How to prevent feelings from messing up a friends-with-benefits relationship

A friends-with-benefits relationship or simply FWB is a fairly common type of relationship of this age.

It spans across different age grades and is found in almost every liberal society.

An FWB is no-strings-attached relationships between two people who are friends but occasionally have sex with each other based on an agreement.

Note the word “agreement” because it is one of the most important elements of a friends-with-benefits arrangement.

People agree to a no-strings-attached relationship for varying reasons, but it is mostly to avoid the stress, commitment, and complications typically associated with a regular relationship.

However, the most common question people ask about FWBs is whether it can indeed stay “uncomplicated”?

Is it actually possible for two people to have sex with each other without things getting complicated?

Like every other relationship question, there is really no clear-cut answer to this question.

Although the reason why many people go into an FWB relationship in the first place is to avoid stress and complications, they soon discover that it isn’t as simple as it sounds. But this isn’t to say no one will ever be able to pull it off.

It’s all biology

Friends couple loving each other

There are plenty of reasons why a no-strings-attached relationship ends up with not just strings but long chains in the long run. And it has a lot to do with how your body is wired.

Here’s the thing about having sex with someone regularly. Your body tends to produce chemicals during the act that aren’t just meant to take your high in ecstasy.

The Hormones Oxytocin and vasopressin trigger feelings of kindness and bonding.

This is why you feel like cuddling immediately after sex and also why your friends with benefits relationship might get messed up with time.

But is there a way to keep things formal and to keep strictly to the deal?

Here are some tips that might help

Define what you want

For most people, their FWB relationship “just happened”.

It could be an ongoing friendship with lots of sparks that simply metamorphosed into something else or just touching base with an old lover. But in most cases, it just happens and people rarely talk about it.

This is why it gets messed up most of the time with either or both parties developing feelings over time. But if you want to stay as friends with benefits with someone without the complications then it is best you both discuss it and define what you want.

Set some ground rules

An FWB is an agreement and for every agreement, there are ground rules that must be followed.

As part of discussing what you want in the relationship, there is a need to establish what your relationship will entail and set limits and boundaries for each other.

Is it going to be just about sex or other things will be involved? Are you allowed to have sex with other people? Do you intend to introduce each other to friends and families? And so on.

Discuss what you want with each other right from the onset. Also, understand it is an evolving relationship and you might have to make up some rules as you continue.

Read here for some basic rules to keep your FWB relationship neutral.

Watch out for the feelings and put breaks on it

Couple lying on the floor

As your relationship progresses there is a need to regularly check-in and evaluate your feelings both with yourself and with your partner.

This way you will be able to catch yourself before you fall head over heels with your FWB.


At the end of the day, there is no absolute guarantee that an FWB relationship will work out or not.

If you realize that things are getting out of hand at any point either on your part or on your lover’s you should discuss it immediately and decide how you want things to progress or end as the case may be.

Of course, it might be awkward to discuss such issue, but a free minute of awkwardness might very well save you from years of heartbreak.