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-   -   Care and Feeding of Friends with Benefits (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=5935)

opalescent 01-25-2011 10:44 PM

Care and Feeding of Friends with Benefits
 
I've been knocking around on the forum for a bit now and would like folk's thoughts on ethical friends with benefits relationships.

By friends with benefits, I mean relationships that are not meant to be primary bonds.

Here's the background - always helpful to know! As you know, Beloved is my wife; Pool Boy is her male lover. I've recently started seeing SW, the friend with benefits in question. Beloved and SW have been introduced, and Beloved has 'signed off' as it were. There's been some minor bumps in the road which required some reassurance on my part to Beloved but so far, things are going well.

I thoroughly enjoy hanging out with SW, and I've also enjoying exploring heterosexual sex with him. (I was a 'gold star' lesbian e - a term for a lesbian who has never had sex with a man. I've never liked that label, it was largely by accident of life experiences that I had not slept with a man before. Anyhoo, that's probably a whole other thread...)

Like others on the forum, I do not need to be in love to have sex with someone. (I have no problem with folks who feel otherwise but I know this to be true for myself.) I do need to like and respect them. I care about SW, I want him to be well, I want his other relationships to succeed (he has a primary girlfriend) and so on.

I've taken a look at the casual sex, primary/secondary and other 'golden nugget' threads which are very interesting and helpful. But they did not touch on some of the questions and thoughts I've had about FWB.

For instance, I know that this relationship with SW is term-limited, at least our sexual relationship. I believe we will remain friends even after the sexual aspects is over. I don't know how long or even why that part of our relationship will end but I know that it will. Perhaps one of us will move, or he may want to try monogamy with his primary girlfriend, or some other scenario I haven't thought of yet. So how to handle the 'term limited' relationship? Anyone else been in a similar situation?

Myzka 01-26-2011 12:38 AM

This line popped out at me:
"'term limited' relationship"

I'm no expert, but, relationships aren't static and they are constantly changing and re-forming...there is no such thing as 'forever'...it could be, but no one ever knows what's going to happen...be it any relationship: from friendships to casual interactions and what not.

Unless you both decided that you are going to stop having sex with each other on June 24th at 9am :P then, just enjoy the moment, care for each other and for all people involved and just develop, evolve, grow? no? :D
and when things change....they change?

NeonKaos 01-26-2011 12:41 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Myzka (Post 63257)
This line popped out at me:
"'term limited' relationship"

I'm no expert, but, relationships aren't static and they are constantly changing and re-forming...there is no such thing as 'forever'...it could be, but no one ever knows what's going to happen...be it any relationship: from friendships to casual interactions and what not.

Unless you both decided that you are going to stop having sex with each other on June 24th at 9am :P then, just enjoy the moment, care for each other and for all people involved and just develop, evolve, grow? no? :D
and when things change....they change?

Not having sex with someone does not automatically translate to "love/relationship = not forever".

LovingRadiance 01-26-2011 12:48 AM

Very true Neon.

GG and I were friends for 2 years.
Then had sex.
Then friends for 5-6 years.
Then sexually involved again for a few months-then a few months off.
Then sexually involved again for a few months-then a few years off.

Now we are sexually involved again...

At NO POINT in all of that time were we not close, loving, romantically attracted and interested and involved in each other's day to day lives.......
:rolleyes:

Myzka 01-26-2011 01:07 AM

I was just thinking along the lines of ~handling the 'term-limited' relationship~, the way you handle any relationship...because any other relationship can and most likely will change. Sex may come and go, love may come and go, friendships may come and go etc.

or maybe I'm just not quite sure on the question :eek:
hehe

NeonKaos 01-26-2011 01:11 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LovingRadiance (Post 63260)
friends for 2 years.
Then had sex.
Then friends for 5-6 years.
Then sexually involved again for a few months-then a few months off.
Then sexually involved again for a few months-then a few years off.

Now we are sexually involved again...

This part sounds familiar.

Except we don't live together.

nycindie 01-26-2011 01:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by opalescent (Post 63229)
For instance, I know that this relationship with SW is term-limited, at least our sexual relationship. I believe we will remain friends even after the sexual aspects is over. I don't know how long or even why that part of our relationship will end but I know that it will. Perhaps one of us will move, or he may want to try monogamy with his primary girlfriend, or some other scenario I haven't thought of yet. So how to handle the 'term limited' relationship? Anyone else been in a similar situation?

If you think about it, all relationships are term-limited, in a way. I mean there are always parameters within which the relationship functions, or by which it is essentially limited.

However, I think what you're asking is how to handle an ongoing sexual relationship that you pretty much know is not heading toward becoming a long-term, serious, committed partnership. Basically it's a friendship with sex, which is what I have with Shorty -- and it puzzles me alot of the time. I mean, I feel that, since we know ahead of time what the ground rules are, it should be fairly simple to know what to do and how to act. But what I keep coming up against is, since it is still new and we are still getting to know each other, I find myself constantly angling to make sure that my words or actions are not misunderstood. I keep thinking that if I express that I want to be with him, he will think I'm getting too attached. Next time I see him, I need to talk to him about that to clarify things a bit.

So, until it gets really familiar and you two know each other very well, I think it can be confusing what to do. But really, it's like any other friendship -- it needs communication and sensitivity to make sure everyone's on the same page. And since you don't have the added stress of hoping and wishing for it to "get serious," you can enjoy all the fun stuff without all the angst.

I hope that makes sense.

AutumnalTone 01-26-2011 02:53 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by opalescent (Post 63229)
For instance, I know that this relationship with SW is term-limited, at least our sexual relationship. I believe we will remain friends even after the sexual aspects is over. I don't know how long or even why that part of our relationship will end but I know that it will. Perhaps one of us will move, or he may want to try monogamy with his primary girlfriend, or some other scenario I haven't thought of yet. So how to handle the 'term limited' relationship? Anyone else been in a similar situation?

One statement I've found to contain a great deal of wisdom is this: "This, too, shall pass."

That applies to the entire human experience--and relationships are not spared that fate. No relationship can be considered permanent, as each may end or transform according to how the currents of life eddy around us. We live the experience and grieve over loss and savor the memories.

Whether it involves a friendship with benefits or a deep, romantic love.

NeonKaos 01-26-2011 03:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by AutumnalTone (Post 63286)
One statement I've found to contain a great deal of wisdom is this: "This, too, shall pass."

That applies to the entire human experience--and relationships are not spared that fate. No relationship can be considered permanent, as each may end or transform according to how the currents of life eddy around us. We live the experience and grieve over loss and savor the memories.

Whether it involves a friendship with benefits or a deep, romantic love.

I have at least one that transcends all that, I just can't prove it; and it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks.

bella123456 01-26-2011 03:48 AM

I had a very pleasant FWB fling/thing last week. A friend of a friend stayed with me for a week....and we had a very nice time togther ;)

We're very different people - I liked the differences, but certainly didn't see our week together as the start of something deeper/longer etc. I didn't think he viewed it as that either.

It's the assumptions that can be dangerous. Assuming you are on the same page.

As he was leaving town I said "Are we ok here ? Is there something we need to talk about ? If there's any feelings of vulnerability I'd like the opportunity for us to have a discussion about that".

"I think we're good, but thanks for checking, You ok ?"
"Yeah, I'm good too ! "

I felt good that I'd been pro-active in checking in on his feelings. We'll stay in touch via email...we've had some interesting chats since he left. I think it's important to firmly indicate you have respect for the way someone may be feeling....Regardless of the depth or longevity of a situation - I feel it's always ok to indicate that you care (provided you do care, of course), And I'm assuming you do.


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