A lot more women are taking control of their love lives because not everyone has the time or energy required to maintain a relationship. I am among those women. I’ve had my share of casual romantic relationships in my time and they’ve not all ended well. I know I’m not alone. Though most of us have been left to navigate the “friends with benefits” waters, there are still certain rules of casual relationships that should be followed to avoid disaster. If you’ve ever had a casual relationship, then you know it’s not always smooth sailing.
Rules of Casual Relationships
Each casual relationship comes with its own set of “rules” or guidelines. Every two people enter into different agreements. Some like to hang out without sex being involved, others meet solely to satisfy sexual cravings. Some people are actually friends between serious significant others while other people are strangers who share mutual attraction but aren’t right for one another. Each situation is unique, but there are a few things that should apply to EVERY casual romantic encounter.
The FwB (friends with benefits) arrangement is attractive to a lot of people who just don’t have the time to dedicate to a full time relationship. You may be busy starting a new business, going to school, or just don’t want to be tied down. No matter the reason, you don’t want the full time obligations of a boyfriend/girlfriend. You get to have physical needs met and not be hounded. You don’t have to go to work functions, family vacations, or do household chores. You don’t have to justify staying in to work, going out with the guys/girls, golfing for an entire day, or just wanting a night in pajamas with some brownies.
For those who easily feel smothered, have commitment issues, or have other time consuming obligations these arrangements are great. Actively dating takes time, energy, and effort, and we just don’t always have that to spare. Let’s not mistake freedom for being rude and not caring about the other party involved, though.
The freedom of casual relationships does not mean that the other party is totally disregarded. Remember it’s called friends with benefits for a reason. Don’t forget they are a friend and as such deserve to be treated nicely. This means there should be no excessive breaking of plans, going radio silent, or putting the other person down.
Communication is key in these relationships. Determine your boundaries and be clear about your expectations. Too busy to meet up? Say so. Swamped at work but hoping to blow off some steam on your lunch break? Can’t hurt to ask. Just remember that you aren’t “owed” anything and that they aren’t just a booty call. You don’t have to hang out outside the bedroom but they do deserve your respect.
Just because this is a casual arrangement doesn’t mean it is okay to be treated (or treat others) like an emotionless sex robot. Neither party lives in a bubble, staying available, shaved, and oiled and at your sexual beckoning. Have the decency to respect their time, their needs, and yes, their feelings too. It may not be a relationship, but that only gets you out of putting up with Aunt Beatrice’s 80th birthday party and work BBQ’s.
They are doing you the solid of penetrating you/allowing themselves to be penetrated, so give them the respect they deserve. Not being a love match doesn’t mean that you get to act like a cold and distant asshole. I’m not saying buy chocolates and flowers but let’s not act like they don’t matter at all. This is one of my steadfast rules of casual relationships: it should be a friendly and fun arrangement.
The Expiration Date
Recognize that all arrangements of this nature have a shelf life. No FwB lasts forever. One, or both, of you will realize you want something different, fall for somebody else, or just tire of each other. This is a Band-Aid, NOT a permanent solution to your relationship needs. Nobody stays with a casual sex buddy forever. Know that before you enter and keep any thoughts of love out of the “relationship”.
Warning: When the time comes and the arrangement runs its course you can “try” to be friends but know it likely won’t work. The next time you drink after a break up, or when you’re both single and need an itch scratched, you will sleep together again.
Like I said, all casual relationships are different, all are structured differently, but there are basic truths to all relationships of this nature. Acknowledge where the arrangement falls short of a real relationship and things will work a lot better. Remember that this isn’t a one night stand booty call, this is a return customer. Treat them with respect.