Dr. Zoe Shaw, A Year of Self-Care

4 Truths About Being Friends With Benefits

Before I was married I was FWB (friends with benefits) with a few guys and here’s why: I liked them, but they didn’t like me so I thought if I gave them benefits (compromised my physical boundaries) they would commit to me. I define friends with benefits as making physical and emotional compromises without an exclusive commitment. Ladies, you don’t have to be friends with benefits. You are worth the commitment, you are worth exclusivity, and you are worth a man who respects your boundaries.

Here are some truths I learned about being FWB before I realized I was worth more:

1. You’re buying your own dinner.

Lets be clear on friends with benefits. He’s not your boyfriend. That means you are physically giving yourself to someone with no commitment. I’ve been there, and I’ve done that, and I’ve crashed and burned. Every time I gave myself more and more in hopes of a cute date night or some act of chivalry and it never came. At the end of the day you’re still buying your own dinner. Crossing physical boundaries with someone who is not committed to you won’t change that.

2. How many friends are getting benefits?

Oh the painful grey area of friends with benefits! Who else is he talking to? Does he want to move this into a serious relationship? Should we become exclusive? All of the questions you want to ask your man but you don’t because you don’t want to scare them away. Being friends with benefits does not create a safe environment for you to ask the hard questions. When you are in a monogamous relationship you can have a conversation with your significant other on boundaries and expectations because your relationship is built on trust.

Don’t give a man your body if he can’t take care of your heart.

3. Who’s my plus one?

The wedding invite comes in the mail and you have a plus one. The danger of friends with benefits relationships are we tell ourselves anything serious will scare them away. Or scare us away. The irony here is a healthy relationship doesn’t manifest in fear. The fear of scaring someone away. The fear of commitment. Don’t give a man your body if he can’t take care of your heart.

4. Your feelings will be hurt.

They will. How do I know? Mine have been hurt. More than once. When we’re physically and emotionally giving ourselves to someone, our hearts develop feelings no matter how hard you deny it. Intimacy is sacred but we’ll never get the intimacy we want without commitment and trust. If you’re crossing boundaries you aren’t comfortable with in hopes of finally being called a girlfriend, fiancé, or wife—stop. As a recovering serial friends with benefits girl I can promise you there is a man who will love and respect you for all your boundaries. My benefits were always means of manipulation in hopes of getting the title of girlfriend. Tim McGraw says it best in Humble and Kind, “I love you ain’t no pick up line.”

What if we are committed?

Yay! You are dating someone you care about! So how do you draw boundaries and determine what “benefits” you share? My husband and I waited to become sexually intimate before we were married because we believe sex binds you together. Whether that’s your boundary or not, I want to encourage you to prayerfully and respectfully talk it out with your significant other. Be honest and upfront about what is best for your relationship.

You’ll also like 3 Lessons on Love from Peter and the Bachelorette5 Guys Your Mother Warned You About7 Things to Look for in a ManThe Reality of STDs: Hard Conversations You Need to HaveWill Waiting for Marriage Lead to a Boring Sex Life?, and Great Sex—What Is It?

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