force people to stay in a relationship. This is the reason why casual dating works. It’s effortless; you don’t have to beg people to stay, to love you, to be with you. In a casual relationship, partners are there for their own convenience. They can up and leave anytime; this makes the relationship easier and breathable. 

There is nothing wrong with being a serial dater or a casual dater as long as your partner knows you aren’t into serious relationships. The only people who won’t benefit from casual dating are the ones looking for love and a permanent commitment. Someone who wants to settle down for life shouldn’t get into casual dating. 

If you are high on commitment, if you are too possessive, and if you need exclusivity, the casual dating scene isn’t for you. It will only add unnecessary stress to your life. 

How Long Can A Casual Relationship Work For?

On average, casual relationships can go up to 3 months, they can also end in a couple of weeks, it all depends on your dynamics with your partner. However, it’s suggested not to keep it going for more than three months. You don’t want to rely too much on your casual partner or give them any funny ideas.  

Which Is Better – Casual VS Friends with Benefits

It totally depends on what you need. For someone who is looking for hangouts and an activity partner without any commitment, casual dating is the answer. However, if you need sexual intimacy, friends with benefits should be more of your jam. 

Derek Ma

As a project manager with 10+ years of experience in dating service, I totally understand how dating platforms work. Online dating is convenient but could be challenging with both good and bad, I would like to share my insights with you :)

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