Relationships are such murky waters to wade. People can metamorphose into monsters or angels while in a relationship, conflicts and issues are all magnified and dissected and the line between right and wrong seems to change constantly. When faced with any problem, what does a man do? Find a way to remove it or solve it or make things better, that's what. So what's the answer, have all the "benefits" of a relationship but not "be" in one? This is the basic idea behind the "friends with benefits" type of relationship.
This is not a case of taking friendship to the next level, rather it involves bringing the next level alongside friendship. The whole idea of "Friends with benefits" has sparked out infinite arguments, debates and even 2 movies, No Strings Attached and the upcoming Friends with Benefits. So is there anything wrong with being friends with benefits? A seemingly innocent question but with all questions pertaining to relationships, there is never a simple Yes or No.
This sort of relationship is ideal for those who are commitment - phobic. As friends, having a sexual relationship need not mean being committed or being involved with each other. If realistic expectations are kept and if both the man and the woman know what they are getting into, then neither one is letting the other down in any way. So they can be involved sexually but the promise of being together forever or getting married or even being exclusive to one another is not there. For commitment phobes, this sort of arrangement means no one's heart gets broken, as both man and woman know what the real reason behind their relationship is. In the long run, both parties are spared the heartache of feeling their love is not returned or not wanted.
For someone getting over a difficult break-up or a divorcee whose marriage is no more, getting into another relationship so soon after the split can be very emotionally exhausting and downright frightening. At this time, a "friends with benefits" scenario is very handy, as there is no emotional attachments and each party is just out to have a good time. Dating, getting to know someone, entering into a relationship and taking it to the next level, these steps take time and patience. Compatibility is also an issue, it's not just enough to have similar tastes or turn-offs. With a "friends with benefits" relationship, the friendship is already there, so the ice is broken. You know the person, you are friends, likes and dislikes, issues and habits etc. all such factors are known by both sides. Comfort levels and an understanding between the man and woman are already established in advance.
All such reasoning is well and good. But between a man and woman, things are never simple or standardized. Even with the best of intentions, things can go horribly wrong. For different people, physical intimacy can mean different things. Some view it as nothing but a need, an urge or an animal instinct that needs to satiated. For some, a physical relationship is a serious and deep step that can turn into an emotional bond.
Herein lies the danger of a friends with benefits arrangement - what if one party gets emotionally attached? What if one friend suddenly wants more or wants to turn this pact into a real relationship? After all, can one guarantee or rule out the possibility of falling in love with a friend, especially if they are physically intimate with each other? If both parties, through a beneficial friendship, realize they actually have feelings for each other or develop feelings for each other during the course of such a relationship, it's a happy ending.
This may sound very cynical but life is never so rosy. More often than not one friend gets attached, the other doesn't. Heartache and pain is inevitable. Another disastrous consequence is the breaking of a friendship and the loss of a friend. Because in the end, if love is not returned, the relationship is terminated and so is the friendship.
So in the end, is becoming friends with benefits a good idea? If both friends know what they are getting into and are clear on the definition of the relationship, it's a good idea. Needs are met, no one is hurting anyone, there's really no harm to it. Man's happy, woman's happy, everyone's happy right? Consider yet another angle which is rarely seen. What if both parties are not attached and completely pragmatic about the relationship? What if neither falls in love? The best depiction of a "friends with benefits" arrangement and the consequences is in the comedy series "How I Met Your Mother", where 2 main characters Robin and Ted, decide to extend their friendship to include benefits. Both were unattached to each other, both knew what they were getting into, nothing could go wrong... that's what they thought.
The lesson they learned and indeed the lesson behind such a relationship is that someone always gets hurt. In the case of Robin and Ted, neither of them got hurt but someone else did and badly. Barney, another main character who's something of a Casanova, genuinely loved Robin and was deeply hurt by her physical relationship with Ted. He felt betrayed by both and a crack formed in the friendship between the 3. So from this point of view, is "friends with benefits" a good thing? No, for it may seem like a good and rather convenient use of a friendship but someone always gets hurt, be it directly or indirectly. Love is important in life but remember, friendship is also a part of love.
When two people connect in a friendship, attachments are formed, bonds are made and bringing physical intimacy into the mix can destroy such bonds and affect other friends or people around as well. The main problem with a "friends with benefits" relation between 2 people, is that no matter what rules or ideals are set - in the end, someone gets hurt.