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My Not-Quite Boyfriend: The Ups and Downs of Friends with Benefits

It’s convenient, stress-free, and kind of exciting. It doesn’t require you to spend hours getting ready, to type cutesy text messages, or to spend money that you don’t have on flowers and dinner at a fancy restaurant. Engaging in a “friends with benefits” relationship can be ideal for college students, most of whom have not yet begun searching for their soul mate or even pondered the possibility of that soul mate’s existence. The best part about this kind of non-relationship? It isn’t necessary for either partner to develop any real feelings, thus evading the risk of getting hurt.

Essentially, those involved in a strictly physical relationship enjoy both the freedom of the single life and the fulfillment of a relationship without the commitment factor, treading along a very thin line that divides the two. This can be maintained without any problems – as long as satisfaction of physical needs is the only expectation. Things tend to get thorny when one person ends up falling for the other, and his or her feelings go unreturned.

According to a New York Times article, Michigan State’s study on friends with benefits found that “people got into these relationships because they didn’t want commitment. It was perceived as a safe relationship, at least at first. But also that there was this growing fear that the one person would become more attracted than the other.”

Oftentimes the development of feelings is inevitable, so it is important to keep in mind that this kind of relationship is casual and more importantly, temporary. Don’t spend every moment of the day together. Don’t meet each other’s parents, or hang out with each other’s friends. Don’t get angry if you see him or her with another person. Don’t cuddle or go on dates. Only couples can engage in these types of activities.

If you suddenly come to the realization that you have feelings for your “friend,” say something, and if he or she doesn’t feel the same way, move on. Remember: a heart is a delicate thing.

By Tina Ferraro

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