Human relationships can lend themselves to any number of complexities – just when you thought you were getting over your ex, you may find yourselves getting together for a cup and ending the night in bed. If the thought of hooking up with an ex every now and then seems pretty appealing even though you are no longer together, perhaps you are heading for a friends-with-benefits situation. But given a shared romantic past and the dicey nature of this arrangement, can a friends-with-benefits relationship be really possible.
Advantages of the arrangement
Whether or not feasible in the long run, hooking up with an ex may seem to come naturally for many, at least in the present. After all, you know each other’s bodies better than anyone else; you know what would please each other and how to get each other off. Then there is none of pretense, fuss, the whole charade of wining and dining a date when all you are interested in just having sex. The combination of physical comfort factor as well lack of pretense can make sex with an ex the perfect way to keep your libido happy and occupied when you are In between relationships.
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Cool off a bit
However in order to get into a friends-with-benefits arrangement with your ex it is crucial that you keep some distance right after the breakup. Even if you've had the most amicable of partings, you still need enough time to cool off before jumping into bed with your ex. The longer you dated, the more time you need to stay apart. If your ex immediately becomes your sex buddy, then most likely, whether or not the break up was mutual, there will emerge mixed feelings and a purely sexual arrangement simply cannot work if there are feelings in play. Again if your breakup was particularly messy, you would need an even longer cooling off period, so that you don’t turn up at your ex’s apartment only to find yourself the target of his/her fury instead of what you thought would be a hook-up.
Make your intentions clear
You can be friends-with-benefits with your ex only and only when it is clear to both parties that there is no chance of getting back together. Make your intentions perfectly clear before you hook up with your ex – that you are only looking for a little fun and you have no wish for a reconciliation. In fact, you may even want to drop hints about dating others so that it’s plainly obvious you’re only interested in sex. If you dated this guy or girl for long enough, you should know whether he or she’s the type to be OK with that or not. Many men and even women are perfectly fine with a purely sexual relationship, but if you suspect that your ex is getting even remotely possessive or jealous, drop the idea of becoming sex buddies or you could be setting yourself up for an extremely sticky situation.
Don’t look for validation
A ‘friends with benefit’ relationship encourages an emotionally insecure individual to look towards sex as a way of seeking validation from another person. It is only natural for a man or woman to emerge from a breakup with a bruised and battered ego but by succumbing to a ‘friends-with-benefits’ relationship so as to make yourself feel desirable or smart again, you could again be setting up yourself for heartache. So if you decide to go ahead and wish to have sex without any emotional involvement, let it be for the right reasons and not so that you feel guilty or confused in the process.
Don’t let emotions get in the way
You may have started with a mutual agreement to restrict yourselves to just sex but it is possible that with time you find emotions getting in the way. Perhaps one of you is hoping that the ‘friends-with-benefits’ arrangement will help you get back together; or perhaps one of you is getting emotionally dependent on the other. However if the other is comfortable with things as they are, then jealousy and resentment are bound to make an appearance and eventually make things messy. In order to keep emotions scrupulously out of the picture, see that you are not doing the same things you did when you were partners. You might enjoy the sex but avoid the temptation of staying at your ex’s place till the morning. Next thing you know, your ex will be cooking you breakfast and the two of you will be shopping for furniture. Likewise avoid going on dates – the reason why you are exes now is that you were not good at being partners so don’t start acting like a couple now – this means no brunches, dinners, shopping together, going to the movies, or anything that would entail being together. Considering your shared past, It can be a little too easy to slip back into the comfort zone of boyfriend/girlfriend equation, given that you know each other so well. But once you start doing that you will be setting up expectations and making room for feelings which have not place in friends-with-benefit arrangement.
Remember that you are replaceable
When you are friends-with-benefits with an ex, it is better to be prepared for the possibility of rejection or an abrupt end to the relationship. Your ex might suddenly meet someone he/she wants to date seriously and thus want to opt out of the arrangement with you. Or he/she may lose interest after the novelty of the arrangement has worn off and wish to replace you with another friend-cum-sex partner. Thus before you engage on a purely sexual arrangement with your ex, ensure that you are protected from the emotional impact of such possibilities so that you do not end up feeling lonely and depressed.
Don’t bring back the past
Granted that you share a history but if you wish to remain sex buddies with an ex, don’t rehash what went wrong or who said what. In case he/she gets annoyed or defensive with the blame game, you might end up losing your new booty call. On the flip side, don’t talk about the good old days or the amazing vacation you guys took together to Mexico. Once you are able to completely erase the past from your mind, you’ll steer clear of any sensitive issues and make a success of your friends-with-benefits arrangement.
Since friends-with-benefits relationship does not require monogamy, it is quite possible that your ex now has multiple sexual partners, of whose sexual history you are completely ignorant. This lays you open to the risk of contracting AIDS or other sexually transmitted diseases if you hook up with your ex every now and then. So use protection every time you have sex and you will not only be safe of STDs but also avoid an unintended pregnancy.
Don’t forget to meet other people
Finally don’t get lulled into complacency when in a friends-with-benefits relationship with an ex. It is easy to slip into a comfort zone since you know one another so well and are there to warm each other on cold nights. But don’t let this arrangement be a substitute for a real relationship. Go out and date other singles; have an actives social life with friends, families and colleagues. This will not only keep you from getting emotionally dependent upon your ex but also pave the way for a healthier, more rounded romantic relationship, in case you meet someone special.