It’s a whole new world out there, and there’s honestly probably never been a better time to be a single guy. Men and women alike have decided to put off committed relationships for longer and longer, and increasingly liberal attitudes towards relationships have given people the freedom to play around for longer, and with more people than ever before.
However, certain relationships are so new that we lack real rules for how we’re supposed to conduct ourselves. We’re talking, of course, about friends with benefits. When can we meet up? How often should we? What do we introduce each other to friends as? When do we know when it’s over? Let’s look at some simple rules for a not-so-simple arrangement.
Boundaries, boundaries, boundaries
The most important thing you can do is figure out her boundaries early, and figure out how to communicate your boundaries to her. Maybe you don’t want her staying overnight on weekdays—but weekends are okay. You should tell her that kind of thing. Does she want to be able to introduce you to her friends as a “casual relationship,” or does she want to keep this completely on the down low? How about you? Let’s say you and your casual friend happen to run into each other at a coffee shop. Are you “just friends?” Someone she knows from this, that or another thing? This might seem like overthinking it, but run it through your brain once, and think of the things mostly likely to cause problems, and just address those.
Never leave a trail
Some guys have what we can only describe as an unexplainable desire to harm themselves. Not literally, like in a call the helpline kind of way, but in an “Oops, I left my keys at your place” kind of way. Or a “I sent a bunch of dirty texts and there’s no easy way to delete them” kind of way. Don’t get caught up in that. Stuff that leaves a paper trail—emails, tweets, texts—keep them nonspecific and casual. If you or her one day get into more serious relationships with other people, this’ll keep you both safe.
Don’t get too involved
We’re not saying don’t get emotionally invested at all. When you spend enough time with someone, that kind of thing is inevitable. What we’re saying is, keep her at an arm’s length. Remember where you are, and what kind of relationship terms you’ve agreed to. This doesn’t mean you gotta act cold all the time, but remember not to let yourself feel bad if you catch her going out with someone else.
Know when to quit it
Most of all, know when to call time on your relationship. Too many guys and girls both fall into this pit, and end up turning friends with benefits, into people they used to know. Sometimes it doesn’t end with a text or call, or conversation where one of you tells the other you’re seeing someone serious. Sometimes it ends just with her deciding she doesn’t want to return your calls to meet up anymore. And when that happens, don’t push back hard—just be cool and know you can deal with it. Afterall, that’s what this relationship is about, right?