Is friends with benefits a scam? Can anyone do this successfully? We tapped Heartbreak Coach, Claire Byrne, to dish advice on how to cross the line from friend zone to bedroom buddies.
Editor’s note: although this article uses male pronouns, the advice applies to all sexual orientations and gender identities.
“Friends with benefits definitely isn’t a scam, but be careful not to fool yourself by sleeping with an ex you’re not over, or hooking up with someone you know you have stronger feelings for than he does for you. Getting your physical needs met by someone you’re attracted to, but whom you don’t want an exclusive relationship with, is not only possible but can absolutely work—just make sure you’re both on the same page. If the playing field becomes uneven and one of you starts developing deeper feelings, go find your pleasure somewhere else. It isn’t worth hurting your emotional well-being for the instant gratification of physical intimacy with Mr. Unavailable.
And if he’s the one with stronger feelings, do him a favor by not continuing the hookup. You can get your rocks off by yourself or with someone else who’s on the same page as you. Sure, the attention is nice—especially when you’re heartbroken over your ex—but giving someone false hope in order to scratch your loneliness itch isn’t the answer.
Here are simple ways to successfully keep the connection purely physical while still maintaining a level of respect:
1) Be direct about what you’re looking for out of this connection.
2) Don’t cuddle or stay over after the hookup.
3) A simple “I had a nice time” text afterward can’t hurt, but regularly texting as if you’re in a relationship creates a confusing grey area.
4) Keep the hookup sporadic if you wish to repeat the performance.
5) If you are searching for Mr. Right, don’t let the time spent with said friend with benefits take up the energy and space for him to enter (pun intended).”
Heartbreak coach Claire Byrne helps women stop wanting Mr. Wrong back, and ultimately find Mr. Right! She’s the host of her podcast, How to Stop Wanting Him Back.