Falling for a friend with benefits isn’t an ideal situation but it is a common one. If you find yourself developing real feelings for someone you were supposed to remain strictly casual with, don’t panic—do this instead.
- Take a deep breath. Seriously, try to remain calm. Given that this is a less than ideal scenario, it’s natural to start freaking out. After all, you probably agreed with your FWB at the very beginning that your arrangement would be very casual and purely based on hooking up as and when you felt like it. That said, it’s very easy to catch feelings for someone you’re having sex with repeatedly and it’s not the end of the world.
- Give yourself a break. If you’re anything like me, you’re probably worried about all the potential things that can go wrong with this situation. Will your FWB reject you when he finds out? Will he stop speaking to you? Will you lose your friendship? It’s perfectly normal to assume the worst but try to resist the temptation. I mean, you never know how he’s really feeling.
- Be sure of your feelings. Before you do anything, it’s important to be 100% sure of your feelings. There are usually some tell-tale signs like missing him when you’re not together, not being able to stop thinking about him, and feeling jealous when he’s with other girls just to name a few. If you’ve fallen for your FWB, it’s not the end of the world—it could be the making of your world actually—but it changes things somewhat. You need to be sure before you decide what to do next.
- Analyze his behavior. Most of the time, it’s pretty obvious if a guy is into you as much as you’re into him. How does he act when you’re together? Is he attentive? Do you have deep conversations? Does he purely hook up with you and disappear pretty soon after? Does he text you when you’re not together? Make a conscious effort to gather as much intel as possible before you take the next logical step.
- Take some time out. The best way to be sure of how you feel about a guy is to take some time out from the situation. If you’re worrying that your FWB will call you out on this and demand to know what’s going on, just say you need some space for a while for personal reasons. If he really is your friend first and foremost, he’ll understand. Or, you can just do what I did once and tell your FWB you have a long-term illness and you’re too sick to have sex or see anyone. It’s entirely up to you.
- Work out what you want. During your timeout, assess your relationship with your FWB and try to work out your ideal scenario. Do you want to go on a date with him? Do you want to be exclusive? Do you want to marry him and have his babies? (Too far?) Once everything’s crystal clear in your mind, you’re then in a position to act on your feelings.
- Tell him. Here comes the scary part—you have to tell him how you feel. It’s not fair on either you to carry on the arrangement when one or both of you have the potential to get majorly hurt. Even if it doesn’t go exactly how you hoped it would, you’ll feel massively relieved just getting that bad boy off your chest (metaphorically, not literally).
- Decide on how to proceed. Now it’s up to the pair of you to work out how’s best to go forward. For goodness’ sake, don’t just carry on as you are because he says he doesn’t feel the same way and you’re worried about losing him. It’ll only end in tears. You probably have three options: stay friends and remove the benefits, start dating, or stop seeing each other altogether. Obviously the latter sucks. That said, if he’s being a class-A jerk about the situation, then you’re better off without him and he doesn’t deserve to have you in his life.
- Either way, you’ll get your happy ending. Ideally, you probably want to start dating your FWB. However, sometimes we don’t always get what we want in life. If he’s fallen for you too, awesome! I’m thrilled for you. If he hasn’t and says he doesn’t think he will, it’s OK. He’s just not the one for you. Instead, try and work out if it’s worth salvaging the friendship. If not, simply go your separate ways and better luck next time.