“It is necessary, and even vital, to set standards for your life and the people you allow in it.”
~ Mandy Hale
So you’re catching feelings and ready to DTR (define the relationship) with your FWB?
The best place to start is to be clear with yourself about what you’re looking for.
You know you want something more serious, but what does that actually mean? Do you want to be exclusive? Move in together? Meet each other’s families? You don’t have to have every step of the way figured out now, but knowing what you want next will help you figure out how to communicate it.
You’ll also want to consider what you want to do if your partner isn’t ready for commitment.
Are you okay continuing being FWB? Or are you ready for a more serious relationship, even if that means it’s with a different person?
As intimidating as it may be, the next step is to get vulnerable and communicate with your FWB. Let them know how you’ve been feeling and what you’re looking for.
You might start a conversation with, “I feel really connected when we’re together and I enjoy spending time with you. I’d like to make this exclusive. Can we talk about that?”
No matter what happens, stick to your boundaries!
If they aren’t ready to commit, that’s likely going to hurt, but it’s also good that they’re being honest. If you’re okay continuing with the casual hookups, great! But if what you really want is to be exclusive and that’s not what they’re looking for, this relationship isn’t a good fit.
And if they’re ready for a stronger commitment too, that’s awesome! You both made the first (of hopefully many) relationship-defining decisions.
Now that you’re official, don’t stop dating your partner.
That may seem obvious, but most couples start to get comfortable with each decision that further establishes their relationship. Remember, whatever it was you were doing before was what made them desire you in the first place. Continuing to put in effort will ensure a healthy, growing relationship. Congrats!
Samantha Ricard, MS, MFTC – www.ricardcounseling.com
Ever had a friends with benefits relationship? It is a tricky one.
Maybe you just ended an old relationship, maybe you are focusing on your career or your health, and a relationship just doesn’t seem to be something you have time for. And then someone you find appealing turns up. A great opportunity for friends with benefits arises. Someone you click with, have a little spark, and allows you to meet your sexual desires in a safe and trusted relationship. Seems perfect.
Until some time passes and you come to realize that perhaps you do want to be in a committed relationship with this man. What do you do?
You certainly need to talk to this friend.
But first, notice where your relationship is. Is he dating other women? Is he just engaging in the benefits side of the relationship? Or do you two end up having dates or long talks about life? Do you spend time with each other’s friends?
Stopping to assess where he might be may help you figure out what to do next.
If you find it to be the former, maybe it helps you to start by pushing the boundaries of your relationship. Suggest dinner out, or maybe meeting up with your friends, or coffee during the day. See if he seems open to these changes in how you interact.
If you two are already at this point, it may just be time to be honest and let him know that your feelings have changed.
It’s time to reassess your arrangement if you’re no longer getting your needs met. Hopefully with the good chemistry and connection, there is more to build on that can become the committed relationship you are hoping for.
Rachel Armstrong, Psy.D.- www.rachelarmstrongpsyd.com
As you know, casual sex without emotional ties is not easy for everyone.
Yet, some people enjoy the physical connection and simple camaraderie, more than the intensity of a romantic, emotionally intimate relationship. FWB is a relationship with no strings attached.
But what happens when your attitude changes and you want more.
How do you shift a casual physical relationship into a real relationship with commitment, trust and real feelings?
- Start sharing more of yourself, so your friend gets to know who you really are.
- Invite him to social gatherings, where he meets your girlfriends and even family.
- Watch to see if he includes you in other aspects of his life, a sure sign that he may want something more, too.
- Don’t always be 100% available, keeping him intrigued and interested in what you’re doing and with whom.
- If you start using affectionate terms of endearment, like “hon” or “babe”, he may get the hint and do the same, indicating he feels a stronger connection to you.
- Show your uniqueness. He’ll believe he’s the luckiest guy in the world to know you.
- Perhaps, reveal to him how you truly feel. Once you tell him, the relationship will move on to a committed one or dissolve, but at least you know where you’re at.
If your desire is to be his girlfriend, it will be extremely difficult to keep the relationship as it is indefinitely.
After all, you want more and you deserve to have all your needs met. Your goal is to not have another failed relationship, but one that has chemistry, a strong foundation, is filled with romance and excitement and your feelings are mutual.
Amy Sherman, M.A., LMHC – www.yourbabyboomersnetwork.com
I think it can be great if you can redefine a friend’s with benefits relationship as an actual committed relationship.
Having a friendship as a foundation for a romantic committed relationship is probably the best start you can hope for. Most of the time, you begin with an attraction and then begin the process of really getting to know if someone is right for you. In this case you more or less already know.
There are a couple of caveats.
Obviously you both have to want to intensify the relationship for it to work. If he is fine with it being casual, that’s probably how it’s going to stay. That will be very difficult if not impossible for you. It’s hard to hold back your feelings in order to keep him comfortable. I think eventually you will feel hurt and probably rejected as his message is essentially, “You’re great for fun and sex”, but not for love and commitment.
Even it you are both ready to take this step, understand that this will be a different relationship.
Romantic, committed relationships typically bring up much stronger emotions than friendships. You are each much more vulnerable because there is now so much more to lose.
Any childhood or past relationship issues concerning trust, or abandonment will likely surface. It really is a different relationship, not just an intensification of your friendship.
While it may be difficult to broach the subject, you need to tell him that your feelings are growing.
I just don’t think you can just stuff them away and continue on as usual. Hopefully he will feel the same and you will be ready to start this new journey. Even though you are already friends, remember that this is different.
Don’t rush it or make assumptions.
Like any relationship, keeping the lines of communication open and talking to each other about your thoughts, feelings and needs is the best way to insure your growth as a couple.
Sally LeBoy, MFT – www.sallyleboymft.com
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