By: Cheryl Chiew

When people ask, “How did you and your boyfriend start dating?” I’d reply that we met in school and recently reconnected. The real reason is: we started hooking up and caught feelings. 

Having a ‘friends with benefits’ (FWB) relationship is fun. Yet, if you’re not careful, it can easily end in heartbreak. Prior to sleeping together, my boyfriend and I were honest about only wanting a good time and we were still casually dating around. Yet, here we are.

So, if you’re thinking of or are in an FWB ‘situationship’, learn from our ‘mistakes’ and protect yourself from developing feelings with these 4 rules.

Rule #1: Don’t meet them outside of the bedroom

I didn’t know my boyfriend very well when we first started sleeping together. But our romps didn’t start with the typical “wyd?” text. Our friend groups overlapped so we often hung out in a big group at bars and restaurants. As the night came to a close, we’d leave after sharing a knowing look.

This is a big no-no. Usually, you’d want to ensure your interactions take place only in the bedroom. By establishing the physical and social context your FWB can exist, you can better compartmentalize your feelings. But with my boyfriend, I had to consistently switch between viewing him as someone who was a casual sex partner and a friend who made me laugh as we sipped on Friday drinks. And that made it difficult to firmly place him in the ‘sex only’ category.

Rule #2:  Don’t sleep with someone you can be good friends with

Chemistry with the person you sleep with is necessary. That means being able to talk to and laugh with them. Even so, I’ve had other FWBs before and I didn’t develop feelings. With my boyfriend, it was different because we realised we were really good friends.

It got to a point where we’d meet up after our separate evening engagements and not have sex. Instead, we’d get into the shower together, drunkenly share a bowl of instant ramen, cuddle in bed and he’d leave before the sun rose. We just wanted to be around each other. 

Rule #3: Don’t fall asleep together

I think it’s okay to cuddle after doing the deed. Receiving non-sexual touch is part of fulfilling your physical needs. Plus, getting dressed and leaving right after can leave you with an unpleasant, hollow feeling. But what got us invested was the act of falling asleep together. 

My boyfriend and I understood this. However, I also liked being put to bed so he’d stay until I fell asleep. More often than not, he’d drift off. Sometimes, he’d get up at 3 and leave. Other times, tiredness will get the better of him and he’d stay the night.

No matter how determined you are to keep someone at an emotional arm’s length, waking up with someone curled in your arms will do things to you.

Rule #4: Don’t have regular sex

The nice thing about having an FWB is you have someone you can call up to have sex with. Except for us, sex becomes a regular, twice-a-week thing. By creating a routine, we unconsciously began setting expectations on each other’s time.  

We tried negating this by setting a 3-month expiry date to our arrangement. But going cold turkey was hard. We went through a phase where we’d stop talking to each other for a week before one of us would cave. One booty call later and it was back to pound town.

Having Friends With Benefits

Eventually, we came around and discussed our feelings. We were hella lucky it worked out for us. If you are in an FWB situation, no matter what you choose, do stay safe and use protection!

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